This mihrab in the Iran National Museum mesmerised me with it’s beauty with it’s calligraphy and lustre tiles.
A Mihrab is a niche in the mosque wall which indicates the direction of the Qibla ( towards Mecca -the direction in which Muslims pray)
This mihrab was made in 1333 AD in Qom for the Ali Ibn Jafar shrine by Yusuf ibn Abu Tahir it has calligraphy in three styles : Thuluth, Kufi and Naskh.
Calligraphy as an art form has always been popular from time immemorial but it was under the Islamic rules in various countries that it reached its zenith as images of living beings were forbidden in Islam.
1. Kufi: the word Kufi comes from the Iraqi town of Kufa.
It is characterized by:
- Angular letter shapes
- Short, broad vertical strokes and long extended horizontals
- Written on a horizontal baseline
- 2. Naskh : Naskh is round script distinct from Kufic which is angular. Naskh, was developed in the 10th century, and refined into a fine art form and became an accepted style for writing the Holy Quran. “Naskh” is derived from the verb “nasakha,” meaning “to transcribe or copy.
Its characteristics are
- Small script, neat and balanced
- Letter shapes are more fluid and curved than rayhani
- Letters lean slightly to the left
- Descending letters end in an upward hook
- Equal division between flat and round shapes and heavy and light strokes
- Highly legible, clear and quick to write 3.Thuluth :Pronounced “thoo-looth”; Turkish–Sulus)
“Thuluth” means “one-third.” This possibly refers to its pen size (one-third the size of the pen used for a larger script called tumar)
It is used for writing many different kinds of texts and particulary for titles and architectural inscriptions
It was developed in 10th c A
It is characterised by
- Vertical strokes have a leftward slant, horizontals have a deep curve
- The ends of most descending letters come up in a hook
- Often written so the letters interlace
- Many alternate letter forms exist in this script
Lustre technology is a style of glazing and is a shiny affect applied on the surface of ceramics, to replicate the sheen and mottling of semiprecious stones