Persian Calligraphy: A Corpus Study of Letterforms 9780367209049, 9780429264047

This book is an exploratory adventure to defamiliarize calligraphy, especially Persian Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms

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Persian Calligraphy: A Corpus Study of Letterforms
 9780367209049, 9780429264047

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Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Series Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
Foreword
Preface
1. Introduction
Background
Aims and objectives
Experimental materials, the images of corpus, and sampling approach
Theoretical schema
Methodological schemas
Summary
Notes
2.
Corpus analysis
Descriptive schemas of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING
Corpus analysis based on the SHAPE system
The SHAPE constraint in confronting Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms
Corpus analysis based on ENSHAPENING system
The ENSHAPENING constraint in confronting Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms
Summary
Notes
3. Graphetic analysis
The theory of graphetic articulation
Human anatomy as aconstant factor in articulatory graphetics
First general convention of graphic forms based on human body conventions: ageneral tendency toward curved motions
Ergonomic efficiency as thesecond general convention of graphic form derived from the human body
Control as the third general convention of graphic form related to the human body
The coordination between hand and eye as the fourth general convention in graphic form
Body-support as the fifth common convention in graphic signifiers
Pen
Paper
Summary
Notes
4. Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy
Social semiotic theory of multimodality
Semiotics: signs– form and meaning– in Nastaliq calligraphy
Peirce’s model of sign
Nastaliq in relation to the Peirce’s model of sign
De Saussure’s theory of sign
Nastaliq in relation to the De Saussure model of sign
Peirce and De Saussure’s model of sign in acomparative relationship, specificities and contrasts
Peirce and De Saussure’s models and their traces in multimodal social semiotics theory
Nastaliq calligraphy as asemiotic mode
Calligraphy and multimodality
Summary
Notes
5. Holliday’s triple metafunctions: as requisite of any semiotic mode – in Nastaliq calligraphy
Ideational metafunctions in Nastaliq mode
Interpersonal metafunction in Nastaliq mode
Size as interpersonal resource in Nastaliq calligraphy
Overall composition or framing as adistinct interpersonal resource
Three interrelated systems of visual composition in Nastaliq overall composition/framing
Inscription or epigraph
Siyah-Mashq or black practice
Detailed composition as interpersonal resource in Nastaliq mode
Ornamental styles as interpersonal resources in Nastaliq
Non-letter calligraphic characters as resources to realize interpersonal senses
Signs of declension and embellishment as interpersonal resources in Nastaliq
Punctuation and dot tracing as interpersonal resources
Baseline setting as interpersonal resource in Nastaliq calligraphy
Textual metafunction in Nastaliq calligraphy
Summary
Notes
6. Toward a distinct feature analysis
Nastaliq Calligraphy as amedium?
Distinctive characteristics in Nastaliq semiotic mode
Summary
7. Conclusion
Inquiry: what has been done?
Conclusion
Prospective perspectives
References
Index

Citation preview

Persian Calligraphy

This book is an exploratory adventure to defamiliarize calligraphy, especially Persian Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms, and to look beyond the tradition that has always considered calligraphy as pursuant to and subordinate to linguistic practices. Calligraphy can be considered a visual communicative system with different means of meaning-making or as a medium through which meaning is made and expression is conveyed via a complex grammar. This study looks at calligraphy as a systematic means in the field of visual communication, rather than as a onedimensional and ad hoc means of providing visual beauty and aesthetic enjoyment. Revolving around different insights of multimodal social semiotics, the volume relies on the findings of a corpus study of Persian Nastaliq calligraphy. The research emphasizes the way in which letterforms, regardless of conventions in language, are applied as graphically meaningful forms that convey individual distinct meanings. This volume on Persian Nastaliq calligraphy will be inspirational to visual artists, designers, calligraphers, writers, linguists, and visual communicators. With an introduction to social semiotics, this work will be of interest to students and scholars interested in visual arts, media and communication, and semiotics. Mahdiyeh Meidani is a visual artist and a researcher in the field of Media and Visual Communication. After studying Fine Arts and Media and Communication, she has worked as a graphic designer, text artist, and calligrapher and has held individual and group exhibitions in calligraphy, typography, and lettering. She has also taught Persian calligraphy and lettering. Her main research interests include multimodality and social semiotics, as well as visual semiotics and materiality of fine arts and writing.

Iranian Studies Edited by: Homa Katouzian, University of Oxford and Mohamad Tavakoli, University of Toronto.

Since 1967 the International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS) has been a leading learned society for the advancement of new approaches in the study of Iranian society, history, culture, and literature. The new ISIS Iranian Studies series published by Routledge will provide a venue for the publication of original and innovative scholarly works in all areas of Iranian and Persianate Studies. 34 Iran and the Nuclear Question History and the Evolutionary Trajectory Mohammad Homayounvash 35 The True Dream An English Translation with Facing Persian Text Ali-Ashgar Seyed-Gohrab and Senn McGlinn 36 Popular Iranian Cinema before the Revolution Family and Nation in Filmfarsi Pedram Partovi 37 Persian Literature and Modernity Production and Reception Edited by Hamid Rezaei Yazdi and Arshavez Mozafari 38 Rival Conceptions of Freedom in Modern Iran An Intellectual History of the Constitutional Revolution Ahmad Hashemi 39 Iran and Palestine Past, Present, Future Seyed Ali Alavi 40 Persian Calligraphy A Corpus Study of Letterforms Mahdiyeh Meidani For more information about this series, please visit: https://www.routledge.com/ middleeaststudies/series/IRST

Persian Calligraphy A Corpus Study of Letterforms Mahdiyeh Meidani

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 Mahdiyeh Meidani The right of Mahdiyeh Meidani to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with Sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Every effort has been made to contact copyright-holders. Please advise the publisher of any errors or omissions, and these will be corrected in subsequent editions. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-0-367-20904-9 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-26404-7 (ebk) Typeset in Times New Roman by Swales & Willis, Exeter, Devon, UK

This effort is dedicated to my parents, whose being is a crown of honor on my head and whose name is a reason for being. Their endless love keeps pushing me forward all the time.

Contents

List of illustrations Foreword Preface

viii xxi xxii

1

Introduction

1

2

Corpus analysis

20

3

Graphetic analysis

39

4

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy

95

5

Holliday’s triple metafunctions: as requisite of any semiotic mode – in Nastaliq calligraphy

147

6

Toward a distinct feature analysis

249

7

Conclusion

294

References Index

320 326

Illustrations

Figures 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 3.1 3.2 3.3

Individual letterforms Second letterforms Extensive letterforms Compound forms based on convention Compound forms regardless of compositional principles Outline of the descriptive schema of SHAPE as Johannessen (2010, 2013) suggests Individual form of letter ‫ ﯽ‬/ ‫ ﻴ‬/ ‫ ﻳ‬/ ‫( ﻯ‬ye) A simple shape with only one structural variant Analysis of the form of dot, counted as an individual letterform in the corpus, based on the SHAPE system of analysis Analysis of the extensive form of letter ‫ﺳﯿﻦ‬/ [S] Outline of the ENSHAPENING system suggested by Johannessen (2010) Coordination between black positive figures with blankness that creates blank white negative figures Siyah-Mashq/black practice created (in 1926) by Mohammad Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1868–1935) Positive/conjoined/massive Positive/compound/massive Positive/conjoined/contour Positive/compound/contour An individual dotted letterform The three factors of affordance involved in the process of creating graphic forms as Johannessen (2010) suggests The mutual relation between material substance and reader/perceiver of the performance Siyah-Mashq (black practice graphed by the author), in which the letterforms are spontaneously chosen, with no predetermined plan of being literally meaningful

11 11 12 12 12 23 25 28 29 30 31 34 35 35 35 36 36 36 40 43

45

Illustrations 3.4 Different specific bodily actions (within two-time points of 1 and 2) used in performance of the letter ‫( ﺏ‬be, IPA: [b]) 3.5 The role of the body in preparation/generation of materials, tools, and conventions that contribute in performance 3.6 Contribution between the factors of affordance in performance and their final interaction with perceiver that causes communicative differences 3.7 The extensive circular form of letter ‫ﺳﯿﻦ‬/S 3.8 The single circular form of letter ‫ﻥ‬/N 3.9 A piece of Chalipa (i.e., a common compositional style in Nastaliq) graphed by Gholamhossein Amirkhani (2000, p. 35) 3.10 A single row-line with three extensive letterforms, while each letterform is placed at the same distance from the baseline, exactly tangent on the baseline 3.11 A single row-line with one extensive letterform, while the first and last letterform are placed above the baseline 3.12 A piece of Nastaliq before and after punctuation 3.13 Virtual descent 3.14 Virtual ascent 3.15 A single row-line Nastaliq by Gholamhossein Amirkhani, retrieved from Heravi, 1544, the chanting letters of Imam-Ali/ ‫ ﻋﻠﯽ ﺕ ﺣﻀﺮ ﯼ ﻧﺎﻣﻪ ﻣﻨﺎﺟﺎﺕ‬: ‫( ﻫﺮﻭﯼ ﻋﻠﯽ ﻣﯿﺮ ﺧﻂ ﺑﻪ ﺑﻪ‬2008, p. 14) 3.16 A double baseline, performed by Gholamhossein Amirkhani, retrieved from Heravi, 1544 (2008, p. 15) 3.17 A piece of Chalipa (i.e., a common style of Nastaliq composition) performed by Mir Emad Hassani Qazvini (1554–1615) 3.18 Two different ways of approaching calligraphic forms toward the assumptive baseline that result in two different overall appearances of the row-line 3.19 Individual circular forms of letters: N/‫ﻥ‬, and H/‫ﺡ‬, produced through Chalipa software 3.20 Individual form of letter B/‫ﺏ‬, created by using ink and reed pen 3.21 Performing letter ‫ﺁ‬/‫[ ﺍ‬a] through using two different reed pens (indeed with two different angles of broad-edged pen) that result in the same angle (cross-section) in the letterform in the case of using two different angles of hand movement (according to the hand comfort of the calligrapher) 3.22 Letter ‫ﺁ‬/‫[ ﺍ‬a] 3.23 The extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b] 3.24 Individual form of letter ‫ﯼ‬/[Y] performed through three movements 3.25 Measuring the form of the letter ‫ﺁ‬/‫[ ﺍ‬a] through using dot as a standard criterion/indicator 3.26 Different sectors of the Nastaliq reed pen 3.27 The back sectors of the Nastaliq reed pen

ix 49 50

51 54 54 56

56 57 57 59 59

60 61 62

63 64 65

67 68 72 73 79 80 82

x

Illustrations

3.28

3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33

4.1

4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7

4.8 4.9

4.10

4.11 4.12 4.13

Different sectors of the edge-cross of the reed pen; each area is applicable in writing particular parts of a given letterform, during the process of tracing Level L displayed in the extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b] Level “–L” Various micro events in performing the extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b] Using different sectors of the pen during tracing/performing letterforms An event composed of several tiny events produced by different hand pressures and different densities of ink over substance A piece of Poem by Hafez written in two different styles of Iranian and Indian Nastaliq, retrieved and reproduced from Zekrgoo (2005) A comparison of configuration of two words written in different styles of Nastaliq, Iranian and Indian A complex sign or a multimodal text (e.g., poster) in a specific context The interaction among writing system, social-cultural contexts, configuration of calligraphy, sign-making, and meaning-making Calligraphic form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b]. Comparison of the calligraphic forms in old and new styles of Nastaliq, retrieved and reproduced from Ansariyan (2015) Two pieces of Nastaliq calligraphy retrieved from Arbaein-eJami (Jami, 817–898 AH/1414–1492, 2010) considered as the old style of Nastaliq, scribed by Soltan-Ali Mashhadi in the ninth century AH A part of Nastaliq piece related to the old style, scribed by MirEmad-Hassani Qazvini (961–1024 AH/1554–1615 AD) A part of Nastaliq piece related to the new style, scribed by Mirza-Agha-ye-Shirazi in the thirteenth century AH, retrieved from Malek Museum Calligraphed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor (thirteenth century AH), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy A page of book Tuhfat-al-Vozara, calligraphed by Mir Emad Hassani Qazvini, Old Nastaliq style, 1005 AH A page of the book calligraphed by Gholam Hossein Amirkhani in 2008, retrieved from Heravi (1544) A leaf from the book entitled Riaz-al-Mohebbin, which was calligraphed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor and published in Tehran (1270 AH)

