25 Nov What is Calligraphy?
Calligraphy is a branch of visual art dedicated to writing. It deals with enhancing the aesthetics of lettering via various designing techniques using a brush or other writing equipment. Calligraphy finds manifold use in event invitations, font designing, hand-lettered logo designing, graphic designing, religious art, memorial documents as well as cut stone inscriptions.
The evolution of calligraphy in East Asia encompasses (=includes) majorly Chinese calligraphy, Tibetan calligraphy and Ethiopian calligraphy, all depicting distinctive and individualistic features. In South Asia, Indian calligraphy, Nepalese calligraphy, Thai calligraphy, Phillipino calligraphy, and Vietnamese calligraphy are widely practiced. Islamic calligraphy is yet another universally appreciated form practiced by the followers of Islam. Persian calligraphy is also a distinct style, separate from the Islamic calligraphy. Mayan calligraphy in the Latin American region is also a style to reckon with (=consider). Western calligraphy is practiced in Europe, majorly popularised by Christian churches.
After the advent of printing in the 15th century, the existing ancient system of calligraphy started fading out. Consequently, Modern calligraphy came into existence by the end of the 19th century. Edward Johnston is regarded as the father of Modern calligraphy due to his prodigious (= extraordinary) contributions.
Indian calligraphy, also known as Native Calligraphy of India, is the Indian development of the art of calligraphy. The earliest evidence of this calligraphy can be traced back to the 2nd century AD. During that period, birch bark (Bhojpatra) was used for writing. Palm leaves were used for pen writing which gradually developed exquisite and embellished (=decorative) handwriting or calligraphy. From around 500 AD, Indian calligraphy started to spread to other countries in Central Asia through Indian merchants, Buddhist monks, military adventurers, etc. Gilgit scripts are believed to be the earliest form of Indian calligraphy originating in the 5th century. The languages prevailing (=existing widely) in South East Asia had undergone a colossal (=huge) influence by the Indic language as well as culture. Before the system of left to right reading was followed, the Pothi system was in practice which adheres to (=follows) a vertical format. The Persian influence on Indian calligraphy is also considered historically significant. This influence can be seen from the glorious period of the Mughal era in India. Starting from the 16th century, Sikhism played a significant role in contributing to the Indian calligraphy.
In the context of Native Indian Calligraphy, it needs to be noted that the religious texts served as the main vehicle for propagating calligraphy. Similarly, Buddhist monastic communities and the Jaina traders played a significant role in popularising calligraphy.