Arabic type

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ine beerten's picture
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Joined: 21 Jan 2004 - 6:47am
Arabic type
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Hi,

I’m a graphic design student and making for my final project fonts inspired by arabic calligraphy and hebrew script and I’m searching for some good indeep info about both scripts … does anyone know good books or people I can get in contact with , or any other info … ??

thnx

Ine Beerten

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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There are two very good essays, one about Arabic and one about Hebrew, in Language Culture Type.

One of the best books I have on Arabic calligraphy is The art of the pen, which not only shows a lot of wonderful stuff but also explains what you are looking at. The section at the back showing examples of the major calligraphic styles may be particularly useful for you.

ine beerten's picture
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Joined: 21 Jan 2004 - 6:47am
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My book on Hebrew from Gabriel Mandel Khan (in Italian) arrived today, and I’m quite dissapointed. The images in the book are often not the original photos of bookpages, but are drawings, and they are quite small, so you can’t see the letters well.
And I also hoped that there would have been some info about STAM, the special hebrew script, that is used in the Thora, and that has to be written in consideration of special rules (to be kosher); but the book doesn’t even mention STAM.
Can you tell me if the books above have information on STAM ??

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Ine, the established rules for the formation of STAM are written in the Mishnat Sofrim. You can find a very good English summary of the rules, with examples, at Mordechai Pinchas’ excellent sofer resource website. Here is a direct link to his pages on The Formation of the Letters.

ine beerten's picture
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Joined: 21 Jan 2004 - 6:47am
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I guess I was a little bit to fast to jump to conclusions . Though the images in the book by Gabriel Mandel Khan are really not good, he does write about STAM, he only calls it SEFER (I’m still quite new to this subject of Hebrew and don’t know all the lingo yet) and I must say Italian isn’t as easy as I thought it would be ;-)

ine beerten's picture
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Joined: 21 Jan 2004 - 6:47am
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Thanks, John, for the link to this superb website on STAM, it will help me a lot !

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
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A copy of “Art of the Pen” arrived a few days ago. Thanks for the suggestion John, a beautiful and informative book.

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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A copy of “Art of the Pen” arrived a few days ago.

I recently purchased the volume on The Abbasid Tradition from the same series, which covers the earliest Qur’anic manuscripts. As I’m able, I plan to pick up the other three volumes on Qur’anic calligraphy: The Master Scribes, After Timur, and The Decorated Word. There is also an interesting, if less visually stunning volume on the early examples of bills, letters and deeds on papyrus.

John Butler's picture
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Joined: 6 Nov 2001 - 11:00am
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I’ve never seen The Art of the Pen. I’ll take Mr. Hudson’s word for it, but it seems rather steeply priced at the moment. I have a copy of Abdelkebir Khatibi and Mohammed Sijelmassi’s The Splendor of Islamic Calligraphy, published by Thames and Hudson, which provides a decent catalog of styles. It was republished recently and is now far more affordable than the copy I got soaked by in Istanbul some years back.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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A really nice one is “Arabic Script” by Gabriel Mandel Khan.

hhp

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Another very good book is TF Mitchell’s Writing Arabic. This book focuses almost exclusively on the ruq’ah script, the most common daily handwriting style found in the Middle East, but it is the only text I’ve come across, apart from Thomas Milo’s essay in Language Culture Type, that treats connectivity of the Arabic script as something other than collections of ‘ligatures’.

John B’s recommendation of The splendor of Islamic calligraphy is a good one, which I’ll second. Its catalogue of styles is not as complete nor as nuanced as that in The art of the pen, i.e. it misses a number of significant sub-styles, but it has many good examples of fine work. Perhaps a academic library near you has a copy of The art of the pen?

ine beerten's picture
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Joined: 21 Jan 2004 - 6:47am
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Thnx everyone for your reactions. I already ordered a copy of “Arabic script” by Gabriel Mandel Khan last week on amazon and expecting it any moment, I also orded his book on Hebrew script, though this book exists only in Italian and my Italian is not that good. Has anybody any suggestions on books on Hebrew script (in English) ??

John Butler's picture
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Joined: 6 Nov 2001 - 11:00am
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For Hebrew, it just so happens that I just got this book a few weeks ago, and it’s magnificent. It is exhaustively detailed. I wish there were an equivalent for Latin script calligraphy and type design! It’s in English too. :-)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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I’ve been wondering about the Yardeni book. UCLA just got a copy, so I’ll definitely check it out. For Latin, check out Claudio Mediavilla’s amazing “Calligraphie” (recently made available in English, I believe).

Ine: I think I remember Claudio Piccinini mentioning that the Khan book on Hebrew has actually been translated into English now.

hhp

geraint's picture
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John Hudson's picture
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The best Hebrew calligraphy manual I’ve found is Calligraphy: Hebrew Lettering with examplars by Noah Ophir and text by Leila Avrin (who also wrote some good stuff on the calligraphy of kettubah, Jewish marriage contracts, in Fine Print magazine sometime in the 1980s). It was published by Tav (1993), in Jerusalem, but I’ve not seen it available from any North American sources. I picked up my copy from Falkiner Fine Papers in London.