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[[File:Hafez Ghazal.jpg|thumb|right| A versified by the Persian poet in Nastaliq, in print: (note)

in a Naskh styled typeface: ]]

Nastaʼlīq (; , ) is one of the main calligraphic hands used in writing the and the , and traditionally the predominant style in Persian calligraphy. The Cambridge History of Islam. By P. M. Holt, et al., Cambridge University Press, 1977, , p. 723. It was developed in in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is sometimes used to write language text (where it is mainly used for titles and headings), but its use has always been more popular in the , and sphere of influence. Nastaliq remains very widely used in , and the Indian Subcontinent and other countries for written poetry and as a form of art.

A less elaborate version of Nastaliq serves as the preferred style for writing in Kashmiri and and it is often used alongside Naskh for . In , it is used for poetry only. was historically used for writing Ottoman Turkish, where it was known as tâlik (not to be confused with a totally different Persian style, also called taʿlīq; to distinguish the two, Ottomans referred to the latter as , "old ").

Nastaliq is the core script of the post- Persian writing tradition and is equally important in the areas under its cultural influence. The languages of Iran (Western Persian, Azeri, Balochi, Kurdi, Luri, etc.), (Dari Persian, Pashto, Turkmen, Uzbek, etc.), (Urdu, Kashmiri, etc.), (Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, Pashto, Balochi, etc.) and the Turkic of the Chinese province of , rely on . Under the name (lit. "suspending script"), it was also beloved by Ottoman calligraphers who developed the () and () styles from it.

is amongst the most fluid calligraphy styles for the [[Arabic script]]. It has short verticals with no serifs, and long horizontal strokes. It is written using a piece of trimmed reed with a tip of , called  ('pen', [[Arabic]] and [[Persian|Persian language]] قلم) and carbon ink, named ''siyahi''. The nib of a  can be split in the middle to facilitate [[ink]] absorption.

Two important forms of panels are and . A ("cross", in Persian) panel usually consists of four diagonal hemistiches (half-lines) of poetry, clearly signifying a moral, ethical or poetic concept. ("black drill") panels, however, communicate via composition and form, rather than content. In , repeating a few letters or words (sometimes even one) virtually inks the whole panel. The content is thus of less significance and not clearly accessible.

[[File:Khatt-e Nastaliq.jpg|thumb|right| Example saying, " Nastaliq script", written in .

(Naskh: خط نستعلیق)
The dotted form ڛ]] is used in place of س]] in the word نڛتعلیق Nastaliq.]]

After the Islamic conquest of Persia, the Iranian Persian people adopted the and the art of Persian calligraphy flourished in Iran as territories of the former Persian empire. Apparently, Mir Ali Tabrizi (14th century) developed by combining two existing scripts of and . Hence, it was originally called . Another theory holds that the name means "that which abrogated ( naskh) Taʿlīq".

thrived and many prominent calligraphers contributed to its splendor and beauty. It is believed that  reached its highest elegance in [[Mir Emad]]'s works. The current practice of  is, however, heavily based on Mirza Reza Kalhor's technique. Kalhor modified and adapted  to be easily used with printing machines, which in turn helped wide dissemination of his transcripts. He also devised methods for teaching  and specified clear proportional rules for it, which many could follow.

The used as the court during their rule over . During this time, came into widespread use in . The influence continues to this day. In India and Pakistan, almost everything in Urdu is written in the script, constituting the greatest part of usage in the world. The situation of in used to be the same as in Pakistan until 1971, when Urdu ceased to remain an official language. Today, only a few people use this form of writing in .

Nastaliq is a descendant of and . - literally: "broken Nastaliq" - style (below) is a development of .

Notable Nastaliq calligraphers

In print: (note)

In Naskh styled typeface:


  • Mir Ali Tabrizi
  • Mírzá ʻAbbás Núrí
  • Mishkín-Qalam
  • Mirza Mohammad Reza Kalhor

And others, including Mirza Jafar Tabrizi, Abdul Rashid Deilami, Sultan Ali Mashadi, Mir Ali Heravi, Emad Ul-Kottab, Mirza Gholam Reza Esfehani, Emadol Kotab, Yaghoot Mostasami and Darvish Abdol Majid Taleghani.