82 88 89 89 90

91

101 101 103 104 114 124

125 126

126

128 129 130

131

Illustrations 4.14

4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20

4.21

4.22

5.1

5.2 5.3

5.4 5.5

5.6 5.7

5.8 5.9 5.10

A leaf from the book entitled Itinerary of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar to Europe, scribed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor and published in Tehran (1306 AH) The categories of semiotic resources in social semiotics The categories of semiotic resources in the mode of Nastaliq calligraphy The definition of semiotic resources in coordination with definition of sign Using Nastaliq calligraphic forms in designing poster created by Reza Abedini (2015) Using a combination of calligraphy, image, and sculpture in environmental graphic design, created by Mehran Mozaffari Created by Fatemeh Mortezayi (2013), retrieved from the collection of “Ashura Posters with a Look at Traditional Calligraphy” Created by Fatemeh Mortezayi (2013), retrieved from the collection of “Ashura Posters with a Look at Traditional Calligraphy” Using Nastaliq calligraphic resources of Nastaliq with resources of other modes; solid/three-dimensional texture/architectural modes, created by Reza Amouzad Created by Fatemeh Mortezayi (2013), retrieved from the collection of “Ashura Posters with a Look at Traditional Calligraphy” Two ways of connectivity of the letters ‫ﺡ‬/H and ‫ﺭ‬/R in Nastaliq calligraphy Typical visual encoding of Nastaliq calligraphic forms for easy learning, retrieved and reproduced from the authors’ collection of calligraphic patterns (actual or mental) An analogic sample from the poster in Figure 5.1 Created by Mohammad Salehi (2005), retrieved from The Independent Cultural News Center of Nematollahi Gonabadi Dervishes Created by Mahdi Saeeidi (in 2007), retrieved from the collection of Oriental Design Typography Posters in Resist-art Created by Mohammad-Saeid Naghashian, retrieved from Iranian Art Gallery – The Collection of Calligraphy and Illumination (2009) Different parts of a reed pen used in Nastaliq calligraphy The classification of different sizes of pen that cause six types of calligraphy writing A piece of Quran with center and margin; the center written in Naskh calligraphy by Mohammad Hashem and the margins written in Broken Nastaliq by Abdol-Majid Taleghani in the twelfth century AH

xi

132 135 135 138 139 140

141

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142

149 151

151 153

154 154

157 161 162

163

xii 5.11

5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19

5.20

5.21 5.22

5.23 5.24 5.25 5.26

5.27 5.28

5.29

Illustrations A piece from the book of Criticism and Interpretation of the Elm-al-Olum from Qazali. Calligraphed in Naskh and Nastaliq by Ali ibn Soltan Mohhamad Qari in 1192 AH A leaf from the treatise of Ghadirieh, calligraphed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor and published in 1277 AH A piece of broken Nastaliq created in 1384 AH by Abdol-Majid Taleghani A piece of broken Nastaliq created between 1179 and 1185 AH by Abdol-Majid Taleghani A piece of Nastaliq, calligraphed with Mashqi/Practice pen, in the eleventh century AH, by Mir-Emad-Hassani Qazvini A piece of Nastaliq calligraphed in with Sarfasli/Rubric pen, in the thirteenth century AH, by Mirza-Fathali-Hejab Shirazi A verse of Quran (Qalam.4) in Nastaliq calligraphed with Jali/Majestic pen by Gholam-Hossein Amir-Khani Two verses of Quran (Alaq, 6 & 7) in Nastaliq calligraphed with Jali/Majestic pen by Abolfazl Sorur Ketabat/Scribing framing, a leaf from a book entitled The Travelogue of Nasreddin Shah Qajar to Europe, calligraphed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor and published in 1296 AH (Tehran) A leaf from the collection of poems by Habibollah Qaani (1223–1270 AH), calligraphed and published by MohammadReza Kalhor in 1274 AH A right-hand page from a double page from the book Makhzanol Enshae, calligraphed by Mohammad-Reza Kalhor in 1286 AH The schematic image of the binding page of a double page, with an odd number that is bound to the right page (e.g., in Figure 5.24) A page from Habibollah Qaani’s poetry collection, calligraphed by Mohammad-Reza Kalhor in 1274 AH Given and new applied in two hemistichs of a piece of poem A piece from Hafez’s poetry collection, Qazal 009, along with a schematic image of its setting rows The creation of Adam; detail of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, created by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Vatican City, Rome, Italy, 1511–1512 The Creation of Eve (1310–1330). Marble relief by Lorenzo Maitani, Orvieto Cathedral, Italy A piece of Nastaliq calligraphed in the format of Chalipa by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvini, in the eleventh century AH, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraph, alongside a schematic image of the Chalipa format A double-row line in Nastaliq calligraphed in 1277 AH, calligrapher: unknown

164 165 167 168 170 170 171 172

174

176 181

181 182 183 184

186 186

188 188

Illustrations xiii 5.30 5.31 5.32 5.33 5.34

5.35 5.36

5.37 5.38

5.39

5.40

5.41

5.42

5.43 5.44 5.45

5.46 5.47

A piece of Shekasteh-Nastaliq/broken Nastaliq, calligraphed in the fifteenth century AH by Mojtaba Malek-Zadeh A piece of Nastaliq (Chalipa), calligraphed by Gholamhossein Amirkhani A combined form of letters ‫ﺱ‬/s and ‫ﺁ‬/A The Ascension, attributed to Sultan Mohammad, a page from Khamseh Nezami, Tabriz (949 AH), London, British Museum A piece from Vahshi Bafqi’s poetry collection (1263 AH), retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution Calligraphed by Gholamhossein Amirkhani (2001) with a large size pen (Jali) A piece from Quran calligraphed by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvini in the eleventh century AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution, along with a schematic of its image Nastaliq piece, using the center and margin system of composition, calligraphed by Gholami, 2008 Nastaliq written in the format of inscription/epigraph calligraphed by Abd-al Rahom Isfahani, in the fourteenth century AH, Malek National Library and Museum Institution A hemistich from a poem of Kamal-al Din Mohtasham Kashani, calligraphed in epigraph format with Jali size of the pen, in the thirteenth century AH, Malek National Library and Museum Institution Parts of the Nastaliq epigraph of Charbagh school in Isfahan, calligraphed by Mohammad Saleh Isfahani in the twelfth century AH Parts of Nastaliq epigraph of mosque of Ali-Gholi Agha in Isfahan, created by Mohammad Saleh Isfahani in the twelfth century AH Parts of Nastaliq epigraph on one of the altars of the old part of the central mosque of Qazvin, related to the thirteenth century AH The Nastaliq epigraph of cove gate of Qazvin, related to the Qajar era (between the twelfth and fourteenth century AH) Mosque and school inscriptions of Sepahsalar, Tehran, calligraphed by Gholamreza Esfahani in the fourteenth century AH The colorful tiled inscriptions in Salehieh School in Qazvin. Created by Ali-Asqar Kashipaz-Qazvini, in the thirteenth century Headstone of Malek-Soltan (1348 AH), in Qazvin Museum of Stone and Pottery A piece of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq/black practice, calligraphed by Mir-Hossein Khoshnevis in 1288 AH

190 191 191 192

193 194

195 196

197

198

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198

199 200 201

202 203 204

xiv Illustrations 5.48 5.49 5.50 5.51 5.52 5.53 5.54

5.55 5.56

5.57 5.58 5.59 5.60 5.61 5.62 5.63 5.64 5.65 5.66 5.67 5.68

Two pieces of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq, calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD) A piece of Siyah-Mashq calligraphed by Mohammad-Reza Kalhor (1829–1892 AD) A piece of Siyah-Mashq calligraphed by Mohammad-Ali Sedighi Calligraphed by Gholam-Reza Isfahani (1300 AH), retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution Two pieces of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq, calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD) A piece of Siyah-Mashq (multidimensional form), created in 1240 AH A piece of Siyah-Mashq (multidimensional form) in ShekastehNastaliq, calligraphed by Abd-al-Majid Taleghani (in the twelfth century AH) Calligraphed by Reza Shekh-Pour, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Siyah-Mashq of Nastaliq in the multi-size form, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Created by Mirza Gholamreza Isfahani, in 1303 AH. Iran Decoration Arts Museum in Tehran Siyah-Mashq/black practice created by Mohammad Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1868–1935) Using Siyah-Mashq as embellishment, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Created by Hassan Ahangaran, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Two row-lines made of the same letters/words that are performed with two different detailed compositions Two calligraphic pieces in Toqra and Reqa, calligraphed in 1325 AH, by Hassan Hosseini A piece of calligraphy in Toqra and Thuluth, created in the fourteenth century AH A calligraphic piece in Muthanna made by Uthman Ozchay/ Turkey A calligraphic piece in Muthanna calligraphed by Mustafa Halim/Turkey Besmelah in Thuluth calligraphy in the format of Mosalsal, calligraphed by Ahmad Ghare-Hesari Muthalthal/Mosalsal style of writing, calligraphed by Habibollah Fazaeli (1971) Siyah-Mashq in Nastaliq calligraphed by Ali Shirazi

205 206 207 208 208 209

209 210

210 211 212 212 213 214 216 216 217 217 218 218 219

Illustrations xv 5.69 5.70

5.71 5.72

5.73

5.74

5.75

5.76

5.77

5.78 5.79 5.80

5.81 5.82 5.83 5.84

5.85

Cabochon-inlaying/Morasae method, with a detail of its margin, created in 1007 AH by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvini Flourished method of decoration in Nastaliq, created in 1336 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution Note the delicate elements used for embellishment A page of Tohfat al-Moluk, calligraphed in 1019 AH, by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvin, from the library of the Golestan Palace, n. 678 A piece of Shekasteh Nastaliq, using the curly balloons around the row-lines highlights the calligraphic forms (text) and helps them to be displayed as more dynamic, light, and rotational Using jagged balloon-shapes around the lines levels the row-lines and creates a kind of uniformity all over the page. A page of book Tohfatol-Vozara A piece of Shakaste-Nastaliq created in 12018 AH by Safi. Using rosette clouds around the row-lines highlights calligraphic forms and creates a private territory specifically for the calligraphic text A piece of Shakasteh Nastaliq created in 1290 AH by Habib Mashhadi. The rosette clouds connect calligraphic texts to each other and create two distinct domains in the page, the domain of calligraphic text and the domain of background A piece of Shakasteh-Nastaliq created in 1192 AH by Mohammad Shafi Heravi. The clouds and balloons traced around every individual phrase of the text represent a sense of segmentation, as well as lightness and suspension, rather than connection A piece of Shekasteh-Nastaliq, created in 1192 AH by Mohammad Shafi Heravi A piece of a poem written in Shekasteh-Nastaliq, created in 1342 AH A page of Nastaliq calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani, reproduced by adding declension signs in the original page A page of the Quran, calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Karimi Noureyni Goodarzi Scaling/measuring the letterforms in Nastaliq with the dot as a criterion/yardstick Form of dot in Nastaliq diagramed with its trace movement Examples of Nastaliq calligraphic forms with and without using the dot, reproduced from the calligraphic works by GholamHossein Amirkhani Using different baseline in the same work. Nastaliq pieces calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani

220

220 220

221

222

223

224

225

225 226 226

228 228 230 231

232 233

xvi Illustrations 5.86 5.87 5.88 5.89 5.90 5.91 5.92 5.93 5.94

5.95 5.96 5.97 5.98

5.99 5.100 5.101 5.102

6.1

6.2

Using different baseline in a Nastaliq Siyah-Mashq, calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani A piece of Shekasteh Nastaliq, calligraphed in the thirteenth century AH by Mohammad-Ghasem Najafi Isfahani Using baselines in different directions in Shekasteh Nastaliq. Calligraphed by Abdolmajid Taleghani in 1179 AH A piece of Nastaliq using different baselines. Calligraphed by Gholamreza Isfahani in 1342 AH Using different sizes of pen in a Nastaliq piece, calligraphed by Mir-Ali Heravi (939 AH) A Nastaliq piece using different sizes of pen, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Nastaliq using different tonalities of ink, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy A page from Arbaein-e-Jami (Chehel Hadith) (817–898 AH/ 1414–1492), calligraphed by Sultan Ali Mashhadi Calligraphed by Mir-Ali Heravi (939 AH), retrieved from Chanting letters of Imam Ali, calligraphed with Mir-Ali Heravi (939 AH) A piece from Vahshi Bafqi’s poetry collection (1263 AH) A Persian miniature retrieved from The Artistic Reference of Ligheh Classification of the three types of resources in Nastaliq calligraphy: ideational, interpersonal, and textual resources A schematic recapitulation of the pathway – based on multimodal social semiotics – through which I approached Nastaliq calligraphy A schematic of classical Persian poetry Buddhist Painting, Fourteenth Century, Tibet A page from Talmud in Hebrew, retrieved from Tehran Jewish Committee (Iran) A page from Manzoome Shatebi, written by MohammadGhasem Shatebi in Arabic, calligraphed in Naskh by Mahmudal Nasir Tusi in 772 AH A piece of Quran written in Nastaliq calligraphy; note the punctuation elements. Regardless of the content of the text written, the specific punctuation used in Arabic scripts is imported into Persian Nastaliq calligraphic forms. If we drop all declension elements/punctuation which characterize Arabic scripts, we would to a great extent wipe out the explicit distinctive characteristic of Arabic script for the written text A piece of Nastaliq calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani; note the composition and the way of framing that recalls the framing and compositional style used in old genealogy and pedigree texts

233 233 234 235 237 237 238 239

239 240 240 241

243 246 246 247

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251

252

Illustrations 6.3 A genealogy piece calligraphed in Reqa calligraphy in accordance with the commandment of Shah Suleiman Safavi 6.4 A piece of Nastaliq calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani; note the way of framing that connotes the compositional style used in old genealogy and pedigree texts 6.5 A piece of Persian literature (in format of Nasr) calligraphed in Nastaliq by Mohammadreza Kalhor (thirteenth century AH) 6.6 A piece of Persian Poetry (in format of Nazm), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy 6.7 Using Siyah-Mashq/black practice to create poster entitled the body, created by Reza Abedini (2015) 6.8 Two pieces of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq, calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD), from his collection entitled The Works of the Days of Prison 6.9 The relation and association of the different concepts of the chapters 6.10 Individual forms of letters ‫ﺍ‬/‫[ ﺁ‬a] and ‫[ ﺩ‬d]. Compare the two letterforms in terms of the extent of their stability or equivalency and balance toward the baseline 6.11 The compound forms of two letters that achieve a great level of balance in comparison to the compound letter forms in Figure 6.12 6.12 The compound forms of letters that achieve a low level of balance in comparison to the compound letter forms in Figure 6.11 6.13 The same compound letterforms with different kinds of punctuation, retrieved from (2014, p. 40) 6.14 Two rows written in the same words with different kinds of punctuation, retrieved from Pakrad (2014, p. 35) 6.15 Balance and equilibrium achieved in overall composition in a piece of Siyah-Mashq, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy 6.16 Instability in overall composition of a piece of Siyah-Mashq created by Mohammad-Reza Kalhor, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy 6.17 A double-row composition, retrieved from (2014, p. 55) 6.18 A double-row composition, calligraphed by Karamali Shirazi, retrieved from A Selection of Daftar-e Danayi (The Lyrical Poems of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh) 6.19 Symmetry in a calligraphic piece of Muthanna, calligraphed by Mustafa Halim/Turkey, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy 6.20 An example of symmetry in a double-row composition 6.21 An example of asymmetry feature in double-row composition

xvii 253

254 255

256 257

257 259

260

260

261 261 262

262

263 263

264

266 267 267

xviii Illustrations 6.22 6.23 6.24 6.25 6.26 6.27

6.28

6.29

6.30

6.31 6.32 6.33

6.34 6.35

6.36

6.37 6.38 6.39

6.40

Irregularity appears in a piece of Nastaliq, retrieved from (2014, p. 57) Piece of Siyah-Mashq/black practice presenting a kind of irregularity in Nastaliq. Calligraphed by Hassan Ahangaran Two compound letterforms combined regardless of conventional rules of juxtaposition in Nastaliq Piece of Chalipa/cross scribing based on regular principles of juxtaposition and composition in Nastaliq Extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b]. Note various fragments/ movements created during performance Piece of Nastaliq with diverse individual and compound forms making an integrated whole, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Piece of Shekasteh-Nastaliq by Mohammad-Shafi Heravi, in 1192 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution Intricacy and simplicity represented in two pieces of Nastaliq made of same calligraphic forms with two different ways of composition Piece of Siyah-Mashq, representing frugality. Calligraphed by Ali-Shirazi, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Piece of Siyah-Mashq representing indulgence, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Overstating letter ‫[ ﻥ‬N] in a piece of Nastaliq Piece of Nastaliq, representing overstatement and understatement through distribution of calligraphic forms along a circular form as well as using different scale of pen, and various density of tone of ink Piece of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq, by MohammadHossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD) Extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b]. Note various events in the natural process happened along the letterform that represents a kind of predictability and naturality A compound form made of four letters. Note the number of ink-remediation during performance representing a natural and standard event/feature in calligraphic form Pieces of Nastaliq with different levels of agility/activity Two rows of Nastaliq, with same letters but different accents Representing opacity or obscurity through Savad and Bayaz (blackness and blankness) in Siyah-Mashq/black practice. Calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861– 1936 AD) Representing transparency and obscurity through overlapping letterforms, as well as using different tones of ink

