Album Leaf with Calligraphic Exercise (siyah mashq)

Calligrapher Asadullah Shirazi Iranian

Not on view

Originally, practice pages were intended to strengthen a calligrapher’s hand and instill discipline through the repetition of letters or groups of letters. They emerged as a popular art form after the sixteenth century in a fascinating manifestation of calligraphic abstraction. Generally devoid of meaning, mashq pages are meant to be enjoyed solely for their aesthetic merits. Many were set into borders, placed into albums, and exchanged as gifts. This example epitomizes the creative spirit of this genre.

Album Leaf with Calligraphic Exercise (siyah mashq), Asadullah Shirazi (Iranian (active 1830s–50s)), Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper

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