Talking about western art, calligraphy is a minor art form but due to its relation to Islam, Islamic Calligraphy is major art form. The main reason for this is that Calligraphy developed alongside Quran.
If you have visited world’s most beautiful historical places in Islamic countries such as Spain, Turkey, India and Pakistan. The most notable places in this regard are Alhambra Palace in Spain, Wazir Khan Mosque in Pakistab, Taj Mahal in India and Topkapi palace in Istanbul.
Origin of Calligraphy:
The earliest examples of Calligraphy can be traced in the holy region of Mecca. In the early days of Islam, Quran was written as it was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him). Further this became a way for Muslims to memorize Quran during that time. The very earliest word was the command to read.
As the Quran was being written down, the tools of those early copyists can be observed to extract the conclusion that they paid special attention to aesthetics. One can observe the use of gold to enhance portions of verses and the special care taken to blend ink. They took a meditative approach to the penmanship is also quite prominent in those early works of Islamic calligraphy.
Materials and techniques used in Islamic calligraphy:
Calligraphy was not all about pen and paper. The designs of Arabic Calligraphy were created on vast variety of materials. The classic one was still pen and paper. The reason for this is that you can observe the flow of ink from thick to thin line as well as you can observe the dots with clear details. Sometimes, artists make their designs by copying from prepared templates that have been written out on a paper by a calligraphy artist.
Before paper was invented, parchment was considered to be high quality writing material. Parchment is obtained from highest quality animal hide. Writing on parchment requires a reed pen perfectly cut at an angle, filled with ink. Writing on parchment can be altered as well as erased.
Some early works of Islamic calligraphy can be observed to have been deeply carved with inscriptions. They are covered with colored glazes just before final firing is done. This calligraphy technique was prevalent in Central Asia for brief period from 1350 to beginning of 1600s.
The letters are first carved in this technique and then they are painted. This results in beautiful calligraphy that is nothing more than a masterpiece.
This task requires a lot of care and design to be able to produce calligraphy on textile. It can be done on silk or any other textile material. Inscribed textiles used to hold special importance in early days of Islam. Back in fourteen century, they were created in caliph and state run factories.
So Islamic Calligraphy is the predominant form of Islamic Art. Calligraphy is being done in many other languages as well but to Muslim world, Islamic Calligraphy is quite important as they can relate to their relation with their God through this form of Calligraphy.