November 27, 2007 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Mouneer Al-Shaarani's beautiful Syrian calligraphy.

Any Arab-literates out there who can tell me what they all mean?
posted by klangklangston (24 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Forgive me, as I only just realized I could link to the images: These are favorites.
posted by klangklangston at 1:15 PM on November 27, 2007

These too.
posted by klangklangston at 1:18 PM on November 27, 2007

Heh. Those are all probably better seen in-site, as outside they tend to be ridiculously small.
posted by klangklangston at 1:19 PM on November 27, 2007

Gorgeous. I've always marveled at the flow and geometry of kufic calligraphy.
posted by isopraxis at 1:25 PM on November 27, 2007

I once had a calligrapher in Istanbul write my name in Arabic and Latin characters; my awful handwriting is the only thing that prevented me from being too jealous of him. My deeply seated belief that I was a man of music also helped but, hey, I was young.
posted by ersatz at 1:37 PM on November 27, 2007

I've been a fan of this guy for awhile, I have this great mini-book of an exhibition he did in Egypt. Beautiful stuff. I tend to like the more graphic/modern stuff like this one or this one. What's also fun about this stuff is trying to read what they say!
posted by cell divide at 1:48 PM on November 27, 2007

I took a class on arabic calligraphy, but I still can't always decipher where the letters are hidden in the patterns. It's just such an amazing art.
posted by miss lynnster at 2:11 PM on November 27, 2007

These are absolutely beautiful. Thanks for posting! If only I knew what they mean...
posted by doubtful_guest at 2:14 PM on November 27, 2007

Very nice stuff—thanks!
posted by languagehat at 2:48 PM on November 27, 2007

I wish I could do my grocery lists like this. Superlovely, thanks for the link!
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:06 PM on November 27, 2007

C'mon, LH, tell us what they say…
posted by klangklangston at 3:12 PM on November 27, 2007

I saw this site the other day—his stuff is mind-boggling even without knowing what it all means. Skulking around MeFi to find links to similar stuff, I scored jackpot with mediareport's '02 post on Arabic calligraphy. Thanks for this post, neat stuff!
posted by carsonb at 3:21 PM on November 27, 2007

(You can work around many of the 404s in the post, but lots of the links work straightaway.)
posted by carsonb at 3:22 PM on November 27, 2007

I find arab calligraphy beautiful. But, in the same way, I find some types of graffiti equally gorgeous.
posted by edmz at 11:30 PM on November 27, 2007

You guys should also check out the work of Haji Noor Deen. He mixes traditional Islamic and Chinese calligraphy styles beautifully. Heck of a nice guy as well.

kk, if you've got specific translation requests, let me know. There are way too many there for me to try to do them all.

edmz, that's a gorgeous piece.
posted by omarr at 11:50 PM on November 27, 2007

thanks, that's beautiful.
posted by nicolin at 2:15 AM on November 28, 2007

I'm such an idiot. I posted this to my site ages ago and when I just tried to find it I couldn't. Reason being: I'd misattributed the work to Al-Shaarani's teacher, Badawi Al Dirany. But thanks klang for being reminded. It's the perfect script made for abstraction into so many forms and also has that unique magic of being indecipherable to my non-arabic eye.
posted by peacay at 6:32 AM on November 28, 2007

Ever since the US has idiotically decided Islam is the new Nazism I've been looking for a beautiful sample of Arabic calligraphy to frame and hang in my house. I don't even know where to begin to purchase something like this; so much of what I've seen is religious in intent, not decorative. Any suggestions?
posted by Nelson at 8:20 AM on November 28, 2007

so much of what I've seen is religious in intent, not decorative

Huh? Are the two incompatible? Is Chartres Cathedral not a work of art because it's religious in intent? Beautiful calligraphy is beautiful no matter what it says. And I doubt there's such a thing as purely decorative calligraphy, because calligraphy involves text, and text says something.
posted by languagehat at 8:31 AM on November 28, 2007

Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest a dichotomy between religious and decorative. More I'm just worried that it would somehow be inappropriate cultural appropriation to hang a religious statement I don't understand on my wall. Then again I have Christian art on my walls and I'm not particularly Christian, so this may well not make any sense.

Let me try again. I love the design and artistry of Arabic calligraphy and I respect the centuries of religious and cultural heritage behind it. How can I collect some original calligraphy for display purposes?
posted by Nelson at 9:03 AM on November 28, 2007

Omar—The two that Cell Divide linked to are the ones that I'm most curious about.

I also wish I knew a bit more about the techniques—like, they look screen printed, but could simply be ink and brush with a steady hand.
posted by klangklangston at 9:54 AM on November 28, 2007

Incidentally I came across a pictograph(?) of zoomorphic calligraphy yesterday - it's from 1647 and is definitely the oldest form of this ornamentation* I've come across in a western book. (It's from HAB somewhere or other).
*[good background piece on figural calligraphy by Robert Hilldebrand, Professor of Islamic Art at the University of Edinburgh]
posted by peacay at 7:26 PM on November 28, 2007

err...that's Robert Hillenbrand.
posted by peacay at 7:37 PM on November 28, 2007

kk, those two are really difficult to decipher. I'll take another look at them tonight and see if I can figure anything out.
posted by omarr at 2:21 PM on November 29, 2007

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