By the Pen and What They Write

Writing in Islamic Art and Culture

Edited Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom

View Inside Price: $75.00

October 3, 2017
318 pages, 9 x 11 1/2
235 color + 35 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300228243

Distributed for the Qatar Foundation, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar

Considered by Muslims as the only true art, calligraphy has played a prominent role in Islamic culture since the time of the prophet Muhammad. Exploring this central role of the written word in Islam and how writing practices have evolved and adapted in different historical contexts, this book provides an overview of the enormous impact that writing in Arabic script has had on the visual arts of the Islamic world. Approaching the topic from a number of different perspectives, the essays in this volume include discussions on the relationship between orality and the written word; the materiality of the written word, ranging from the type of paper on which books were written to monumental inscriptions in stone and brick; and the development of Arabic typography and the printed book. Generously illustrated, By the Pen and What They Write is an engaging look at how writing has remained a foundational component of Islamic art throughout fourteen centuries.     

Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom share the Hamad bin Khalifa Endowed Chair of Islamic Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

“It is impossible to turn the pages without registering the confidence, leisure and playfulness of medieval Islamic literary culture with its riddling games, literary picnics and drinking bouts . . . What has survived is marvellous and it seems appropriate that a book devoted to the arts of the book should be a ravishing work of art in its own right.”
—Robert Irwin, Spectator
The Biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Symposium on Islamic Art
God Is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth
Light in Islamic Art and Culture

Edited by Jonathan Bloom and Sheila Blair

View details