The Spirit of Islam
Resources
Glossary
Acknowledgements
Unity Diversity Knowledge Historical Summary
Unity Introduction Calligraphy Styles Kufic Style Thuluth Style Naskhi Style Nasta'liq Style
Carpet
Nasta'liq Style
Nasta'liq, a light and elegant cursive script, was developed from the naskhi and taliq scripts by 15th century Persian calligrapher Mir Ali Sultan al-Tabrizi. It featured elongated horizontal strokes and exaggerated rounded forms. The diacritical marks were casually placed, and the lines were flowing rather than straight. There is a popular myth that al-Tabrizi dreamt of a flight of geese whose wings and movement inspired the shapes of letters.




In contrast to other scripts, the nasta'liq script has characters that appear to swing from the upper right to the lower left of each word as if suspended by an imaginary line.

The nasta'liq script was the predominant style of Persian calligraphy during the 15th and 16th centuries. It was used extensively for copying Persian anthologies, poetry, epics, and other literary works, among them the famous Firdowsi's epic Persian myth Shahnameh (Book of Kings). Nasta'liq was frequently incorporated into contemporary paintings and is traditionally considered to be the most elegant of the Persian scripts. However, nasta'liq was not commonly used for the Qur'an. There is only one known copy written in nasta'liq and it was completed by a Persian master calligrapher, Shah Muhammad al-Nishaburi, in 1539.

On this site you can find the nasta'liq script on an extraordinary carpet.

Heritage Canada Museum of Anthropology at UBC
Copyright 2002 Museum of Anthropology at UBC