Materials and Techniques Used for Calligraphy

Posted by staff 07/11/2016 0 Comment(s)

Designs with calligraphy were created out of many different materials. Calligraphy often imitates the technical effects of pen on paper. It is possible to see, for example, the graceful range from thick to thin line and the square shape of superscript dots written with a square-cut pen nib.  So, let’s learn what materials and techniques were used for calligraphy.


Ink on Paper

The calligraphy would have been created using a reed pen and ink directly onto starched and polished paper, which will provide an excellent smooth surface for writing.



The letters were carved and then painted.


Ink on Parchment

Vellum or parchment was the highest quality writing material available before the invention of paper. It is made from prepared an animal hide. Writing on vellum can be erased or altered. A reed pen, with the tip cut at an angle and filled with ink, would have been used.



This technique was used in Central Asia only for a brief period, from around 1350 to early 1600s. The calligraphy tile was deeply carved with the inscriptions (and plant designs) and covered with colored glazes, before the final firing.



The weaver of the silk from Muslim Spain has accurately reproduced the flowing lines of a written inscription in Arabic, a task requiring enormous care in the design.



Metalworkers chiselled out tiny areas of the brass surface and filled them with pieces of gold and silver. They added details by chasing the surfaces of the softer inlaid metals with tools and hammer and adding a black filler to create contrast.


Enamelled Glass

Firstly, the lamp was made by blowing hot glass into shape and then leaving it to cool. Then, the enamel colors and gilding were painted on. The enamel was a solution of colors and ground glass that melted and fused on to the lamp when it was reheated in a kiln. The blown glass would have been decorated with enamel and gilt, possibly using fine brushes.


If you are interested with Islamic art or calligraphy, you can visit

Leave a Comment