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580Islamic Calligraphy article and other tidbits.

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  • Jake Benson
    Apr 14, 2001
      Thanks for pointing this out Susan!

      Incidentally, the very same names that are mentioned in this article have a
      lot to do with early marbling. So far, the oldest known datable pieces of
      Islamic marbling are the signed original poetic compositions (Qita') of Mir
      'Ali ul Haravi, who died in 1544. Only one of the examples I've come across
      has a date of 1540, showing that it was composed in Bukhara, but it still
      can't be determined that all of the qita' were produced there, and some may
      have in fact been composed in Herat. One the other hand, while there's a
      lot of evidence to show how marbling was used, there is still very little
      information concerning the actual marblers.

      Usually it has been assumed that it was done in association with the
      calligraphers in their atelier. I do wonder however if it is possible that
      it could have been manufactured in conjunction with papermaking, as not all
      colored and decorated papers necessarily originated in the court.

      One of the pieces from the Kevorkian collection does have an interesting
      fragment in the borders of one of the non marbled Mir 'Ali Qita. It's a
      fragment of an earlier poet and Nasta'liq calligrapher named Kamal Khujandi,
      who died much earlier, around 1410 in Tabriz in Iran. Another example of
      his work is part of a composite page form an album (Muraqqa) in the Musée
      d'Histiore in Geneva. The problem is that these particular fragments aren't
      signed by the author. The one in Geneva has a posthumous attribution
      written underneath the piece. While it can't be proved for certain that
      Kamal Khujandi used marbled paper, it may well be an indicator that the
      technique was known and used earlier than previously thought.


      Jake Benson

      Benson's Hand Bindery
      Fine Custom Bookbinding & Conservation
      Hand Marbled Papers
      1319 B Summerville Ave.
      Columbia S.C. 29201
      Phone: 803.799.1853