268 269 269 270 271

271

272

273

275 275 276

276 278

278

279 280 281

282 282

Illustrations 6.41

Consistency and conversion represented in two pieces of Nastaliq calligraphy Nastaliq page calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani in 2008 Piece of Nastaliq made with different tones of colors Distortion caused through using a specific and creative type of framing and linage. Page from a book in 1342 AH Singularity in three works of calligraphy, retrieved and reproduced from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy. Profoundness in three calligraphic works, achieved through using different tones of ink, various scales of pen, as well as repetition and overlapping calligraphic forms Characteristic of flatness represented in a page calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani in 2008 Sequentiality represented in two works; Shekasteh-Nastaliq/ broken-Nastaliq created by Abdolmajid Taleghani (in 1172 AH) Randomness represented in two works created by Abdolmajid Taleghani (in 1184 AH) Sharpness and bluntness caused through different levels of sharpness of pen-edge and density of ink Continuity/durability displayed in a part of Siyah-Mashq through repetition of letterforms. Calligraphed by MohammadHossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD) Piece of Shekasteh-Nastaliq, by Abdolmajid Taleghani (in 1184 AH), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Augmentation and diminution represented in two rows of Nastaliq made of the same letterforms

6.42 6.43 6.44 6.45

6.46

6.47 6.48 6.49 6.50 6.51

6.52

6.53

xix 283 284 285 286

286

287 288 289 289 290

291

292 293

Tables 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9

19 individual letterforms + dot + 4 extensive forms 18 second letterforms/sole letterforms 15 compounded forms based on principles of implementation 15 compounded forms regardless of principles of implementation 247 compounded letterforms (combination of individual letters two by two based on compositional principles of Nastaliq) Average total results of all 300 images in the corpus 19 individual letterforms + dot + 4 extensive forms 18 second letterforms/sole letterforms 15 compounded forms based on principles of implementation

25 26 26 27 27 28 32 32 33

xx Illustrations 2.10 15 compounded forms regardless of principles of implementation 2.11 247 compounded letterforms (combination of individual letters two by two, according to compositional principles of Nastaliq) 2.12 Average total result of all the 300 images in the corpus

33 33 33

Foreword

This study was originally accepted as a doctoral dissertation (PhD) by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Tübingen (Germany), in the winter term 2017/18.

Preface

This book is the result of my research at the Institute of Media Studies, University of Tübingen, 2013–2017. However, its subject matter goes back much further and involves many people without whom it would never have come into being, and to whom I would like to express my gratitude. My warmest thanks go to my parents and siblings, who opened my eyes to the delights of art, especially calligraphy. I treasure all my childhood memories of the days spent in painting and penmanship practice with a pile of papers, pens, and ink. Here shaped the worlds in my mind and started my fascination with calligraphic forms and their power to convert inert letters into eye-catching images, a fascination which is also settled at the heart of this research. I am very grateful to Professor Klaus Sachs-Hombach for all his valuable help and support in carrying out this study. I am also sincerely grateful to Professor Jürg Häusermann, who was always affable and kind in helping me during my study. Special gratitude goes to Professor Stefan Zauner for giving me this opportunity to pursue my academic goal. My deep gratitude goes to Professor Christian Mosbæk Johannessen for his inspiring discussions on visual communication, for kindly answering my questions and advising me during my stay at University of Southern Denmark in 2014 and 2015. My heartfelt gratitude goes to Professor Theo Jacob Van Leeuwen; I am likewise indebted to him for all his encouragement and advice, as well as his many inspiring and splendid works on multimodality and social semiotics. Many thanks are also due to the University of Tübingen for financial support and to staff, friends, and colleagues for their unceasing support and patience.

1

Introduction

Today, in the age of communication, people are surrounded by new media: “screen media such as the internet have become more and more oriented toward the written word and page media such as books and magazines have become increasingly visual” (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 142). Indeed, there is a move toward a new look at, and new roles for, visual images in general, a movement associated with the notion that “Gestaltung ist auch Information [design is also information]” (Hans-Rudolf Lutz, 1987, p. 81 in Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 142). Given this, among different visual phenomena in the area of visual art, calligraphy in general, and Persian Nastaliq calligraphy in particular (which is the main subject of this study), can no longer be seen as an abstract art; it influences not only visual artists, designers, and calligraphers, but also writers, linguists, and visual communicators. Today, although every field of art or science is becoming more specialized and independent in its own right, the borders between different fields are becoming blurred, and everything is changing. Nastaliq calligraphy, as a tradition that has been ongoing from ancient times to the present, has faced different challenges in terms of historical, social, and cultural issues. Nastaliq calligraphy has been used in many different areas and formats, including religious inscriptions on the facade of temples and mosques, scribing the Quran and verses of holy books, poetry and fictional literature, stereoplates or print clichés, and in the lithography, lineament, and layout of books and magazines. Furthermore, it has appeared in the calligrammes and three-dimensional artifacts of the graphic urban environment of the contemporary art era, in graphic works such as logos and posters, and in today’s technological era in screen media such as the internet. Thus, Nastaliq has been challenged in many ways over time. Although it has retained its traditional principles, it handsomely embraced all changes caused by time and place. These changes expand the scope of Nastaliq’s potential for use as a systematic means in the field of visual communication, rather than as a one-dimensional and ad hoc means of providing visual beauty and aesthetic enjoyment. Therefore, it cannot be considered only a submissive abstract art assigned to serve writing and linguistic practices. Instead, hypothetically, calligraphy can be considered a visual communicative system with different

2

Introduction

means of meaning-making or as a medium through which meaning is made and expression is conveyed via a complex grammar. The various aspects of this expressive phenomenon present a range of potential approaches, whether in the area of fine arts or media and visual communications. The multi-dimensional character of this calligraphy type, from its creation to its heyday, presents unprecedented complexity for analysis. The similarities and differences between Nastaliq and other types of visual arts and communication systems offer a multitude of factors and resources of this calligraphy in the construction of meaning. The stable yet dynamic principles of Nastaliq imbue it with the potential for a variety of applications in different communicative situations. It is characterized by flexibility, softness, and at the same time systematic and regular motions, as well as a stable and dignified composition, which taken together function as an elegant synchronic whole. These concurrent characteristics expand the scope of Nastaliq’s potential for use as a systematic means in the visual communication field, rather than as a one-dimensional and ad hoc means of providing visual beauty and aesthetic enjoyment. However, historically, Nastaliq calligraphy has been viewed through a onedimensional lens and considered an abstract art that has been ceaselessly tied to language and literature, a means which serves to transmit information, not distinctly as information in its own right. It has never been examined beyond visual art and aesthetic practices, never been seen as a self-determining system which itself is considered to be information in its own visual appearance, independent of meanings embedded in linguistic practices. It has always been examined and characterized based on linguistic meaning or the given information transmitted through letters. In other words, its personality has always been defined as subordinate to language and its conventional meanings. This study approaches Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms in a different way. It emphasizes the way in which letterforms, regardless of conventions in language, are applied as graphically meaningful forms that convey individual distinct meanings. In other words, the study investigates Nastaliq letterforms as independent graphic phenomena that visually communicate messages independent of linguistic meanings. It attempts to defamiliarize calligraphy, especially Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms, and to look beyond the tradition that has always considered calligraphy as pursuant to and subordinate to linguistic practices.

Background As a prerequisite for entering the main discussions of the study, here I present background on current research related to the subject matter of this study – though not directly addressing calligraphy – as well as previous research on Islamic calligraphy in general and Nastaliq in particular; I also provide concise historical background of calligraphy, especially Nastaliq in Iran, from its emergence to its heyday.

Introduction

3

Current state of research Works on Western typography have regarded typography in general in different ways, such as the works by Stöckl (2005), Van Leeuwen (2006), Nørgaard (2009), Serafini et al. (2012) and before them, the works of linguistics such as Myers (1994), Goodman and Graddol (1996), Walker (2000), and Cook (2001). Studies have also mentioned attempts by some designers to distinguish typography from linguistic practices; for instance, Bellantoni and Woolman (2000), as quoted in Van Leeuwen (2006), particularly say that a printed word conveys meaning on the two levels of “word image” and “typographic image” which, respectively, suggest “the idea of represented by the word itself” and “the holistic visual impression” of the given word. McLean (2000) also mentions typography and lettering that “to a very limited extent, … may help to express a feeling or a mood that is in harmony with the meaning of the words,” although he mentions that it is still an abstract art for the most part (McLean, 2000, pp. 54–56). German designer Neuenschwander (1993) considers typography to be “a fully developed medium of expression” that has “a complex grammar by which communication is possible” (Neuenschwander, 1993, p. 13, 31, in Van Leeuwen, p. 142). Reza Abedini, an Iranian designer, has also attempted to demonstrate this idea in his artworks to defamiliarize calligraphy and typography and present them apart from linguistic practices and literal meanings; in explaining his exhibitions entitled “callidrawing” in 2015, for instance, he writes: “do not try to read these words, these are the words to be unread” (Abedini, 2015). Some researchers have examined the relationship between image and text. For instance, Martinec and Salway (2005) suggest a semantic functional system that classifies the relationship between image and text in terms of “the dependency relations between image and word” (Martinec & Salway, 2005, in Jewitt, 2009, p. 18). They theorize that inter-semiotic resources explain how different semiotic resources are integrated into image, texts, and letterforms. Despite these attempts, this move in general is still at the beginning and no principled grammar or systematic framework exists through which to analyze typographic works. Regarding Islamic calligraphy and especially Nastaliq Persian calligraphy, this view itself is new, an unprecedented consideration, and a daring enterprise. No substantial academic work has been performed on Persian Nastaliq calligraphic works, which are still considered to be an abstract art through which knowledge is transmitted in an exquisite and picturesque way. Previous research on Islamic calligraphy in general and Nastaliq calligraphy in particular The overwhelming majority of research on Islamic calligraphy, especially Nastaliq calligraphy, is limited to the history of calligraphy, biography of calligraphers, and calligraphy training. No substantial or challenging research has

4

Introduction

been conducted on the identity or nature of the form of calligraphy itself and its conventional principles and no studies have analyzed the visual character of calligraphy in an academic way or considered it as a research subject in its own right. Thus, Nastaliq is somehow secluded in terms of being regarded as a self-determining system of meaning or a distinctive subject in its own right. Many studies conducted in Iran have examined calligraphy, especially with a historical approach. Within these studies, many works with a historical approach have examined calligraphy from its beginning through its development during different historical periods (e.g., Bayani, 1984b; Ghelichkhani, 1993; Irani, 1983; Kavousi et al., 2013; Ormavi, 2006; Salouti, 2003; Shahroudi, 2008). Also, numerous studies in Iran have been published on the biography of calligraphers (e.g., Bayani, 1984a; Fazaeli, 1977, 1983[1973]; Isfahani, 1990; Rahjiri, 2010). In addition, some researchers have presented dissertations on the principles of calligraphy from past to present (e.g., Barat Zadeh, 2006; Falsafi, 2000; Ghazi Monshi, 1988; Ormavi, 2006). These works include deductive studies that are useful for calligraphers. Moreover, some calligraphic researchers have analyzed calligraphy using a comparative approach; they have examined calligraphy in terms of its relationship to other fields of arts (e.g., Eghbal, 1990; Meidani, 2008). Other scholars (e.g., Aghdashloo, 2006; Bolkhari, 2006) have considered calligraphy from the perspective of mysticism, theosophy, or theology. In some countries (e.g., Turkey), Mustafa Uğur Derman (1998) has investigated different calligraphies, including Thuluth, and his research has been published by Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture. Muhammad al Saleh Khomasi’s (1910–1992) book entitled ‫ﺍﻟﻤﻨﻬﺞ ﺍﻟﺤﺪﯾﺚ ﻟﺘﺤﺴﯿﻦ ﺍﻟﺨﻂ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺑﯽ‬/ Modern approach to improve calligraphy is considered the main resource for teaching calligraphy in Tunisia and other countries in northern Africa. Naji Zein al Din published works such as ‫( ﻣﺼﻮﺭ ﺍﻟﺨﻂ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺑﻲ‬1968, Bagdad) and ‫ﺑﺪﺍﺋﻊ ﺍﻟﺨﻂ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺑﻲ‬ (1971, Baghdad), and Kamil Al-Baba is the author of ‫ﺭﻭﺡ ﺍﻟﺨﻂ ﺍﻟﻌﺮﺑﻲ‬/The spirit of Arabic calligraphy (1994, Beirut). In Pakistan and India, researchers such as Muhammad Rashed Sheikh, author of the book Biography of Calligraphers/ ‫( ﺗﺬﮐﺮﻩ ﺧﻄﺎﻃﺎﻥ‬Karachi, 1998), and Seyed Ahmad Rampuri, author of the books ‫( ﺧﻂ ﮐﯽ ﮐﻬﺎﻧﯽ ﺗﺼﻮﯾﺮﻭﻥ ﮐﯽ ﺯﺑﺎﻧﯽ‬2003, Rampur) and ‫ﻣﺮﻗﻊ ﺧﻮﺷﻨﻮﯾﺴﺎﻥ‬/Scrapbook of calligraphers (2007, Rampur) have worked on the history of calligraphy and the biography of calligraphers. In the twentieth century, some research on Islamic arts, including Islamic calligraphy, addressed the styles of Islamic calligraphies and Arabic scripts (e.g., Blair, 2006; Mandel Khan, 2001; Schimmel, 1990) (Aghdashloo, 2013, pp. 169–171). A brief historical background of calligraphy in Iran Before the advent of Islam, Iranians used different styles of writing, such as cuneiform, Pahlavi scripts, and Avestan scripts. As they accepted Islam, they also accepted the Arab language and started to write the Persian language in

