Old Church Slavonic Interlock

paul d hunt's picture

does anyone know of any books that show photos of lettering that includes awesome ligatures as in the sample attached. i've been wanting to do a cyrillic version that does the kind of thing that Ed Interlock does, based on this old church lettering which actually incorporates this kind of thing. anyhow, any leads are appreciated. thnx.

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Maxim Zhukov's picture

Do you mean, this kind of thing? It's called vyaz. It is discussed and shown in a great number of Russian (and non-Russian) books on paleography and early printing. One good source that comes to mind is Зернова А. С. Орнаментика книг московской печати кирилловского шрифта, 1677-1750. Москва, 1963, but the titles are many. A fairly good listing of Russian books on type and typography can be found here. By the way, Paul, the sample you have attached to your post is just god-awful.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

A very good article on vyaz from Литературная энциклопедия (т.2, стб. 340-342). Москва: Изд-во Ком. Акад., 1929. Check it out.

paul d hunt's picture

yes, thank you Maxim! for some reason i seem to be rather impressed with the lettering (as well as all the artwork) inside the Spac na Krovi in Petersburg. It's been 6 years since i was there now, so i can't remember whether there was any vyaz in the mosaics in that particular church or not. i remember thinking that that style of lettering was particularly exquisite. i've been kicking myself for not buying a photo book on the spot, but wondering if i could still find one. can you recommend any online bookstores, Maxim? Oh, and I bought a ring with the inscription "Господи Спаси и Сохрани Меня," (Lord, save and keep me) but i've lost it now. I wonder if i could find that online too...

crossgrove's picture

Tony De Marco, are you looking? Maxim, your sample is fantastic! And I must giggle about your thread title, Paul.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Spas na Krovi is a careful, and quite expensive, fin-du-siècle fake, imitating the classical 16th-century Moscow style (in a way, it is a Russian version of the Sacré-Cœur). Just compare it with the real thing.

And, speaking of a good, classical vyaz, have a look at the lettering on the Ivan the Great Bell-Tower in the Kremlin (1505–8).

Now the good news. It looks like your ring was found by one Evgeny Kutuzov, a fan of the popular Russian actor Nilkolay Karachentsov...

John Hudson's picture

I filled in the wiki entry for vyaz', but now I'm getting the 'Access Denied' bug again. The compressed letterforms used in vyaz' begin life in Greek uncial lettering, and are related to the style of lettering often employed in Orthodox icons. In vyaz', the letters are compressed even more, and made to interlock in a variety of ways (shared stems, stacking, enclosure).

paul d hunt's picture

thnx john, one of these links SHOULD work for you:
http://typophile.com/wiki/vyaz
http://typophile.com/wiki/Vyaz

if not, then i'll be baffled.

John Hudson's picture

I thought participants in this discussion might be entertained by this very English take on 'vyaz: http://www.tiro.com/John/EngVyaz.jpg

I think this was carved at the Kindersley-Cardozo workshop, but am not sure; I don't have the reference with me at the moment.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Some examples of the present-day interior design (actually, murals) that seems to draw inspiration from the ancient vyaz’ tradition. Of course, it's miles and miles away from the real thing, but curious nonetheless.

John Hudson's picture

And this, of course, is the Arabic equivalent.

Hildebrant's picture

Wow, that Arabic is so overwhelming (in a good way). How does anyone undertake a letter job so complex? Where is this type of craftsmanship nowdays?

Thomas Milo's picture

Hi Hildebrant,

This image may look a bit intimidating, but it has nothing to do with calligraphic craftmanship at all. It is a probably the work of a cheap street calligrapher or another member of a sorry class of incompetent charlatans. There are very few real calligraphers left, and their work is in a totally different league.

The text is HQ 2:255, tye so-called Throne Verse
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throne_Verse)

Here's a better, be it less elaborate, example:
http://pgssajkm.blogspot.com/2008/05/ayatul-kursi.html

And here's another nice example of rubbish:
http://www.dr-umar-azam.com/dreams_in_islam/images/6.jpg

I also had a - computerized - go at it here:
http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/200704/images/keyboard/calli_100_4...

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

Thomas Milo's picture

Maxim,

Here's the image of my old faithful Church Slavonic IBM Selectric Golf Ball.

http://www.decotype.com/images/100_6924.JPG

The background text is a page of the Handbuch der altbulgarischen Sprache by A. Leskien, the dean of the neogrammarians.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Leskien

The golf ball was produced by IBM Nederland in thr 1980's in collaboration with the University of Utrecht I believe. I bought ot from from the old IBM Direct Shop at the Johan Huizingalaan in Amsterdam. Unfortunately I no longer have the actual machine, I donated it to the Scryption Museum in Tilburg, NL.

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

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