Friday, November 14, 2008

Islamic calligraphy comes in a bewildering, beautiful array of scripts. Copying the Qur’an is a sacred act, and — so I suppose — extreme calligraphic exertions are one way of demonstrating extreme piety. One of the most demanding scripts is the ghubar script — literally, “dust script” — and it requires that the scribe produce words that are as fine as hairs while still legible (on pain of eternal damnation, for distorting the Holy Book is a Mighty Sin). To an extent this sort of miniature writing had some actual functionality: sending long, compact messages to far-off lands by carrier pigeon, for example. But…

This is unbelievable. Check thou it out.

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