And among contemporary artists: Hassan Mirkhani, Hossein Mirkhani, Keikhosro Khoroush, Abbas Akhavein and Qolam-Hossein Amirkhani, Ali Akbar Kaveh, Kaboli. Nastaliq Script – Persian Calligraphy

File:Mir emad 1012 hijri.jpg|Mir Emad Hassani, Safavid era

File:Soltan ali mashhadi 895 1489.jpg|Soltan-ali Mashhadi - 1489 AD

Islamic calligraphy was originally used to adorn Islamic religious texts, specifically the , as pictorial ornaments were prohibited in sacred publications and spaces of . Therefore, a sense of sacredness was always implicit in calligraphy.

A disciple was supposed to qualify himself spiritually for being a calligrapher, besides learning how to prepare , ink, paper and, more importantly, master . For instance see Adab al-Mashq, a manual of penmanship attributed to .


or (, , "cursive " or literally "broken ") style is a "streamlined" script of . It was developed in the 14th century to ease communication for non-calligraphic purposes, such as commerce and administration. Shekasta is characterized by "letters greatly reduced in size... thinner strokes... and letters that in the formal versions of the Arabic script do not connect to the left were made to connect."
(1995). 9781568592138

File:Chayyam guyand kasan behescht ba hur chosch ast small.png|A ruba'i of Omar Khayyam in Shekasteh Nastaliq.
In print: In modern Naskh:

File:Ghafeleye Omr.svg|A line of poetry by the Iranian poet in Shekasteh Nastaliq.
In print: In modern Naskh:

File:Shikastah Nasta'liq Script.gif|An excerpt from Shaykh Sa'di's (d. 691/1292) "Gulistan" (The Rose Garden), in script.

File:Fath Ali Shah Qajar Firman in Shikasta Nastaliq script January 1831.jpg|Fath Ali Shah Qajar's order in script, January 1831

Nastaliq typesetting
[[File:Urdu couplet.svg|thumb| An example of the script used for writing .


Typography first started with attempts to develop a metallic type for the script, but all such efforts failed. Fort William College developed a  Type, which was not close enough to  and hence was never used other than by the college library to publish its own books. The State of Hyderabad Dakan (now in India) also attempted to develop a  Typewriter but this attempt failed miserably and the file was closed with the phrase “Preparation of  on commercial basis is impossible”. Basically, in order to develop such a metal type, thousands of pieces would be required.

Modern typography began with the invention of Noori Nastaleeq which was first created as a digital font in 1981 through the collaboration of Mirza Ahmad Jamil TI (as Calligrapher) and (formerly Monotype Corp & Monotype Typography). Although this was a ground-breaking solution employing over 20,000 ligatures (individually designed character combinations) which provided the most beautiful results and allowed newspapers such as Pakistan's to use digital typesetting instead of an army of calligraphers, it suffered from two problems in the 1990s: (a) its non-availability on standard platforms such as Windows or , and (b) the non- nature of text entry, whereby the document had to be created by commands in Monotype's proprietary page description language.

In 1994, Urdu, which is a fully functional page layout software for Windows akin to , was developed for Pakistan's newspaper industry by an Indian software company Concept Software Pvt Ltd. It offered the Noori Nastaliq font licensed from Monotype Corporation. This font, with its vast ligature base of over 20,000, is still used in current versions of the software for Windows. As of 2009 has become Unicode based, supporting more languages, and the Faiz Lahori Nastaliq font with Kasheeda has been added to it along with compatibility with OpenType Unicode fonts. Nastaliq Kashish has been made for the first time in the history of Typography.

Cross platform Nastaliq fonts
  • Windows 8 was the first version of Microsoft Windows to have native Nastaliq support, through Microsoft's "Urdu Typesetting" font.

Letter forms
For the , and many others derived from it, letters are regarded as having two or three general forms each, based on their position in the word (though obviously Arabic calligraphy can add a great deal of complexity). But the Nastaliq style uses more than three general forms for many letters, even in non-decorative documents. For example, most documents written in , which uses the Nastaliq style.

See also
  • Islamic calligraphy
  • Persian calligraphy
  • Shahmukhi script

Further reading
  • Sheila Blair, Islamic Calligraphy, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005.

External links

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