Accordion Album of Calligraphic Examples in "Shikasteh Nasta‘liq"

Accession Number: 
AKM360
Place: 
Iran
Dimensions: 
29.2 x 19 cm
Date: 
1800–50
Materials and Technique: 
Ink and gold on paper with leather binding

This forty-eight-page album displays different calligraphic examples of the script known as shikasteh (also shikasteh nasta‘liq). Developed predominantly to enable the scribe to write faster by smoothing the articulation of each letter, then linking letters and, at times, entire words, shikasteh became the favoured script for official documents and administrative correspondence. Each page in this album is a demonstration of the virtuosity of the calligrapher, showing different composition and hands. The album is in the form of an accordion (also known as a concertina-type album) that was popular under the Qajars, who ruled a united Iran between 1794 and 1925. Each calligraphic specimen is set within plain-coloured borders on an undecorated coloured background. The folios were then hinge-linked, creating an accordion effect.