suggestions for literature: history of calligraphy and typography

ycherem's picture

Hi, I'm envisaging a syllabus-cum-research project in art history and need some suggestions about good/deep/critical introductions to Chinese and Arabic calligraphy, in a comparative perspective,and also about the relationship between calligraphy and typography in the West. So far I have only found one book in a comparative perspective (dealing with the three traditions).

Any ideas?

John Hudson's picture

There are a lot of books on Arabic calligraphy. [Note that ‘Islamic calligraphy’ is a better term, since many of the greatest works belong to the Persian and Ottoman traditions, and the culture of calligraphy in Islam covers a much larger ethnic base than just the Arabs, although Arabic is the language of much of the text for religious reasons.]

Mohamed Zakariya's monograph The Calligraphy of Islam: reflections on the state of the art is the only work I know of on Arabic calligraphy, in English, that accurately identifies all the classical styles (including the less common ones). Other books either have at least some errors or omit or conflate styles.

Sheila Blair's Islamic Calligraphy is the most thorough scholarly work in English, I believe.

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