The Info List - Perso-Arabic Script

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NASTAʿLīQ (Persian : نستعلیق, from نسخ Naskh and تعلیق Taʿlīq) is one of the main calligraphic hands used in writing the Persian script
Persian script
, and traditionally the predominant style in Persian calligraphy . It was developed in Iran
in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is sometimes used to write Arabic-language text (where it is known as Taʿliq or Persian and is mainly used for titles and headings), but its use has always been more popular in the Persian, Turkic and Urdu sphere of influence. Nastaʿlīq has extensively been (and still is) practised in Iran
, Pakistan
, India
, Afghanistan
and other countries for written poetry and as a form of art.

A less elaborate version of Nastaʿlīq serves as the preferred style for writing in Kashmiri , Punjabi and Urdu , and it is often used alongside Naskh for Pashto . In Persian it is used for poetry only. Nastaʿlīq 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 taʿlīq-i qadim, "old taʿlīq").

Nastaʿlīq is the core script of the post- Sassanid
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.), Afghanistan
(Dari, Pashto, Uzbek, Turkmen, etc.), Pakistan
(Punjabi, Urdu, Kashmiri, Saraiki, etc.), and the Turkic Uyghur language of the Chinese province of Xinjiang
, rely on Nastaʿlīq. Under the name taʿliq (lit. “suspending ”), it was also beloved by Ottoman calligraphers who developed the Diwani (divanî) and Ruqah (rık’a) styles from it.

Nastaʿlīq is amongst the most fluid calligraphy styles for the Arabic alphabet . It has short verticals with no serifs, and long horizontal strokes. It is written using a piece of trimmed reed with a tip of 5–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in), called qalam ("pen", in Arabic
and Persian قلم), and carbon ink, named davat. The nib of a qalam can be split in the middle to facilitate ink absorption.

Two important forms of Nastaʿlīq panels are Chalipa and Siah-Mashq . A Chalipa ("cross", in Persian) panel usually consists of four diagonal hemistiches (half-lines) of poetry, clearly signifying a moral, ethical or poetic concept. Siah- Mashq ("black drill") panels, however, communicate via composition and form, rather than content. In Siah-Mashq, 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.


* 1 History * 2 Notable Nastaʿlīq calligraphers * 3 Etiquette

* 4 Nastaʿlīq typesetting

* 4.1 Nastaʿlīq electronic publishing and DTP

* 5 Shikasta Nastaʿlīq

* 5.1 Gallery

* 6 See also * 7 References * 8 Further reading * 9 External links


Persian Chalipa panel, Mir Emad . In print: بودم به تو عمری و ترا سیر ندیدم از وصل تو هرگز به مرادی نرسیدم از بهر تو بیگانه شدم از همه خویشان وحشی صفت از خلق به یکبار بریدم

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

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

The Mughal Empire used Persian as the court language during their rule over South Asia . During this time, Nastaʿlīq came into widespread use in South Asia . The influence continues to this day. In Pakistan, almost everything in Urdu is written in the script, constituting the greatest part of Nastaʿlīq usage in the world. The situation of Nastaʿlīq in Bangladesh 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 Bangladesh .

Nastaʿlīq is a descendant of Nasḫ and Taʿlīq. Shikasta Nastaʿlīq (literally "broken Nastaʿlīq") style is a development of Nastaʿlīq.


Example showing «خط نستعلیق» (Nastaʿlīq script) written in Nastaʿlīq.

* Mir Ali Tabrizi * Mir Emad * Mirza Buzurg-i-Nuri * 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, Abbas Akhavein and Qolam-Hossein Amirkhani, Ali Akbar Kaveh, Kaboli.


Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy
was originally used to adorn Islamic religious texts, specifically the Qur\'an , as pictorial ornaments were prohibited in Islam . Therefore, a sense of sacredness always hovered in the background of calligraphy.

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


Folio of Poetry From the Divan of Sultan Husayn Mirza, ca. 1490. Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Museum
. *

Quatrain on the Virtue of Patience by Muhammad Muhsin Lahuri of the Mughal Empire . *

Spousal Advice by Abdallah Lahuri of the Mughal Empire .


An example of the Nastaʿlīq script
Nastaʿlīq script
used for writing Urdu

Nastaʿlīq Typography first started with attempts to develop a metallic type for the script, but all such efforts failed. Fort William College developed a Nastaʿlīq Type, which was not close enough to Nastaʿlīq 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 Nastaʿlīq Typewriter but this attempt failed miserably and the file was closed with the phrase “Preparation of Nastaʿlīq on commercial basis is impossible”. Basically, in order to develop such a metal type, thousands of pieces would be required.

Modern Nastaʿlīq 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 Monotype Imaging (formerly Monotype Corp text-decoration: none">Nastaʿlīq support, through Microsoft's " Urdu Typesetting" font.


In 1994, InPage Urdu, which is a fully functional page layout software for Windows akin to Quark XPress , was developed for Pakistan's newspaper industry. This was done by an Indian software company – Concept Software Pvt Ltd – led by Rarendra Pratap Singh and Vijay Krishan Gupta, with the input and help of Firoz Hashmi expert in calligraphy text-decoration: none">Nastaʿlīq fonts which were created by Syed Manzar Hasan Zaidi. They licensed and improved the Noori Nastaliq font from Monotype at that time. 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 InPage has become Unicode based, supporting more languages, and the Faiz Lahori Nastaliq font with Kasheeda developed by Syed Manzar Hasan Zaidi, Axis SoftMedia Pvt. Ltd., 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 Nastaʿlīq Typography.

InPage has been widely marketed and sold in the UK, India
and elsewhere since 1994, and is utilized in the majority of UK schools and local authorities where Urdu is a main language of pupils and constituents. InPage is also reported to be in use on millions of PCs in India, Pakistan
and other countries of the world.

Nowadays, nearly all Urdu newspapers, magazines, journals, and periodicals are composed on computers via various Urdu software programmes, the most widespread of which is the InPage Desktop Publishing package.


Shekasteh or Shekasteh NASTAʿLīQ (Persian : شکسته‌نستعلیق‎‎; "cursive Nastaʿlīq", or literally "broken Nastaʿlīq") style is a successor of Nastaʿlīq.



A line of poetry by the Iranian poet Omar Khayyam in Shikasta Nastaʿlīq. In print: این قافلهٔ عُمر عجب میگذرد *

A ruba\'i of Omar Khayyam in Shikasta Nastaʿlīq. In print: گویند کسان بهشت با حور خوش است من میگویم که آب انگور خوش است این نقد بگیر و دست از آن نسیه بدار کاواز دهل شنیدن از دور خوش است *

Nastaʿlīq *

Fath Ali Shah Qajar 's order in Shikasta Nastaliq script, January 1831


* Islamic calligraphy
Islamic calligraphy
* Persian calligraphy * Shahmukhi script * Shekaste-Nasta\'liq * Urdu alphabet * Modi , another "broken" script


* ^ The Cambridge History of Islam. By P. M. Holt, et al., Cambridge University Press, 1977, ISBN 0-521-29138-0 , p. 723. *