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Traces of the Calligrapher : Islamic Calligraphy in Practice, c. 1600-1900

written by Mary McWilliams, David J Roxburgh

Museum of Fine Arts Houston | ISBN 9780300126327

Paperback – 108 pages


Member’s price: $34.16
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In Islamic culture, calligraphy has long been considered a quintessential art form. This beautiful writing practice constitutes an expression of piety, and calligraphers are among the most highly esteemed artists. Traces of the Calligrapher portrays the intimate world of the calligrapher during the early modern period of Islamic culture. It brings together the “tools of the trade”—works in their own right that are rarely exhibited or published—and the exquisite art made with these functional objects in India, Iran, and Turkey.

This richly illustrated and fascinating book presents exceptional works of the 17th through 19th centuries, drawn primarily from an unrivaled private collection. It features pens, pen boxes, chests, tables, paper scissors, knives, burnishers, and book bindings of superb manufacture and design, accompanied by examples of calligraphy that were executed as practice exercise, occasional works, wall hangings, and manuscripts.


Mary McWilliams is the Norma Jean Calderwood Curator of Islamic and Later Indian Art at the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University. David J. Roxburgh is a professor in the Department of Art and Architecture at Harvard University and author of The Persian Album, 1400–1600 (Yale).

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