Introduction

5

Arabic scripts. After that, Iran’s main scripts were gradually forgotten and the Arabic alphabet became the base of current Iranian scripts. Arabic script is about 15 centuries old; that is, it emerged about a century before the advent of Islam. This is confirmed by two Coptic and Syriac scripts. The Kufic and ancient Naskh forms became the main Arabic scripts. In the early days of Islam, both Kufic and Naskh were common; Kufic was used to write the Quran, inscriptions, cornices, and epigraphs, and Naskh served for other books and letters. Until the second century )AH), these two types of calligraphy remained basic and primitive. However, when they became common among other Islamic nations such as Iran, other types of writing were gradually enacted from them. As Salouti (2003) asserts, by the end of the second century, calligraphy had not yet prospered and it was not specifically enacted. During the Abbasid caliphate (in the eighth century AD), the Barmakid, an Iranian family influential in the court of the Islamic caliphate, attempted to promote Islamic calligraphy. Also, in the period of Ibn Muqla Shirazi) 886–940 AD), the Persian minister of the Abasid Caliphate, calligraphy was considered and formally named calligraphy. Ibn Muqla Shirazi was a pioneer in promoting the art of calligraphy as one of the most beautiful manifestations in the Islamic civilization. A century later, Ibn al-Bawwab developed and completed what Ibn Muqla started; calligraphy evolved over two centuries to when it came to Yaghoot-Mostasami, who distinguished and limited different types of Islamic writing into six types of calligraphy. His six pens, or the Pens of Principle, combine six types of calligraphy: Thuluth, Reyhan, Mohaqaq, Toqi, Reqa, and Naskh (Fazaeli, 1983[1973]; Kavousi et al., 2013; Salouti, 2003; Shahroudi, 2008). The time between the eighth and tenth centuries AH is considered to be the brilliant era of progress and development of Islamic calligraphy, so that the perfection and beauty of this art was brought to almost all cultural communities. In this period, kings and monarchs paid special attention to calligraphy and did not hesitate to encourage and foster calligraphers. Even some monarchs were well-known calligraphers.1 During the eighth century AH, three types of calligraphy appeared among the Islamic calligraphies that must be considered specifically as Iranian. Although they were derived from the Arabic alphabet, their shape and composition differ from Arabic calligraphy and, according to scholars such as Salouti (2003), their composition and circulation of letters are very similar to ancient Persian types of writing, such as Avestan and Pahlavi. These three types of calligraphy are Taliq, Nastaliq, and Shekasteh. The basis and emergence of Nastaliq calligraphy According to Shahroudi (2008), Nastaliq calligraphy in Iran first appeared in the sixth century AH (12th–13th AD), developed its maturity and sophistication in the eighth century AH (13th–14th AD), and manifested its integrity and perfection in the eleventh century AH (16th–17th AD). In the second half of

6

Introduction

the eighth century AH, after the formation of Taliq, Iranians created another kind of calligraphy by considering Naskh and Taliq, a calligraphy which has neither the sluggish characteristics of Naskh nor the defects of Taliq. In this respect, Nastaliq is a calligraphy without excess or waste in its form; this is the characteristic that distinguishes it from the rigid and solid form of Naskh and the loose and free form in Taliq, making Nastaliq a disciplined, stable, and yet harmonic and delicate calligraphy. In essence, Nastaliq employs a specific and regular size of the forms. In Nastaliq, the pen moves more freely than in Naskh and at the same time it is more regulated than in Taliq. Nastaliq, which is considered the bride of Islamic calligraphies, is the most elegant and precise Iranian calligraphy, in which more than three-quarters of Iranian texts since the beginning of the ninth century AH (14th–15th AD) have been written (Salouti, 2003, pp. 15–18; Shahroudi, 2008, pp. 33–35). Mir-Ali-Tabrizi (1360–1420 AD) is the first person who disciplined Nastaliq and distinguished it as a distinctive type of calligraphy (Kavousi et al., 2013; Salouti, 2003; Shahroudi, 2008; Velayati, 2012). Nastaliq has been periodically enacted and developed over three centuries and although calligraphers in other Islamic nations such as India and Egypt have used it, they never reached a high level of progress and perfection in these three types of calligraphy (Salouti, 2003, p. 21, 39). Although most of the treatises about the foundation of Nastaliq have mentioned that it was created in the eighth century AH, according to Salouti (2003) and Shahroudi (2008), traces of this type of writing are found in the sixth century AH. Because we cannot attribute the invention and formation of a specific writing to one specific person and period, it is not rational to believe that Nastaliq was invented by one person at one specific time. Rather, each style or type of writing and calligraphy, especially Nastaliq with its high level of elegance and intricacies in terms of visuality and aesthetics, has been formed gradually through the efforts and practices of many people in the context of historical vicissitudes. As Salouti (2003) states, evidence demonstrates that the appearance of Nastaliq goes back to the fourth century AH when Ibn Muqla Shirazi (886–940 AD), who is known as the inventor of the six pens, resided in Fars as a governor on behalf of the Abbasids and, in addition to governing, taught calligraphy and copied the Quran. A Quran written in the fourth century in Fars by Ibn Muqla-Shirazi with Persian translation is written in a kind of primary Nastaliq and now resides in the Darolmaktab of Cairo. Salouti (2003) indicates that in the fourth century AH, Nastaliq was in common use as the first kind of Iranian calligraphy in the region of Fars, though we cannot state by whom it was created for the first time2 (Salouti, 2003, p. 21). In Iran, the resurgence and flourishing of calligraphy occurred in the thirteenth century AH and several of the greatest calligraphers emerged in this period, including Mirza-Gholamreza-Isfahani, Mohammad-Reza-Kalhor, and Emad al Ketab Qazvini. The main calligraphies in Iran are still Nastaliq and Naskh; for example, the Quran is written in Naskh. The other types of

Introduction

7

calligraphy, such as Thuluth, Mohaghegh, and Reyhan, have no grand masters, though they have experienced a small resurgence in some areas because of those who practice and copy from the old inscriptions. For example, Shekasteh-Nastaliq, or broken Nastaliq, was restored through a small group of calligraphers, although it was an unpopular style of writing even in its time of restoration and only used for writing poetry books and letters; it has fancier and more artistic aspects than Nastaliq. At any rate, as Aghdashloo (2013) asserts, calligraphy in Iran has always followed two parallel paths; one involves art and aesthetics, and the other relates to the practical side and calligraphy’s use in the dissemination of knowledge (pp. 127–128). Generally, calligraphy in the contemporary era is a kind of continuous tradition tied to Islamic social and national culture over time. The last generation of calligraphers used calligraphy only for writing press ads, store facades, identity cards, and wedding or funeral invitations; therefore, by the end of the fourteenth century AH, there was an ongoing decline in the use of calligraphy that served to strengthen its aesthetic aspects. Thus, calligraphy can be seen as a never-ending tradition which is continuously transforming without essentially becoming unviable (Aghdashloo, 2013, pp. 128–131; Salouti, 2003, pp. 18–20; Shahroudi, 2008, pp. 33–35). However, with heightened attention to Islamic culture and Islamic identity, calligraphy, like miniature painting, was used as the main tool in a renewal of Islamic culture. In Iran, after the movement of Saqqakhaneh3 in painting, the movement of painting-calligraphy4 emerged. Such cultural revival and change across the Muslim world in countries such as Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt caused a change in all cultural fields, sometimes as a fundamental and radical return to traditions and sometimes through middle solutions, such as specific interactions between painting and calligraphy – demonstrated in painting-calligraphy – and innovations in the composition of letters that are all done through applying calligraphy. In general, modern calligraphy works that might fundamentally clash with the traditions of calligraphy – and freely break the common substance and conventional compositions of the traditions of calligraphy – today are alive and thriving in tandem with traditional calligraphy.

Aims and objectives The main purpose of the research is to investigate the extent of functionality of calligraphic letterforms and their independence from language to make individual distinct meanings beyond linguistic practices and conventional meanings embedded in language. Using different insights of multimodal social semiotics and relying on the findings of a corpus study of Persian Nastaliq calligraphy, this study analyzes calligraphic letterforms for their degree of independence from language to make autonomous sense as visual graphic forms, regardless of conventional meanings embedded in linguistic practices. From a multimodal social semiotics perspective, I attempt to assay calligraphy in general and Nastaliq calligraphy in particular, not to be

8

Introduction

viewed merely as visual abstract art or a sub-branch of the fine arts, nor as a timeworn phenomenon in an obscure corner of the arts, but as an autonomous self-determining system that has been shaped in a specific social context with its own specific rules and principles in meaning-making. In short, this study starts a new discussion on how Nastaliq calligraphy can function as a distinct system of meaning-making, how it can be considered beyond the purely aesthetic rules used in visual fine arts, and how it creates potential meanings through its own specific systematic grammar. In addition, identifying Nastaliq articulation and extracting a complex grammar for it, using the theory of multimodal social semiotics, provides an occasion for assaying it and identifying its advantages and facilities as well as its defects and deficiencies. Accordingly, it can open a new perspective for researchers to develop this theory and resolve its limitations and shortcomings. This study also aims to present a multimodal tentative approach to corpusbased studies of calligraphic letterforms by applying a descriptive schema with two synchronic systems, SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, as Johannessen (2010, 2013) suggests. This approach is consistent with the fractal-derived principle of self-similarity and adequately accounts for graphic forms in the abstract letter shapes of Nastaliq calligraphy. It takes a multimodal perspective and explores how the descriptive schematic for graphic forms suggested by Johannessen (2010, 2013) can be applied in a corpus-based study of calligraphic letterforms in visual communication. It also describes how applying this scheme to traditional theories of implementation in Nastaliq can be meaningful via new theories used in graphic phenomena. Furthermore, based on the theory of articulatory graphetics (Johannessen, 2010), the study opens a discussion of how characteristics of calligraphic letterforms in Nastaliq are analogous to the universal set of graphic features; consequently, Nastaliq in general terms can be defined as an independent visual graphic form. Research questions The specific scope of interest in the study revolves around calligraphic letterforms of Nastaliq and can be summarized in the following research questions: (i) To what extent do calligraphic letterforms conform to the universal set of graphic features, conventions, and theories applied to graphic forms to understand the extent to which calligraphic letterforms can be considered to be autonomous visual graphic forms in their own right, independent of conventional meanings in language? (ii) How can traditional notions of the implementation in Nastaliq, such as Circle and Plane (the balance between circles and planes in letterforms) and Savad and Bayaz (the proportion of blackness and blankness in letterforms), be explained by applying theories and systems of analysis, particularly those used to analyze graphic phenomena?

Introduction

9

(iii) How can Nastaliq be identified as a distinct mode of semiotics with its own specific principles and characteristics, independent of the linguistic practices (which are traditionally) embedded in language? Hypothesis This study is based on the following assumptions: (i) Calligraphic letterforms can be considered and understood as autonomous visual forms independent of the linguistic practices in which they are (traditionally seen as) embedded. (ii) Calligraphic letterforms can be characterized by the general descriptive scheme applied to graphic elements and thus are analogous to the universal set of graphic features. (iii) The potential of the suppositions of Circle and Plane – in Nastaliq – authentically manifest in calligraphic letterforms by applying the SHAPE system of analysis used for graphic forms. (iv) Savad and Bayaz, as a traditional notion in Nastaliq calligraphy, is well explained by applying the ENSHAPENING system. (v) Calligraphic conventions, which emerged from Nastaliq calligraphic practices over centuries, conform to graphical conventions that have emerged from graphic acts over time. That is, the calligraphic practices that create calligraphic conventions (i.e., constraint articulation of calligraphy) conform to graphic acts that create conventions and constrain graphic articulation. (vi) Nastaliq calligraphy can be explained as an independent system of meaning in its own articulation and specifically be considered as a distinct semiotic mode composed of different modal resources – each considered a communicative act – with distinct potentials in meaning-making. Structure of the study This study is conducted in five phases. Regardless of letterforms’ conventional (lexical) meanings in language, the first step is to unleash the letterforms from conventional signifier–signified and embedded meanings in language and accept them as communicative visual forms, like graphic forms. In the first step, I adopt a trimmed version of the descriptive scheme proposed by Johannessen (2010), which approaches shapes descriptively to distinguish graphic meanings. The schematic is oriented toward graphology, which studies “abstract potential for distinguishing graphic meaning” (Johannessen, 2013, p. 157). In this step, a corpus of Nastaliq calligraphy is approached through both SHAPE and ENSHAPENING. Through these systems, we can distinguish graphic forms from other visual forms as filters or strainers that purify graphic characteristics by rendering shapes into visual forms. They can also describe how the traditional theories of Circle and Plane

10 Introduction and Svad and Bayaz in Nastaliq can be meaningful and authentic in calligraphic letterforms. The first step is accompanied by another step in which visual forms are examined for “possibility space for graphic articulatory dynamics including affordances of the body, graphic tools and substance” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 157). That is, one must prove that letterforms in Nastaliq calligraphy are comparable to graphic signs or whether the basic set of conventions underlying graphic forms manifests in the calligraphic forms of Nastaliq. This complementary step is carried out after the corpus study in the third chapter of the book, through “articulatory graphetics” as Johannessen (2010, 2013) suggests. At the third step, I approach Nastaliq calligraphy from the perspective of multimodal social semiotics and describe the process of meaning-making through identifying its semiotic resources, based on the four interconnected theoretical assumptions of multimodality (Bezemer & Jewitt, 2010; Jewitt, 2009; Kress & Van Leeuwen, 1996, 2001, 2002). Relying on Halliday’s metafunction theory of language, in the fourth step, I apply three metafunctions (i.e., ideational, interpersonal, and textual) in Nastaliq and examine how these three metafunctions are realized through different resources in Nastaliq. In the light of multimodal social semiotics, this step is accompanied by the fifth phase in which I attempt to characterize distinctive features of semiotic resources of Nastaliq calligraphy to look for its meaning potentials. In other words, the distinctive characteristics of the semiotic resources of Nastaliq calligraphy as a mode must be separately identified while their different expressive functions and communicative potentials are being specified.

