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Royal Commonwealth Society : Qıùa’āt-ı Nuãrat (Calligraphies of Nusrat)

Sayyid Muhammad Nusrat Ali

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>This 48 x 34 cm volume titled Qıùa’āt-ı Nuãrat (“Calligraphies of Nusrat”) represents the work of Sayyid Muhammad Nusrat Ali, a twentieth-century Indian-Muslim calligrapher from Delhi. Nusrat Ali appears to have assembled a selection of his best calligraphic work as a gift to HRH George V on the occasion of his Coronation Durbar in Delhi in 1911. The penmanship on each folio not only reveals the calligrapher’s mastery of the various traditional scripts, but also his virtuosity in transforming text into anthropomorphic and architectural forms.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The exhibited folio depicts the architectural elevation of a monumental mosque with six minarets. The angular script, which gives form to the structure, simultaneously spells out the Arabic phrase “There is no god, but Allah, [and] Muhammad is the messenger of Allah” twice as mirror images. Known as the “Word of Purity,” this phrase is the first of six phrases, derived from hadith literature, that have notable significance for Muslims of South Asia in the learning and practice of their religion. The same phrase appears a third time on the page, outlining the crown above the central dome of the mosque, possibly representing the British crown.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Lastly, the volume exemplifies the innovative use of the lithographic press in India in reproducing traditional practices in book art. Unsurprisingly, the volume’s front page also lists the publisher, Nusrat al-Matabi of Delhi, in the district of Rudgaran.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dr Deniz Turker</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>See Janus record <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>here</a></p>

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