Must read for studying Islamic epigraphy (open access…of course)

When dealing with inscriptions some sources need to be read… an epigraphist, an amateur, a curious, in fact everyone interested in any level in the study of Islamic epigraphy should read some books, just as someone who likes English literature need to read Shakespeare.

Thankfully, the World Wide Web provides us with sources otherwise available only in libraries.
In this post I simply want to gather all the on-line sources that I have found here and there relating to the study of epigraphy and calligraphy… no reviews..only a list (and links, of course!)

Note that this is only a “preliminary list” that will be improved through times…


S. Blair, Islamic inscriptions, Edinburgh 1998.
[pp. 0-17pp. 18-39pp. 40-67pp. 68-83 pp. 84-93pp. 94-123pp. 124-145pp. 146-171pp. 172-195 pp. 196-204pp. 205-243]

S. Blair, Islamic calligraphy, Edinburgh 2006.
[pp. 0-xxxviipp. 1-40pp. 41-63pp.64-74pp.75-100pp.101-129pp.130-140pp.141-165pp.166-194pp.195-211pp. 212-237 – pp. 238-265pp. 266-289pp. 290-315pp. 316-337pp. 338 – 364pp. 365-387pp. 388-413pp. 414-439pp. 440-465pp. 466-475 – pp. 476-499pp. 500-521pp. 522-533pp. 534-559pp. 560-585pp. 586-619pp. 620-627pp. 628-681]

A. George, The Rise of Islamic Calligraphy, Saqi, London 2010.
[pp. 1-37pp. 38-53pp. 55-77pp. 78-93pp. 95-114pp. 115-127pp. 128-146pp. 147-161pp. 163-197pp. 198-221pp. 223-231p. 233-236]

O. Grabar, The formation of Islamic Art, New Haven/London 1973.
[pp. 0-35pp.36-85pp. 86-135pp. 136-175pp. 176-213pp. 215-233pl.1-27pl. 28-46pl. 47-76pl. 77-102pl. 103-123pl. 124-131]


S. Blair, “Surveyor versus Epigrapher”, in Muqarnas, 8 (1991), pp. 66-73.
[full article]

S. A. Elwazani, “Sacral Qualities of Form in Mosque Architecture: Transformation of the Arts of the Qur’an into the Arts of the Mosque”, in American journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 12-4 (1995), pp. 475-495.
[full article]

O. Grabar, “Graffiti or Proclamations: Why Write on Buildings?”, in D. Behrens-Abouseif (ed.), The Cairo Heritage, Cairo 2000, pp. 69-75.
[full article, reprint]

R. Hoyland, “The content and context of early Arabic inscriptions”, in Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 21 (1997), pp. 77-102.
[full article]

R. Hoyland, “Epigraphy and the Emergence of Arab Identity”, in P. M. Sijpesteijn et. al. (eds.), From al-Andalus to Khurasan. Documents from the Medieval Muslim World, Brill, Leiden 2007, pp. 219-242.
[full article]

F. Imbert, “Le Coran dans le graffiti des deux premiers siécles de l’hégire”, in Arabica, 47 (2000), pp. 381-390.
[full article]

L. Korn, “Religious Inscriptions in Islamic Architecture”, in J. W. Frembgen (ed.), The aura of Alif. The Art of Writing in Islam, Prestel, Munich 2010, pp. 102-125.
[full article]

G. Necipoğlu, “Religious Inscriptions on the Great Mosques and the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires, in Hadit al-Dar, 25 (2008), pp. 34-40.
[full artcle]

G. Necipoğlu, “Qur’anic inscriptions in Sinan’s imperial mosques: a comparison with their Safavid and Mughal counterparts”, in F. Suleman (ed.), Word of God, Art of Man. The Qur’an and its Creative Expression, Oxford University Press, Oxford – New York 2010, pp. 69-104.
[full article]

M. Rahim, “Arabic Epitaphs from the Near East”, in J. W. Frembgen (ed.), The aura of Alif. The Art of Writing in Islam, Prestel, Munich 2010, pp. 148-159.
[full article]

Y. Tabbaa, “The transformation of Arabic writing: part 1, Qur’anic calligraphy”, in Ars Orientalis, 21 (1991), pp. 119-148.
[full article, via jstor]

Y. Tabbaa, “The transformation of Arabic writing: part 2, the public text”, in Ars Orientalis, 24 (1994), pp. 119-147.
[full article, via jstor]

E. Whelan, “Forgotten Witness: Evidence of the Early Codification of the Qur’an”, in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 118/1 (1998), pp. 1-14.
[full article, via jstor]


first published: Sep 4, 2014 – last update: Sep 22, 2014


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