Experimental materials, the images of corpus, and sampling approach The study is conducted on a large corpus of letterforms from a popular form in Persian calligraphy, Nastaliq, for two reasons. (i) Persian calligraphy has always been used for writing sublime poetry to convey valuable didactic or literary messages. Thus, ostensibly, a tight and inevitable relationship exists between Nastaliq calligraphy and the Persian language. Because of such cohesion and coherence, I use Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms as appropriate material for investigating the main hypothesis of the research, examining the extent of the letterforms’ ability to independently represent and indicate meaning. (ii) Letterforms in Persian Nastaliq calligraphy, in terms of performing and implementation, are constrained by calligraphic principles enacted by different calligraphers and performers over time, adequately based on graphic aesthetic rules. Therefore, they can potentially be considered graphical elements (like signs, logos, and pictograms) but depend on literature and language. In this case, we can directly target language as being separated from the shapes of letters. This synchronic trait of Nastaliq

Introduction

11

calligraphy, an inevitable connection with language and yet a commitment to represent basic principles of graphics and calligraphy, makes it an adequate resource from which to select samples for analysis. These materials also provide space for evaluation of the relationship between tradition and graphic conventions to illustrate how graphic conventions refer to tradition or how tradition leads to graphic conventions. The study applies non-probability or non-random strategic sampling while selecting the materials. Stepwise, a corpus of 300 images of Persian calligraphy, including 19 of individual letterforms5 with their extensive forms,6 18 second letterforms7 in Farsi (and obviously in Nastaliq calligraphy), 15 compound forms8 composed of letterforms, which are meaningful in Farsi and made according to the conventional compositional rules9 in Nastaliq calligraphy, another 15 compound forms, which are made regardless of compositional principles in the calligraphy and are meaningless in Farsi, and 247 compound letterforms made of a combination of letters two by two according to compositional principles in Nastaliq. A selection of the images (made by the author in the Chalipa artwork software) is shown in Figures 1.1 through 1.5.

Figure 1.1 Individual letterforms

Figure 1.2 Second letterforms

12 Introduction

Figure 1.3 Extensive letterforms

Figure 1.4 Compound forms based on convention

Figure 1.5 Compound forms regardless of compositional principles

Theoretical schema Multimodal social semiotics As mentioned earlier, the research relies on the theory of multimodal social semiotics, consisting of the two key concepts of multimodality and social semiotics. Multimodality assumes that meaning resides not only in language but everywhere (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2001, p. 111). This theory can be used to describe semiotic resources, materials, and artefacts, as well as any

Introduction

13

representational image anywhere. It focuses on how different modal resources in different modes are organized on any page (whether two-dimensional pages like computer screens and textbooks or three- or more dimensional pages, such as sculpture and architectural shapes). Unsworth (2001) and Bezemer and Jewitt (2010) have also done valuable work in this area. Researchers in the fields of linguistics and communication, such as Boeriis and Nørgaard (2013a, b), Nørgaard (2012), and Iedema (2003), have examined visual images as multimodal texts (in different contexts) and explained the process of making meaning to show how meaning is made in different modes and media that are co-present in a communicational ensemble (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2001, p. 111); they show that meaning is made not only with a multiplicity of modes and media, but also in different places. According to Kress (2010), the term multimodality refers to “a field of work [as well as] a domain to be theorized” (Kress, 2010, p. 54). From Jewitt’s (2009) perspective, multimodality is in fact described by the approaches that understand and explain communications and representations beyond language. In other words, multimodality comprises approaches that go beyond the language and linguistic principles and describe communication and representation not only in language but also in a broad range of representational and communicational forms people use to communicate (Jewitt, 2009, p. 14). In essence, multimodality takes an equal look at language (whether in written or speech form) and other communicational modes such as image, color, gesture, and gaze. Although multimodality denies the notion that language is the perpetual and central mode in all social interactions, it accepts its role as the most often used mode (Jewitt, 2009). The basic assumption running through multimodality is that meaning is made in different representational and communicative modes, not just by language. Also, each mode offers distinct ways of engaging with the world and distinct ways of representing the world; any mode offers different and distinct potential for presenting the world (Kress, 2010, p. 96). According to this perspective, image as mode or calligraphic letterform has distinct potential to make meaning. Multimodality is underpinned by four assumptions: (i) Language is part of a multimodal ensemble, so that language is not more than a mode but only a mode that is taken to be equally as significant as other modes in calligraphy such as letterforms. (ii) This is derived from the first assumption that representation and communication always draw on a multiplicity of modes that all have the distinct potential to contribute equally to meaning (Kress, 2010, p. 96). (iii) The third assumption is that different modes in a multimodal ensemble interact in significance in meaning-making. (iv) The meanings of signs are derived from multimodal semiotic resources that are shaped by rules and norms that apply at the moment of signmaking (Jewitt, 2009, p. 16).

14 Introduction Another key part of this theory is social semiotics; the focus of attention is on meaning in a social context. Social semiotics concerns “meaning, in all its forms” (Kress, 2010, p. 54). In essence, the integration of the terms social and semiotics in this theory suggests a kind of semiotic theory in which social practices are the generators of meaning and meaningful forms and, in short, the processes of meaning-making. The term semiotics refers to signs, which comprise form and meaning. Also, its association with the term social demonstrates a kind of correlation between sign – composed of “form and meaning” and considered “the core unit of semiotics” (Kress, 2010, p. 54) – and society and refers to signs and their social origins. Therefore, what we can derive from the name of this theory is that the genesis of a sign goes back to the social activities and practices formed in the specific historical and cultural context in which the sign is created. In this sense, all kinds of signs, such as graphic signs, signs in language, gesture and gaze signs, and indeed calligraphic forms which I call calligraphic signs, are rooted in social practices. Note that in this part, a branch of social semiotics that I consider to analyze Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms is based on Halliday’s (1978) social semiotic theory of communication. This theory is based on the fundamental assumptions of Halliday’s view toward semiotics, as follows: (1) Signs are always newly made in social interaction, (2) signs are motivated, not arbitrary relations of meaning and form; the motivated relation of a form and meaning is based on and arises out of the interest of the maker of signs, and (3) the signifiers used in the making of signs are made in social interaction and become part of the semiotic resources of a culture (Kress, 2010, p. 55). Overall, multimodal social semiotics theorizes meaning from three perspectives: (1) Semiosis (making meaning), which is the overarching perspective that applies to all representation, communication, and media of communication. (2) Multimodality, which deals with modes and relationships between them. (3) The specificities of a given mode, such as material affordances and historical or social cultural origins of the elements of that mode (Kress, 2010, p. 61). The traditional notion of circle and plane The theory of Circle and Plane is based on or extracted from practical theories of implementation in Nastaliq calligraphy enacted across centuries by traditional pioneers, performers, and calligraphers. This theory is challenged in this study to examine how and to what extent the calligraphic letterforms and Nastaliq principles conform to the conventions of graphic forms and to what extent the theories of implementation in Nastaliq calligraphy can be explained through analysis schema used for analyzing graphic elements. In

Introduction

15

short, this theory, alongside the notion of Savad and Bayad, is used to compare calligraphic letterforms with graphic forms in general. This theory of Circle and Plane in Nastaliq addresses the balance between circles and planes used in letterforms; it discusses the proportion between curved bends and straight lines in performing letterforms. I extract this notion from the complex practical discussion of “DANG and DOUR,” sixth and round (e.g., Barat Zadeh, 2006; Bayani, 1984b; Falsafi, 2000; Ghazi Monshi, 1988; Ghelichkhani, 1993; Irani, 1983; Ormavi, 2006) in performing letterforms, based on the traditional belief that Nastaliq calligraphy is structured on circles and all letterforms in Nastaliq are designed based on a circle. The claim, asserted by pioneers of Nastaliq calligraphy, is that the circle is the dominant shape in heterogeneous letter shapes. In essence, traditional definitions of Nastaliq calligraphy indirectly account for the circle as the origin of calligraphy, indicating that Nastaliq calligraphy is composed of a combination or juxtaposition of dots (which are structured based on the circle) that make lines (Bolkhari, 2006). In their analysis of different types of calligraphy and their application, Ravandi (1160, in Eghbal, 1990), Bolkhari (2006), and Heravi (1587–1670, in Ghelichkhani, 1993) mention that Nastaliq is based on the circle and if Nastaliq letterforms are analyzed for curliness versus straightness, the proportion of circles is greater, always at a 5:1 ratio. Some discussions go further to glorify the circle and are prone to pseudoscience rather than theoretical discussion. For instance, in his handbook, Ravandi (as cited in Eghbal, 1990) mentions that the circle is the origin of the dot, all letters and words, and even arithmetic as a whole. In short, the theory of Circle and Plane that I derive from 12 crucial principles of implementation of calligraphy (i.e., composition, baseline, proportion, thickness and thinness, circle and plane, realistic rise, virtual rise, rhythm, and tenet and dignity) concentrates on proportion between curvedness and straightness in performing letterforms and the so-called sixth balance, meaning one-sixth straightness and five-sixths curvedness. The traditional notion of Savad and Bayaz The notion of Savad/‫( ﺳﻮ ﺍﺩ‬black) and Bayaz/‫( ﺑﯿﺎﺽ‬blank) refers to the proportion of blackness and blankness and the relationship between them in a calligraphic work. Savad and Bayaz refers to a quality in calligraphy in general and Nastaliq calligraphy in particular that describes a kind of balance between black and white (filled and empty spaces created on a page by interrelations between elements on the page) and a correlation between positive and negative spaces in the work. Siyah-Mashq (or Black Practice), as a popular and distinct compositional style in Nastaliq calligraphy that has different subsets, is an example to explain the notion of Savad and Bayaz.

16 Introduction

Methodological schemas For analyzing the corpus of letterforms, I apply two descriptive systems, SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, and adopt “graphetic articulation” as a dynamic method of analysis of graphic forms, Johannessen (2010) suggests. Descriptive schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING Johannessen (2010) theorizes graphic form in relation to the two distinctly different fields of graphology10 and graphetics11 (Johannessen, 2010, 2013). For the first step of my study, I adopt a trimmed version of the descriptive scheme proposed by Johannessen (2010), which approaches shapes descriptively to distinguish graphic meanings. In this step, a corpus of Nastaliq calligraphy is approached through two systems, SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, that consider primarily graphological features of visual forms. In essence, the schematic is oriented toward graphology, which studies “abstract potential for distinguishing graphic meaning” (Johannessen, 2013, p. 6). The descriptive schematic of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING was “originally developed for use in forensic analysis of graphic trademarks, or logos, to achieve inter-subjective transparency in legal disputes over possible trademark infringements” (Johannessen, 2013, p. 156). Through the lens of Johannessen’s descriptive schema, “any instance of graphic shape can be analysed satisfactorily with a very small number of variables” that have potential to distinguish meanings (Johannessen, 2013, p. 7). In fact, Johannessen’s (2010, 2013) theory attempts to reclaim the general discussion on shapes. Johannessen considers shapes beyond their general definition (e.g., Arnheim, 1969, 1974; Dondis, 1973, p. 44; Kress & Van Leeuwen, 1996, p. 54; Van Leeuwen, 2005a, p. 212) such as rectangles and ellipses, or “good shapes” from Gestalt psychology (Roberson et al., 2002, in Johannessen, 2013, p. 5). Crucially for the study of Nastaliq calligraphy, shapes of calligraphic letterforms can be rendered into different fragments that have potential effects (Jewitt, 2009) in meaning-making. Graphetic articulation, a dynamic method of analysis The theory of graphetic articulation, borrowed from Johannessen (2010), was originally applied to graphic trademarks to understand the differences in various visual communicative events that they cause and to identify the factors that create the similarities and differences in the communicative events created by graphic trademarks. In essence, Johannessen suggests a dynamic analysis method applicable to graphic forms based on Lemke’s (1984) theory, in which people act with their body to create communicative differences in the world (Johannessen, 2010). The first stage of my study, namely, corpus analysis through the SHAPE and ENSHAPENING systems – carried out based on graphology – must

