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CALLIGRAPHY

Turkish calligraphy is a unique artistic creation although calligraphy itself is not of Turkish origin. Ottomans adopted it with religious fervor and inspiration, taking this art to its pinacle over a five hundred year period.

The literal meaning of the Turkish word for calligraphy (hat) is line or way. In essence, Husn-i Hat comprises the beautiful lines inscribed with reed pens on paper using ink made from soot. In the 13th century, Yakut-ul-Mustasimi,a calligraphist from Amasya, made a breakthrough in calligraphy by using nibs of various widths and sizes in one composition. Later calligraphists followed and developed his methods. Later, Sheyh Hamdullah, a famous calligraphist from the period of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, introduced major changes in the traditional seven writing styles and put the mark of the Turkish national character on Islamic writing. His followers further improved Turkish calligraphy over the centuries. Hafiz Osman, Mustafa Rakim, Yesari Mehmet, Sevki Efendi, Sefik Bey, Mahmut Celaleddin, Kadiasker Mustafa Izzet, Sultan Mahmut II, Aziz Efendi, Necmettin Efendi, Sami Efendi and Hamid Aytac are all noted Turkish calligraphists who contributed to the development of this art.

Turkish calligraphists have always made the paper, pens and ink they used. The paper used to be painted with natural dyes. Then it was polished with boiled starch and egg white. The paper dressed in this way allowed for easily correcting mistakes. Pens were made of hard reeds. Bigger pens (known as "celi") were made of wood. To produce ink, the calligraphists used to burn materials such as pine and linseed oils. Please see Writing Tools folder for the materials and tools used.

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