Just as we can be moved by a song even when we don’t understand the words, we can have an emotional reaction to a script even when its language is unknown to us. Featured below is an 8th century masterpiece – a Quranic script from North Africa or the Near East. Here, black ink and gold leaves are used to produce lines of angled alphabets on parchment to stunning effect. The angled script is known as the Kuffi, an early calligraphy style in Islamic art.
The Kuffi style reached its zenith in the 10th century, after which it was gradually replaced by various forms of cursive scripts. From the 12th century on, scribes also began decorating their works with more ornate designs such as interfacing and fiolations in their pursuit of artistic excellence as shown in this next example.