Iranian calligraphers seeking registration of nastaliq on UNESCO list
Tehran Times Art Desk
TEHRAN — Iran’s Association of Calligraphers is collating information about nastaliq for a file to provide the usual preliminaries for registration of the genuine style of Persian calligraphy on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“The file is vast and highly reliable and we never have allowed this art to be called by any other term except Iranian,” calligrapher Nasrollah Afjei, who is also a senior member of the association, told the Persian service of ISNA on Tuesday.
Efforts for preparing the file began during last October after some Persian news agencies published reports announcing the United Arab Emirates’ action to introduce nastaliq as an Arabic calligraphy style at Expo Milano 2015.
In addition, Iran’s Association of Calligraphers had previously been informed about Turkey’s plan to register nastaliq on UNESCO’s list.
As a result, a council composed of a representative of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and some senior members of the association decided upon a team of experts to prepare the file.
“The [nastaliq] style of calligraphy originated in Iran. Of course, some styles of calligraphy have been invented in Turkey and some Arab countries over the past years, but calligraphy has a long history,” stated Afjei, who is a master of the nastaliq style of Persian calligraphy.
Calligrapher and poet Mir Ali Tabrizi who lived during the 14th century is often credited with the invention of nastaliq, Iranica wrote. But despite Mir Ali’s fame, the sole known extant manuscript by his own hand appears to be a copy of Persian poet Nezami’s Kosrow o Shirin now at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington.
Jafar Tabrizi, who identified his teacher as Mir Ali bin Hassan Tabrizi, a contemporary of Mir Ali Tabrizi, wrote in a style closely analogous to that of Mir Ali as did his contemporary Az’har Soltani.
Jafar Tabrizi, also known as Baysonqori, not only considered Mir Ali as the inventor of nastaliq, but also claimed that the latter was skilled in “all styles of writing,” adding that both his calligraphy and his verse were notable for their equilibrium.
Mir Ali Heravi, a calligrapher who lived during the 16 century in Herat, Mashhad and Bukhara, copied Mir Ali’s works and praised him in his own essay on calligraphy, Madad al-Khotut. Indeed, Ali Heravi’s style of writing small-scale nastaliq bears a striking resemblance to the script of Mir Ali. He used Mir Ali’s canon of proportion and transmitted it to later generations.
Photo: A page from Nezami’s Kosrow o Shirin inscribed in nastaliq by Mir Ali Tabrizi is on display at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington.