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A Look at the History of Calligraphy in Decoration of Mosques in Iran: 630-1630 AD

Authors: Cengiz Tavşan, Niloufar Akbarzadeh


Architecture in Iran has a continuous history from at least 5000 BC to the present, and numerous Iranian pre-Islamic elements have contributed significantly to the formation of Islamic art. At first, decoration was limited to small objects and containers and then progressed in the art of plaster and brickwork. They later applied in architecture as well. The art of gypsum and brickwork, which was prevalent in the form of motifs (animals and plants) in pre-Islam, was used in the aftermath of Islam with the art of calligraphy in decorations. The splendor and beauty of Iranian architecture, especially during the Islamic era, are related to decoration and design. After the invasion of Iran by the Arabs and the introduction of Islam to Iran, the arrival of the Iranian classical architecture significantly changed, and we saw the Arabic calligraphy decoration of the mosques in Iran. The principles of aesthetics in the art of calligraphy in Iran are based precisely on the principles of the beauty of ancient Iranian and Islamic art. On the other hand, after Islam, calligraphy was one of the most important sources of Islamic art in Islam and one of the important features of Islamic culture. First, the calligraphy had no cultural meaning and was only for decoration and beautification, it had the same meaning only in the inscriptions; however, over time, it became meaningful. This article provides a summary of the history of calligraphy in the mosques (from the entrance to Islam until the Safavid period), which cannot ignore the role of the calligraphy in their decorative ideas; and also, the important role that decorative elements play in creating a public space in terms of social and aesthetic performance. This study was conducted using library studies and field studies. The purpose of this study is to show the characteristics of architecture and art of decorations in Iran, especially in the mosque's architecture, which reaches the pinnacle of progress. We will see that religious beliefs and artistic practices are merging and trying to bring a single concept.

Keywords: Islamic art, Islamic architecture, decorations in Iranian mosques, calligraphy.

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