Tag Archives: Culture

The Art of Islamic Calligraphy

In the Islamic world calligraphy has been taken far beyond pen and paper it has been explored into all art forms and materials. Nowadays calligraphy may be counted as a uniquely original feature of Islamic art. The genius of Islamic calligraphy lies not only in the endless creativity and versatility, but also in the balance struck by calligraphers between transmitting a text and expressing its meaning through a formal aesthetic code.

The Arabic language, and subsequently the art of calligraphy, is held in great esteem by Muslims because Arabic was the language in which the Qu’ran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. The Arabic text of the Qu’ran is sacred to Muslims, and its high status gave rise to an associated respect for books in general.

However, it is important to remember that while the Qu’ran’s holy status provides an explanation for calligraphy’s importance, by no means all Arabic calligraphy is religious in content. In general, calligraphic inscriptions on works of art comprise one or more of the following types of text such as: Qu’ranic quotations, other religious texts, poems, praise for rulers and aphorisms. These types of texts can be explored and seen through all types of art forms ranging from historical Islamic calligraphy to the present interpretation of calligraphy.

Ink on parchment-Before the invention of paper, vellum or parchment was the highest quality writing material available. It was made from prepared animal hide. A reed pen, with the tip cut at an angle and filled with ink, would have been used. Writing on vellum can be erased or altered.

Ink on paper-calligraphy would often be created using a reed pen and ink directly onto starched and polished paper, which provides an excellent smooth surface for writing.

Ceramics-The calligraphy tile pictured above was deeply carved with the inscriptions (and plant designs) and covered with coloured glazes, before the final firing. This technique was used in Central Asia only for a brief period, from around 1350 to the early 1600s.

Wood- letters are often carved with sharp metal tool and later painted.

Textiles- often written with ink on finer materials such as fine silks and satin the picture above with Arabic in scripted calligraphy states ‘Glory to our lord the sultan’.

Enamelled glass-The above image of the lamp was made by blowing hot glass into shape and then leaving it to cool. The enamel colours and gilding were then painted on – the enamel was a solution of colours and ground glass that melted and fused on to the lamp when it was reheated in a kiln. The blown glass would have been decorated with enamel and gilt, possibly using fine brushes.

Metalwork-the casket pictured above was chiselled out taking out areas of brass surface then filled with pieces of silver and gold. They added details by chasing the surfaces of the softer inlaid metals with a hammer and tools and adding a black filler to create contrast.

The tale of Marrakech

As the Easter holiday is speedily approaching it is time to travel, unwind and most importantly get away from work…work…work. Marrakech is a place full of culture and vibrant colours at Salaam Style HQ we look back at a tale behind our most favourite, statement jewellery pieces.

It was the third day of my Easter holiday that I had long awaited for. The scent of strong home grown coffee steamed through the café I was sitting in. Plates hung on the wall full of swirly intricate detailing as I embraced the art such beautiful setting around an open space a strong male figure blocked my view his hand reached out to me this was after all Marrakech and I was sitting in the middle of a market.

As he opened his hand the jewellery was full of uniqueness. You’re probably thinking ‘hmm I do see Moroccan jewellery in London’s Camden market’ however these pieces had a lot more significance as a followed the gentlemen to his stall I saw two workers at the back hand crafting necklaces with they’re very hand no I asked the gentlemen how did you make all of this fresh jewellery that hung he pointed at a  a tray of metal tools.

The jewellery explored different metals different gems and different carved detailing. Inspiration of the eastern culture crept out through every piece of jewellery. I was a long way from home in the perfect setting to embrace the beauty of such a culture.

Jewellery is a statement and in every piece I seem to understand thoroughly now all of the work was put in to be proud of once I was wearing the jewellery we are embracing a culture with such skill. The limitation of one tool that produced such eye-catching exceptional jewellery I taken away with me a few pieces that I would forever treasure the prints and stunning qualities are an instant reminder of the tale behind the craft of the jewellery I wear.

Art behind Afghanistan

Where is the art behind Afghanistan? This rhetoric in such a contemporary society can only be answered by people who know about the culture of Afghanistan and its significance. Some people may not know, but Afghans do actually have their own unique fashion forms, their own clothing and their own jewellery.

To get the world to notice the beauty behind afghan art fashion designer Zolaykha Sherzad’s label Zarif Design explores the distinctive qualities of such an intriguing culture. Zarif Design means “precious” in Dari with a mission to preserve and merge Afghan traditions and culture with the elegant designs of today.

This belief is showcased through the distinctive, drawing on the rich cultural heritage of Afghanistan with intricate detailing and unique fabrics. The works of Zoloykha Sherzad proves every culture has a significant history of art behind it. It is the exploration beyond the Burqa and the Hijab where you truly develop an understanding behind the culture of Afghanistan.

“I want to show people that Afghanistan is not all about war, orphanages and Burqas. It’s also about textiles, history and culture. It’s about beauty.” – Zolaykha Sherzad.

Zolaykha Sherzad’s recent fashion show explored women’s traditional Afghan clothes made through coloured silk with hand embroidered designs on top and rich silver metal crafted jewellery. The traditional Afghan clothing consists of a long length dress or kameez with a loose trouser or partug. Through the traditional Afghan clothing colour of the kameez is always different to the partug.

Overall the Afghan attire is a unique piece of art full of an oasis of colours, textures, variety of fabrics and exquisite hand embroidery. Zolaykha Sherzad helps express this view what lies behind the burqa/ hijab is the artistic traditional fashion forms of Afghanistan that will never fade.

The art behind Afghanistan Not anonymity but rather identity

Zolaykha Sherzad’s designs are currently on sale in a French boutique called Agnes B in Marylebone High Street, Fenwick and Bond Street, London.