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Kufic is the oldest calligraphic form of the various Arabic scripts and consists of a modified form of the old Nabataean script. Kufic developed around the end of the 7th century in Kufa, Iraq, from which it takes its name, and other centres. Until about the 11th century it was the main script used to copy Qur'ans. Professional copyists employed a particular form of kufic for reproducing the earliest surviving copies of the Qur'an, which were written on parchment and date from the 8th to 10th centuries.
Kufic was prevalent in manuscripts from the 8th to 10th centuries.
Kufic is commonly seen on Seljuk coins and monuments and on early Ottoman coins. Its decorative character led to its use as a decorative element in several public and domestic buildings constructed prior to the Republican period in Turkey.
Square or geometric Kufic
Square or geometric Kufic is a very simplified rectangular style of Kufic widely used for tiling. In Iran sometimes entire buildings are covered with tiles spelling sacred names like those of God, Muhammad and Ali in square Kufic, a technique known as banna'i.
"Pseudo-Kufic", also "Kufesque", refers to imitations of the Kufic script, made in a non-Arabic context, during the Middle Ages or the Renaissance: "Imitations of Arabic in European art are often described as pseudo-Kufic, borrowing the term for an Arabic script that emphasizes straight and angular strokes, and is most commonly used in Islamic architectural decoration".
Kufic script from an early Qur'an manuscript, 7th century. (Surah 7: 86–87)
Manuscript of the Surat Maryam of the Qur'an; Kufic script on gazelle skin, 9th century. (Surah 19: 83–86).
Kufic script, 8th or 9th century (Surah 48: 27–28) Qur'an.
Kufic alphabet, from Fry's Pantographia (1799)
Geometric Kufic from the Bou Inania Madrasa (Meknes); the text reads بركة محمد or barakat muḥammad, i.e. Muhammad's blessing.
The flag of Iraq
The flag of Iran
Inscription in Kufic (743). The Walters Art Museum.
Drawing of an inscription of Basmala in Kufic script, 9th century. The original is in the Islamic Museum in Cairo (Inventar-Nr. 7853)
thumbnail|Kufic script used in a copy of the Qur'an
- "Arabic scripts". British Museum. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "The Spirit of Islam: Experiencing Islam through Calligraphy". UBC Museum of Anthropology. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Jonathan M. Bloom; Sheila Blair (2009). The Grove encyclopedia of Islamic art and architecture. Oxford University Press. pp. 101, 131, 246. ISBN 978-0-19-530991-1. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- Mack, p.51
- Mack, Rosamond E. Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300–1600, University of California Press, 2001 ISBN 0-520-22131-1
- Wolfgang Kosack: Islamische Schriftkunst des Kufischen. Geometrisches Kufi in 593 Schriftbeispielen. Deutsch – Kufi – Arabisch. Christoph Brunner, Basel 2014, ISBN 978-3-906206-10-3.
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