Introduction

17

be accompanied by another step in which visual forms are examined for “possibility space for graphic articulatory dynamics including affordances of the body, graphic tools and substance” (Johannessen, 2013, p. 6). In other words, one must prove that letterforms in Nastaliq calligraphy are comparable to graphic signs or whether the basic set of conventions underlying graphic forms manifests in calligraphic forms of Nastaliq. This complementary step will be carried out after the corpus study (coming in Chapter 3 of this book). The theory of graphetic articulation explains a dynamic process in which the three factors of body, tool, and substance play the main role to create a communicative visual event. During this process, a human body acts using tools over substance to perform a communication process (Johannessen, 2010, p. 122). In essence, in such a process, new forms are shaped that lead to new meanings and finally create an integrative communicative event. This process of meaning-making revolves around the notion of articulation. In this process, a graphic work or an artefact is produced in a way in which an uncountable set of acts – constrained by efficiencies and limitations of the human body and tools – is assigned. In simple terms, every graphic form or artefact is produced or defined in an articulation or framework that includes limitations, provisions, and conventions laid down by affordance of body, tool, and substance. Therefore, to analyze graphical forms, an analytical dynamic system with the three main elements of body, tool, and substance that is closely involved with such conventions is required. Johannessen (2010) uses the term “affordance” from James Gibson (1986[1979]) to examine visual effects or visual artefacts with an ecological approach and focuses on the audience (p. 79). Inspired by the term affordance, Johannessen also suggests a definition or structure for distinguishing graphical activities from other ecological activities in the world, a definition by which those who are qualified and eligible for graphic manipulation will also be determined (p. 11). The system of graphetics articulation is used to compare calligraphic letterforms with graphic forms, as we can directly pursue the research hypothetic of whether calligraphic forms of Nastaliq are analogous to graphic forms, whether they have the same affordance and functionality as graphical forms, and whether letterforms can be considered graphic signifiers that make sense in a process of meaning-making and thus afford different communication. If the graphetic articulation is adequately applied in Nastaliq calligraphy, or a particular system of analysis is required for calligraphic letterforms in Nastaliq, what deficiencies and defects are in graphetic articulation in relation to calligraphy? What kinds of aspects are required to be covered by an exhaustive calligraphic system of analysis? How and by what characteristics should the theory of graphetics articulation be domesticated or naturalized for applying in calligraphic letterforms? All these questions are expected to be answered by applying the theory of graphetics articulation to Nastaliq calligraphy. In essence, using graphetics articulation fulfills the first part of this study – which focuses on graphological characteristics of letterforms – to

18 Introduction understand the process of meaning-making and subsequently communicative events by calligraphic letterforms. In other words, we examine the path through which the calligraphic visual letterform makes meaning regardless of any affiliation with lexical or conventional meaning in the Persian language. In addition, graphetic theory of articulation will unveil differences and similarities between communicative events in calligraphy and graphics, and a prospective achievement would suggest an articulation specially applied to calligraphic forms, something like calligraphetic articulation.

Summary This chapter provides a conceptual background for this study. The study examines Persian Nastaliq calligraphy revolving around different insights of multimodal social semiotics and relying on the findings of a corpus study of Persian Nastaliq calligraphy to examine calligraphic letterforms for the extent of their functionality and independence from language to make autonomous sense as graphic forms beyond linguistic practices and conventional meanings embedded in language. This chapter also presents background on the current state of the research, historical background on the main object of the study, Nastaliq calligraphy, as well as background on theoretical and methodological schema used in this study (i.e., theory of multimodal social semiotics with special consideration of the fundamental assumptions of Halliday’s (1978) social semiotic theory of communication about sign and Johannessen’s descriptive systems of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING), and graphetic theory of articulation. The chapter also explains traditional notions of implementation in Nastaliq calligraphy which the study addresses in the process of analysis. Furthermore, the chapter clarifies how the study is structured. Also, it makes some determinations about the experimental materials and the corpus used for analysis in the study; that is, a corpus of 300 images of Persian Nastaliq calligraphy is selected through a non-probability sampling approach and created by the author in the Chalipa artwork software. The research questions which the study seeks to answer are: (1) To what extent can calligraphic letterforms conform to the universal set of graphic features, conventions, and theories applied to graphic forms to understand the extent to which calligraphic letterforms can be considered autonomous visual graphic forms in their own right, independent of conventional meanings in language and (2) how can Nastaliq be identified as a distinct mode of semiotics with its own specific principles and characteristics, independent of the linguistic practices (which are traditionally) embedded in language?

Notes 1 For example, Sultan Ibrahim-Mirza (1540–1577) and Baysonghor-Mirza (1399–1433), who were children of Shahrokh mirza Timurid (1370–1405), and

Introduction

2

3

4

5 6 7 8 9

10 11

19

Sultan Yaqub Aq-qoyunlu (1478–1490), Bahram-mirza Safavid (1517–1549), and Shah Ismael Safavid (1487–1524); in addition to gathering a group of calligraphers in their court, they themselves were skilled calligraphers (Bayani, 1984a, pp. 103–104, 188–203, 207–208; Dūst Moḥammad, 1936). Among the books in which the early footprints of Nastaliq can be seen is the Quran-Pak (Holy Quran) held at the University of Lahore in Pakistan, related to the late fourth century AH or early fifth century AH (between the eleventh and twelfth centuries AD) in which the first indications of Nastaliq are seen. The Persian translated book of Tafsir al-Tabari by Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (606 AH) is held in the Royal Library of Iran. The collected poems of Sultan Ahmad Jalayer calligraphed by Saleh ibn Ali-Razi (800 AH) are held at Hagia Sophia, Turkey (Salouti, 2003, p. 22). Shaqqakhaneh refers to a contemporary artistic movement that formed during the 1960s in Iran by a group of creative artists that had a tremendous impact in the development of Iranian painting. This artistic movement was established in the midst of modernization and the struggle between traditionalists and modernist, while pop art was passing in the international school of art, initiated using national-religious motifs and symbols in painting (Abed-Doost & Kazem-Pour, 2010). Karim Imami, the first person who offered the term Saqqakhaneh, stated that the term was used and then generalized to all artists – whether painters or sculptors – who used traditional forms of Iranian art as a starting point and a raw material (Pakbaz, 2006, 307). The term Painting-Calligraphy/Naqashi-Khat is used to describe a type of writing with coloring that usually uses the traditional techniques of calligraphy. In Iran, the prehistoric samples of Painting-Calligraphy can be seen in the Qajar era. However, its current forms have come to the fore since the emergence of the Saqqakhaneh movement (Pakbaz, 2006, p. 584). Individual letterform suggests a form of letter used or written alone without any conjunction to any letterform, although in juxtaposition with other letterforms on a row/line. Extensive letterform refers to the second face of letters in Nastaliq, in which letters are written in a stretched form. Second letterform suggests the secondary face of a given letter that is never written individually but always in conjunction with at least one letter. A compound form in Nastaliq calligraphy suggests a combination of at least two second letterforms (secondary face of two letters). Compositional rules in Nastaliq calligraphy: Suggest a set of principles to compose calligraphic letterforms in two phases of “partial composition” and “overall composition.” Partial composition refers to regulations in combining letterforms and the interconnections of calligraphic elements (from letters to ornamental elements) in general, while “overall composition” refers to rules and conventions in juxtaposing calligraphic letterforms on the baseline, as well as the ways of laying out rows and framing them on the page. Graphology focuses on the potential of shapes that distinguish graphic meanings and is analogous to phonology (Johannessen, 2010, 2013). Graphetics is comparable to phonetics in that it is concerned with materials and physical properties of shapes. Graphetics considers factors that make space for graphic articulation, such as acting body, tools, and substance (Johannessen, 2010, 2013).

2

Corpus analysis

This chapter provides a corpus-based analysis of the Persian Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms by applying a descriptive schema with two formal systems, SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, as Johannessen (2010, 2013) suggests. Using a trimmed version of this model – which is consistent with the fractal-derived principle of self-similarity and adequately accounts for graphic forms in the abstract letter shapes of Nastaliq calligraphy – the chapter presents a multimodal tentative approach to a corpus of calligraphic letterforms – 300 images of Persian Nastaliq calligraphy, including individual letters with their extensive forms, second letterforms, and compound forms. Based on the findings of the corpus analysis (300 images of Nastaliq Persian calligraphic letterforms), the chapter demonstrates how the traditional theories of Circle and Plane and Savad and Bayaz/Black and White are described within the synchronic descriptive schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING; it also demonstrates how they are manifested in the calligraphic letterforms and their authenticity.

Descriptive schemas of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING As mentioned in the first chapter, for the corpus-based approach to calligraphic letterforms, two overall systems have been applied. The categories of forms in the descriptive model Johannessen (2010) suggests are defined based on the two systems of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, in which any region of a given shape can be rendered, or enshapened, in a number of ways, as detailed in the sections below. However, before proceeding to the corpus analysis, it is necessary to recall why this schema with its two models is considered an appropriate descriptive method of analysis to approach letterforms of Nastaliq, from my perspective and of course considering the objectives and intentions of my study. Why the SHAPE and ENSHAPENING system? As mentioned in the first chapter, the study is based on the theory of multimodality, which assumes that meaning resides not only in language but also in

Corpus analysis 21 visual elements, letterforms, and alphabet forms, regardless of conventional meanings within language. The theory of multimodality assumes that meanings are made everywhere, in every layer, not only in language but also in the visual shapes of letters, logos, pictograms, and indeed calligraphic letterforms. Nastaliq calligraphy is used to convey literary or poetic meanings as art panels, posters, and frescos or murals. These works place less emphasis on the functional aspects of visual communication and focus on the aesthetic aspects of fine arts. In other words, Nastaliq calligraphy has traditionally been seen as an abstract art, not a means of communication with distinctive features and communicative functions. However, based on visual communication and the theory of materiality of multimodality constituted texts, letterforms can be seen as distinctive visual forms that communicate autonomous messages without dependence on language conventions. From a superficial point of view, letterforms are rather abstract, senseless, and constrained to conventions and concrete meanings in language, while through the lens of multimodal social semiotics, letterforms as visual shapes are individually meaningful and structured into visual texts (Johannessen, 2010, p. 109). In this respect, letterforms behave as graphical forms such as logos, pictograms, and every sign in visual communication. From this perspective, in this study, I examine calligraphic letterforms based on their shapes to investigate how they act as meaningful visual forms in visual communication, conveying an autonomous meaning regardless of linguistic, conventional, or concrete meanings. Thus, calligraphy hypothetically can be considered a semiotic mode1 that comprises a collection of resources organized through specific principles in a specific context which is itself shaped through social interactions (Jewitt, 2009, p. 22). The objective of the study is to examine the extent to which calligraphic letterforms conform to general and universal conventions and theories applied to graphic forms to understand the extent to which calligraphic letterforms can be considered visual graphic forms in their own right, independent of linguistic practices. Furthermore, the intent is to understand how traditional theories of implementation in Nastaliq, such as Circle and Plane and Savad and Bayaz, can be explained by applying theories and systems of analysis, particularly those used to analyze graphic phenomena. Therefore, regardless of their conventional meanings in language, the first phase in the approach to letterforms in Nastaliq calligraphy is accepting them as graphic shapes that function outside the constraints of language. In other words, the first step is to unleash these letterforms from conventional signifier– signified and embedded meaning in language and accept them as graphic forms. For this purpose, a tidy schematic is needed to distinguish graphic forms from other visual forms, a filter or strainer that purifies graphic characteristics by rendering shapes into visual forms. Thus, one must apply a scheme or view extracted from theories in graphics that distinguish universal features of graphic forms to demonstrate the extent to which letter shapes function autonomously in making separate meaning and how they are analogous to distinctive features of graphic forms.

22 Corpus analysis Johannessen (2010) theorizes graphic form in relation to the two distinctly different fields of graphetics and graphology (Johannessen, 2010, 2013). For the first step, I adopt a trimmed version of the descriptive scheme proposed by Johannessen (2010), which approaches shapes descriptively to distinguish graphic meanings. The schematic is oriented toward graphology, which studies “abstract potential for distinguishing graphic meaning” (Johannessen, 2013, p. 6). In this step, a corpus of Nastaliq calligraphy is approached through both SHAPE and ENSHAPENING. Through these systems, one can distinguish graphic forms from other visual forms as filters or strainers that purify graphic characteristics by rendering shapes into visual forms. They can also describe how the traditional theory of Circle and Plane and Savad and Bayaz in Nastaliq can be meaningful and authentic in calligraphic letterforms. The first step is accompanied by another step in which visual forms are examined for “possibility space for graphic articulatory dynamics including affordances of the body, graphic tools and substance” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 157). That is, one must prove that letterforms in Nastaliq calligraphy are comparable to graphic signs or whether the basic set of conventions underlying graphic forms manifests in calligraphic forms of Nastaliq. This complementary step is carried out after the corpus study, through “articulatory graphetics” as Johannessen (2010, 2013) suggests (see the third chapter of this book). SHAPE At the most general level of delicacy, the SHAPE system represents the observation that any instance of shape falls into one of the two categories: straight or un-straight. In this sense, there can be no instance of shape in the world that is neither straight nor un-straight. Furthermore, no single instance of shape can be both straight and un-straight at the same time. Straightness and un-straightness are structurally distinguishable by the number of spatial dimensions. Straightness can be regarded as a strictly one-dimensional property of a structure. It specifies only the length of that which is straight and no difference beyond that. Un-straight, however, is a two-dimensional property that specifies a difference beyond length: a curvature or a dihedral angle. Un-straightness is divided into two branches: demarcation, which distinguishes the two different bends of curve and angle, and regional, which is divided into bends of convex and concave (Johannessen, 2013, p. 8). There are four possible choices of unstraightness: un-straight {convex/curve}, {concave/curve} and un-straight {convex/angle}, {concave/angle} (see Figure 2.1).

Corpus analysis based on the SHAPE system In the first step of analysis, the given samples of letterforms are analyzed via the SHAPE system. At this point, each given letter should be seen as an integrated form, or monolithic form, that must be assessed as a whole. However, the question of what form is remains. Although the chapter is not

Corpus analysis 23

Figure 2.1 Outline of the descriptive schema of SHAPE as Johannessen (2010, 2013) suggests

intended to explore this fundamental question, since I tightly focus on the shapes of letterforms, I must briefly explain some basic concepts. Form is related to shape; the two terms are sometimes even used interchangeably. Generally, form refers to the visual appearance or configuration of an object. More generally, form refers to the way in which things happen or shapes are structured (Gestalt Psychology in Koffka, 1935). This study uses form to mean that a letter is rendered from different variables or different shapes, particularly in relation to the descriptive schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, or the way in which different shapes are rendered into different variables made by different lines.

24 Corpus analysis Before analyzing letterforms and describing how the selected schematic applies in the sample, shape must be defined, especially in relation to graphic structure. Ching, cited in Johannessen (2010), defines shape as particular figures and forms that refer to “the characteristic outline of a plane figure or the surface configuration of a volumetric form” (p. 206). Dondis (1973) defines shape as a basic element in visual communication that is described by line, so that “line articulates the complexity of shape” (p. 44). In this respect, shape is defined as a characteristic of boundary lines in the configuration of an object. Arnheim (1974) defines two different aspects of shape: “(1) the actual boundaries produced by the artist: the lines, masses, volumes, and (2) the structural skeleton created in perception by these material shapes but rarely coinciding with them” (1974, p. 92). In this analysis of letterforms in the SHAPE phase, I concentrate on the first aspect of the letter shapes, “the actual boundary” lines and masses in letterforms, namely, the boundary lines or surface configuration of letterforms. With these two complementary definitions, I now have a simple analytical scheme for letterforms that pays special attention to the actual boundaries, lines, and masses by which the letters are formed (or, in other words, how the shapes of letters are formed). By breaking down any instance of a letter in the corpus, two distinct types of line, straight and un-straight, will be distinguished. The choices tightly aligned with the un-straight line are curve vs. angle and convex vs. concave. Figure 2.2 shows how I apply this scheme to letterforms. The figure contains one instance of 19 individual or single letterforms; I label the features of this letter shape according to the suggested analytical scheme. The letter shape presents four structural variants: straight, un-straight/angular/convex, un-straight/curved/convex, and unstraight/curved/concave. In fact, the letterform is fragmented into different structural occurrences. In this analysis, the lines surrounding the figure, whether external/outer or internal/interior (i.e., the lines that form or create the shapes or configurations of letters), have been analyzed and characterized using different variables. The result of SHAPE analysis of 300 images of letterforms is presented in Tables 2.1 through 2.6. As shown in Tables 2.1 through 2.6, the rate of diversity and similarity between shapes in letterforms is indicated by different variables described in the SHAPE system. Table 2.6 shows the use of un-straight lines at a rate of 83.46%, which is greater than for straight lines at 16.40%. The table also shows that from the un-straight lines, curved lines appear at a higher rate of use than angularity, which shows a rate of 28.21% within un-straight bends. This indicates that the calligraphic letterforms in the corpus are prone to un-straightness and curvedness rather than straightness. In essence, the descriptive schematic particularly applied in the corpus describes letterforms that use straights and bends that demarcate planes or regions. At a higher level of delicacy, Table 2.6 shows four different patterns, or variables, used in the shapes of letterforms. Accordingly, the largest structural

Figure 2.2 Individual form of letter ‫ ﯽ‬/ ‫ ﻴ‬/ ‫ ﻳ‬/ ‫( ﻯ‬ye)

Table 2.1 19 individual letterforms + dot + 4 extensive forms Overall results Straight/Straightness Un-Straight/Un-Straightness

16.31% 83.68%

Results in more detail Straight/Straightness Curve/Curvedness Angle/Angularity

16.31% 60.66% 23.01%

SHAPE variables Un-Straight/Curve/Convex Un-Straight/Curve/Concave Un-Straight/Angle/Convex Un-Straight/Angle/Concave

33.89% 27.68% 29.94% 8.47%

26 Corpus analysis Table 2.2 18 second letterforms/sole letterforms Overall results Straight/Straightness Un-Straight/Un-Straightness

18.83% 81.16%

Results in more detail Straight/Straightness Curve/Curvedness Angle/Angularity

18.83% 57.79% 23.37%

SHAPE variables Un-Straight/Curve/Convex Un-Straight/Curve/Concave Un-Straight/Angle/Convex Un-Straight/Angle/Concave

37.08% 31.12% 21.84% 9.93%

Table 2.3 15 compounded forms based on principles of implementation Overall results Straight/Straightness Un-Straight/Un-Straightness

13.69% 86.29%

Results in more detail Straight/Straightness Curve/Curvedness Angle/Angularity

13.69% 50.85% 35.44%

SHAPE variables Un-Straight/Curve/Convex Un-Straight/Curve/Concave Un-Straight/Angle/Convex Un-Straight/Angle/Concave

32.62% 34.75% 19.25% 13.36%

occurrence used is un-straight/curve/convex at 34.52%, and the smallest is unstraight/angle/concave at 14.66%. The rates of these four structural occurrences do not show a substantial difference. This level of delicacy is meaningful in that the complexity or simplicity of each form can be illustrated. If an instance of letter shape is made by only one single structural variant, it will be considered a simple shape (Figure 2.3), so that a greater number of variants makes the given shape more complex. For example, Figure 2.4 with three

Corpus analysis 27 Table 2.4 15 compounded forms regardless of principles of implementation Overall results Straight/Straightness Un-Straight/Un-Straightness

17.56% 82.43%

Results in more detail Straight/Straightness Curve/Curvedness Angle/Angularity

17.56% 50.45% 31.98%

SHAPE variables Un-Straight/Curve/Convex Un-Straight/Curve/Concave Un-Straight/Angle/Convex Un-Straight/Angle/Concave

31.46% 23.70% 22.84% 21.98%

Table 2.5 247 compounded letterforms (combination of individual letters two by two based on compositional principles of Nastaliq) Overall results Straight/Straightness Un-Straight/Un-Straightness

15.63% 83.74%

Results in more detail Straight/Straightness Curve/Curvedness Angle/Angularity

15.63% 56.47% 27.27%

SHAPE variables Un-Straight/Curve/Convex Un-Straight/Curve/Concave Un-Straight/Angle/Convex Un-Straight/Angle/Concave

37.55% 29.76% 13.09% 19.58%

structural variants – straight, un-straight/curved/convex, and un-straight/ angular/convex – is more complex and denser than Figure 2.3, which presents only one variable, un-straight/curved/convex. Particularly with regard to letterforms in the corpus, the variant in use in the four defined structural patterns, combined with no significant difference between their percentages, represents the equal use of these four

28 Corpus analysis Table 2.6 Average total results of all 300 images in the corpus Overall results Straight/Straightness Un-Straight/Un-Straightness

16.40% 83.46%

Results in more detail Straight/Straightness Curve/Curvedness Angle/Angularity

16.40% 55.24% 28.21%

SHAPE variables Un-Straight/Curve/Convex Un-Straight/Curve/Concave Un-Straight/Angle/Convex Un-Straight/Angle/Concave

34.52% 29.40% 21.39% 14.66%

Figure 2.3 A simple shape with only one structural variant

structural models in Nastaliq letter shapes. In essence, it shows variation in the use of different structural occurrences in letterforms and Nastaliq calligraphy as a whole. Here, according to the point of departure, I do not attend to the indicated complexity or density of each letterform by analyzing the extent to which each given shape is complex or simple according to the number of structural variables used. Instead, I apply this synchronic scheme to the letterforms, first, to understand the extent of compatibility with the scheme used for graphic forms and, second, to enumerate the amount of curvedness and straightness in letter shapes and sequentially examine the traditional theory of Circle and Plane for its authenticity and extent of analogousness with the shape articulation in the graphic landscape.

Corpus analysis 29

Figure 2.4 Analysis of the form of dot, counted as an individual letterform in the corpus, based on the SHAPE system of analysis

The SHAPE constraint in confronting Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms As indicated earlier, using this synchronic system, I characterize variables between letter shapes, present how these variables distinguish shapes, and show how letter shapes make meaning distinctive of conventional meaning. Moreover, by characterizing variables, evaluating the traditional theory of Circle and Plane is accomplished by distinguishing curvedness and angularity and calculating their rate within letterforms. Although this schematic is appropriate for my purpose, because of the high level of dynamism in this type of calligraphy (despite making the corpus more static by creating samples in Chalipa software and diminishing motions and strokes created in handwriting), it is sometimes difficult to distinguish different lines in one level of analysis. Although creating the corpus in software reduces the delicacy and intricacy caused by movements, motions, and strokes of broad-edged pens in handwriting, separating these heterogeneous shapes is difficult. Figure 2.5 shows how this letter as a monolithic heterogeneous shape uses different structural events during its phase by shifting from straight to un-straight from time to time.

30 Corpus analysis For instance, in Figure 2.5, in the region created between angles (1) and (2), one can see how the continuous line shifts to different variables along its direction. The line made by one movement of the pen creates a combined unstraight and straight line. This line, which is placed between two points (angles 1 and 2), is created by one movement of a broad-edged pen (according to Nastaliq implementation). Therefore, although this method of analysis is appropriate for accounting for straights and bends used in the demarcation of different regions in various letterforms, it is not responsive to the dynamics and delicacy that exist in Nastaliq calligraphy. Thus, to be more precise and to achieve a more sophisticated look, I need a complementary approach that covers not only graphological aspects of shapes but also graphetic features in letter shapes. This is what I consider in the third chapter, namely, taking a comprehensive look, concentrating on graphetic aspects of the frame of graphic articulation. ENSHAPENING The system of ENSHAPENING describes shape based on the relationship between figure and ground. In this system, shape in relation to figure is defined in the two types of positive shape and negative shape. Thus, if a shape pertains to a figure, it is a positive shape and if it pertains to the ground, it is a negative shape (Johannessen, 2013, p. 10). If the figure (of the letter or graphical element) is composed of a multiregional figure, is a compounded shape, but pertains to only one

Figure 2.5 Analysis of the extensive form of letter ‫ﺳﯿﻦ‬/ [S]

Corpus analysis 31 region or a mono-regional figure, it is a conjoined shape. In addition to these four types of shapes, two more are defined based on the relationship between figure and ground. If the relationship of figure–ground only demarcates the two regions of figure and ground, then it is a massive shape, but if this relationship makes three regions of figure, interior ground, and exterior ground, it is a contour shape (Johannessen, 2010, p. 11). The system is defined in Figure 2.6.

Corpus analysis based on ENSHAPENING system To define something as graphic phenomena or, in other words, visual forms as graphic forms, one cannot neglect Gestalt theories. According to these theories, a necessary characteristic of every graphic phenomenon is that “it demarcates an expanse into at least two distinct regions” of figure and ground (Gestalt in Johannessen, 2013, p. 10). In essence, to account for something as a graphical form, one first must define it in

Figure 2.6 Outline of the ENSHAPENING system suggested by Johannessen (2010)

32 Corpus analysis relation to the space or region in which the given form is visible. This space or expanse is called the ground and is identified in a twodimensional system in which two planes are meaningful. In essence, a graphic phenomenon is formed in a two-dimensional system in which only two planes are presented: One of them has to occupy more space than the other and in fact has to be boundless. The directly visible part of the other has to be smaller and confined by a rim. One of them lies in front of the other. One is figure, the other is ground. (Arnheim, 1974, p. 228) Thus, to evaluate calligraphic letterforms through relevant graphical theories, to put them in the category of graphic forms (in other words, to adopt letterforms as graphic forms), one needs also to describe them in terms of a figure–ground relationship. In essence, in addition to the SHAPE system, which distinguishes bends and straights, one needs to pass letterforms through a system that presents the relationship between ground and figure in graphical structure. As explained earlier, the system of ENSHAPENING describes three simultaneous choices that are based on the relationship between figure and ground (Figure 2.6). The result of ENSHAPENING analysis of 300 images of letterforms is presented in Tables 2.7 through 2.12. The overall result of the ENSHAPENING in Table 2.12 shows that all figure types are presented as positive; having no negative figure in the

Table 2.7 19 individual letterforms + dot + 4 extensive forms Positive/Conjoined/Massive Positive/Conjoined/Contour Positive/Compound/Massive Positive/Compound/Contour

66.66% 6.66% 23.33% 3.33%

Table 2.8 18 second letterforms/sole letterforms Positive/Conjoined/Massive Positive/Conjoined/Contour Positive/Compound/Massive Positive/Compound/Contour

65.21% 8.69% 26.08% 0.0%

Corpus analysis 33 Table 2.9 15 compounded forms based on principles of implementation Positive/Conjoined/Massive Positive/Conjoined/Contour Positive/Compound/Massive Positive/Compound/Contour

73.06% 12.50% 10.56% 3.85%

Table 2.10 15 compounded forms regardless of principles of implementation Positive/Conjoined/Massive Positive/Conjoined/Contour Positive/Compound/Massive Positive/Compound/Contour

38.88% 33.37% 16.14% 11.56%

Table 2.11 247 compounded letterforms (combination of individual letters two by two, according to compositional principles of Nastaliq) Positive/Conjoined/Massive Positive/Conjoined/Contour Positive/Compound/Massive Positive/Compound/Contour

57.47% 33.33% 6.51% 2.68%

Table 2.12 Average total result of all the 300 images in the corpus Positive/Conjoined/Massive Positive/Conjoined/Contour Positive/Compounded/Massive Positive/Compounded/Contour

60.25% 18.91% 16.52% 4.28%

samples means that in Nastaliq calligraphy basically all letter shapes in terms of their relationship with the ground pertain to the figure and not the ground. The respective types of figures are alike in handwritten scripts as well. In other words, despite the high level of dynamism in handwritten

34 Corpus analysis Nastaliq scripts, ENSHAPENING is also descriptively adequate to characterize the figures. In essence, figure-type discussion in the descriptive scheme of ENSHAPENING is also adequate for discussion of Savad and Bayaz/blackness and blankness (‫ )ﺳﻮﺍﺩ ﻭ ﺑﯿﺎﺽ‬in Nastaliq calligraphy. This discussion highlights the balance between the dark spaces filled by ink (i.e., figure of the letterforms) and the empty (probably white) blank spaces created between them. Coordination between black figures and blank space is itself considered a figure that pertains to the ground (negative figure) (Figure 2.7). Although in different implementational styles in Nastaliq, especially in Siyah-Mashq/black practice2 scripts, one finds negative figures, created by juxtaposing different black traces so that blank traces become meaningful and are presented as lying in front of the black figures, the corpus only specifies four choices in a positive type of figure (see Figure 2.8). In essence, since my focus is on letterforms, not on different styles of implementation and composition, I concentrate only on the letterform itself and purposely omit various styles of performance that manifest in a complete calligraphic artifact. In other words, the extent of the object of Nastaliq calligraphy is too broad to be described in such level of delicacy here, and I concentrate on a delimited subset to move close to my main purpose, examining interpersonal characteristics of letterforms. The corpus reveals a significant tendency (60.25%) toward the conjoined structure of positive/conjoined/massive, showing letterforms using a monoregional figure such as Figure 2.9, and 16.52% of the letterforms are prone to the compounded type made up of multiple regions (Figure 2.10). With regard to the ground complexity, the corpus indicates that 18.91% of the letterforms are prone to choose positive/conjoined/contour such as Figure 2.11, and only 4.28% of the samples represent a positive/compounded/contour structure, or outline shape, demarcating three regions of the figure, interior ground, and exterior ground (Figure 2.12).

Figure 2.7 Coordination between black positive figures with blankness that creates blank white negative figures

Figure 2.8 Siyah-Mashq/black practice created (in 1926) by Mohammad Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1868–1935), retrieved from ‫ ﻋﻤﺎﺩﺍﻟﮑﺘﺎﺏ ﻃﺮﻓﻪ ﺁﺛﺎﺭ ﺍﯾﺎﻡ ﺯﻧﺪﺍﻥ‬/The works of the days of prison, The National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Seifi Qazvini, 2004, p. 40)

Figure 2.9 Positive/conjoined/massive

Figure 2.10 Positive/compound/massive

36 Corpus analysis

Figure 2.11 Positive/conjoined/contour

Figure 2.12 Positive/compound/contour

The ENSHAPENING constraint in confronting Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms One might argue that the system of ENSHAPENING in some cases and to some extent cannot describe Nastaliq letterforms, especially when figuring complexity to distinguish between conjoined and compounded shapes among dotted letterforms or letters with strokes. In other words, the use of strokes and dots in some letters is important in classification of figure type. For example, in Figure 2.13, one can count the dotted letter shape as a compounded shape, while by excluding dots it can be considered a conjoined shape. Thus, to leave behind such problematic issues, I examine dotted letters in the corpus by both including and excluding dots. Another problematic point that may be caused in description of letterforms through ENSHAPENING concerns letters that have strokes tilted, as

Figure 2.13 An individual dotted letterform

Corpus analysis 37 in Figure 2.10. Sometimes, especially in handwritten calligraphic scripts, one faces different conditions in which strokes stick to the main body of the letter or are detached from the main body of the letter. However, despite some shortcomings in SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, this synchronic scheme can be applied to calligraphic letter shapes as “what we generally refer to as graphic …” (Johannessen, 2013, p. 10).

Summary The chapter represents a significant step toward a greater goal, which is presenting calligraphy as a distinct semiotic mode with its own autonomous meanings, regardless of the lexical and conventional meanings embedded in language, and drawing a specific articulation especially for Nastaliq calligraphy, considering all traditional conventions and principles, as well as the universal set of conventions of graphic forms. Thus, this chapter fulfills only one stage of this lengthy process. To understand the extent of calligraphic letterforms’ independence from conventions in language, in the first section, the chapter demonstrates how a corpus-based study of calligraphic letterforms can be conducted by using a descriptive scheme ‒ for graphic forms ‒ with the two systems of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING as Johannessen suggests (2010, 2013). The chapter shows that structural occurrences defined in SHAPE and ENSHAPENING are nested in letterforms and subsequently are in concert with features defined in the traditional notion of Circle and Plane and Savad and Bayaz/ Black and White in Nastaliq. The compatibility between these theories and the features defined in the SHAPE and ENSHAPENING systems as descriptive schema for graphic forms indicates a connection between traditional principles in Nastaliq implementation and the universal features of graphics. In other words, traditional conventional rules in implementation of this calligraphy lead to a general set of principles in graphics. Applying the schema of SHAPE to the corpus authenticates the theory of Circle and Plane in Nastaliq by indicating that most of the lines forming shapes in letters are un-straight and curved and only a small proportion is straight. The corpus also indicates that the ratio of bends to straights is approximately 5:1, as the traditional theory of Circle and Plane claims. The corpus also demonstrates that four SHAPE variables used in letterforms are distributed approximately at equal rates, presenting variation in the use of structural occurrences in Nastaliq calligraphy. In other words, four SHAPE patterns defined within un-straight lines (un-straight/curve/convex, un-straight /curve/concave, un-straight/angle/convex, un-straight/angle/concave) are almost evenly distributed in Nastaliq letter shapes. All four variables defined in the SHAPE system are recognized in letterforms in the corpus. In the ENSHAPENING analysis, all samples in the corpus are characterized as a positive shape; 60.25% of letterforms fall into the category of positive/conjoined/massive. In terms of complexity of figure and ground, most of the

38 Corpus analysis samples are conjoined and massive, while only a small number has a compound contoured shape. As an overall result, the ENSHAPENING analysis shows that all figure types are presented as positive; having no negative figure in the samples means that in Nastaliq calligraphy basically all letter shapes in terms of their relationship with ground pertain to the figure and not the ground. The respective types of figures are alike in handwritten scripts as well. In other words, despite the high level of dynamism in handwritten Nastaliq scripts, ENSHAPENING is also descriptively adequate to characterize the figures. In essence, figure-type discussion in the descriptive scheme of ENSHAPENING is also adequate for explaining the notions of Savad and Bayaz/blackness and blankness (‫ )ﺳﻮﺍﺩ ﻭ ﺑﯿﺎﺽ‬in Nastaliq calligraphy. As a result, although the schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING is not comprehensively accountable in describing calligraphic forms, because of the high level of dynamism and delicacy in Nastaliq, both systems are consistent with the fractals derived from calligraphic letterforms of Nastaliq.

Notes 1 Mode as a fundamental concept in the theory of multimodal social semiotics is the result of cultural formation of a material. Each mode has its own specificities and categories comprising different semiotic resources and each has “differential potential effects” for meaning-making (Jewitt, 2009, p. 22). For example, gesture as a mode has many semiotic resources, such as amount of stretching movement in space, highness and lowness of sound, and the path of the eyes; all are categories that make up a semiotic resource of meaning-making in the mode of gesture. 2 The origin of Siyah-Mashq/black practice is practicing and repeating letterforms to warm up the hand to scribe and focus on the main pieces of calligraphy. The oldest pieces of Siyah-Mashq go back to the seventh century. Siyah-Mashq in Nastaliq calligraphy independently began at the end of the tenth century and reached its peak of creativity and independence in the thirteenth century, when the great calligraphers such as Mir-Hossein Khoshnevis (1300 AH/1882 AD), Asadolah Shirzai (1268 AH/1851 AD), and Mirza Gholamreza Isfahani (1246–1304 AH/ 1830–1886) emerged (Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 231). Now, Siyah-Mashq is characterized as a distinct style of writing in Nastaliq calligraphy (see Figure 2.8).

3

Graphetic analysis

This chapter revolves around the graphetic system, which has been applied for graphic trademarks as Johannessen (2010) suggests. As mentioned in earlier chapters, to accomplish the step of examining letterforms through the “synchronic schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING,” one needs a general system that examines all aspects of articulation of Nastaliq letter shapes and considers the dynamism existing in calligraphy. In other words, using the theory of “articulatory graphetics” is the next step, through which one can demonstrate or reject the letter shapes as being comparable to graphical shapes and functioning as forms in the graphic landscape or determine whether the basic set of conventions underlying graphic forms mutually manifest in the calligraphic letterforms of Nastaliq. Based on the theory of graphetic articulation (Johannessen, 2010), in this chapter, by considering the universal conventions of graphic forms and vital factors of affordance mentioned in the theory of articulatory graphetics, I compare calligraphic letterforms with graphical forms, first understanding how a letterform functions like a graphical form, then describing the process in which a calligraphic letterform creates a communicative visual event. Relying on the three main factors of acting body, tool, and substance in Nastaliq representative forms, I explain the process performance in letterforms in which communicative events are created.

The theory of graphetic articulation The theory of graphetic articulation, borrowed from Johannessen (2010), was originally applied to graphic trademarks to understand the differences in various visual communicative events that they cause and to identify the factors that create the similarities and differences in the communicative events created by graphic trademarks. Johannessen explains a dynamic process in which three factors of body, tool, and substance play the main role to create a communicative visual event. During this process, a human body acts using tools over substance to perform a communication process (Johannessen, 2010, p. 122). In essence, in such a process, new forms are shaped that lead to new meanings and finally create an integrative communicative

40 Graphetic analysis event. This process of meaning-making revolves around the notion of articulation in Lemke’s (1984) theory in which people act with their body to create communicative differences in the world (Johannessen, 2010). In this process, a graphic work or an artefact is produced in the way in which an uncountable set of acts – constrained by efficiencies and limitations of the human body and tools – is assigned. Johannessen uses the term “affordance” from James Gibson (1986[1979), which examines visual effects or visual artefacts with an ecological approach and focuses on the audience (2010, p. 79). In simple terms, every graphic form or artefact is produced or defined in an articulation or framework that includes limitations, provisions, and conventions laid down by affordance of body, tool, and substance. Therefore, to analyze graphical forms, an analytical dynamic system with the three factors of body, tool, and substance that is closely involved with such conventions is required (see Figure 3.1). In short, Johannessen’s suggestions draw from theories in linguistics – namely, graphology and graphetics and the notion of articulation, as mentioned earlier – but in a different way so that they are employed to analyze graphical forms. Through these theories, Johannessen presents a universal definition of graphics in which the letterforms are also well defined. In other words, calligraphy fits this description as well. As he quotes from Crystal (2008[1980]): … graphetics is used in reference to … the analysis of the graphic substances of written or printed language. For example, it is theoretically possible to define a universal set of graphic features which enter into

Figure 3.1 The three factors of affordance involved in the process of creating graphic forms as Johannessen (2010) suggests

Graphetic analysis 41 the formation of distinctive letter shapes. These are also several properties of the written medium which exercise a considerable influence on communication e.g. colour, size of writing or print, spacing. [So] there is plainly an overlap here with the fields of graphics and typography. (2010, p. 118) Inspired by the term affordance, Johannessen also suggests a definition or structure for distinguishing graphical activities from other ecological activities in the world, a definition by which those who are qualified and eligible for graphic manipulation will be also determined (2010, p. 11). Why graphetic articulation? According to Johannessen (2010), every schema or framework used for graphic forms, or any visual artefacts, “must be motivated in a coherent theory of the link between conventions and material practices of articulation” (p. 117). In this sense, every graphic form is associated with a specific articulation with specific conventions and limitations. Relying on Johannessen, if one wants to understand the process of carrying out calligraphic letterforms – and the process in which new meanings and eventually communicative events are shaped – and to recognize the differences and similarities between different performances, one must first realize the circumstances under which a calligraphic practice has been performed. In other words, to describe visual letterforms, one also needs to describe the particular situations or conventional ways or an articulation under which letterforms are shaped and presented. Calligraphic letterforms are not excepted from this principle because Nastaliq calligraphy has its own restrictions and conventions, which depend on the human acting body and material substance. In other words, as with all graphic elements, this particular type of calligraphy, Nastaliq, is defined by the three main agents of body, tool, and materials and the conventions and limitations they impose. In essence, using graphetic articulation fulfills the first part of analysis presented in the previous chapter, which focuses on graphological features of letterforms that can distinguish graphic meanings. In fact, SHAPE and ENSHAPENING as descriptive schema of analysis must be accompanied by graphetic articulation that deals with physical properties of letterforms, conventions, and limitations bound to factors such as tool, materials, substance, and human body acting, all of which are always ongoing and at work during the process of representation of calligraphic letterforms. Thus, to compare calligraphic letterforms with graphic forms and examine the extent of their functionality as graphic signs and their level of independence toward linguistic practices, and considering the high level of dynamism in calligraphic letterforms as well as graphological characteristics of letterforms, one needs to engage in physical properties of calligraphic letterforms; one must incorporate all pertinent factors which are always at work in any

42 Graphetic analysis graphic form – body, tool, substance – that entail a set of conventions, limitations, and principles and prepare a specific condition under which calligraphic forms are shaped. Some linguists have used graphetics to study formal aspects of written texts and their impact on communication by relying on representational typographical aspects of writing. Researchers such as Waller (1996) and Thibault (2005, 2007) (as cited in Johannessen, 2010, p. 118) have taken this approach in studying typographic terminology in handwriting and calligraphy. However, note that the linguistic theories of graphology and graphetics still do not serve as comprehensive frameworks to investigate graphical aspects of text. Also, no one has mentioned the differences among communicational events in handwriting, calligraphy, and typography. Even so, Johannessen’s (2010) suggestions to a great extent compensate for this lack. He goes beyond the scope of linguistics and its use in visual representational forms in handwriting, trademarks, and any kind of graphic signifier. In fact, Johannessen domesticates the linguistic theories of graphology and graphetics for use in graphic representative elements. The way in which Johannessen applies graphetic articulation to approach trademarks and graphic elements is appropriate to understand and explain the path of creating letterforms and the process in which meaning-making and subsequently communicative events are created. In other words, Johannessen’s approach is appropriate to examine the path through which a calligraphic visual letterform potentially makes meaning regardless of any affiliation with lexical or conventional meaning in the Persian language. Johannessen does not omit traditional systems of writing in typography; in association with graphetics and graphology, he presents a general integrative framework that takes a broad perspective on the definition of graphics. Thus, the theory of graphetic articulation is appropriate for use in examining representational aspects of calligraphic letterforms regardless of linguistic conventional contents, as it revolves around the three fields of linguistics, graphics, and communication and brings them together. In addition, graphetic theory of articulation can potentially unveil differences and similarities between communicative events in calligraphy and graphics, as well as a prospective achievement that can potentially suggest an articulation specially applied to calligraphic forms, something like calligraphetic articulation, derived from graphetic articulation. Note that the first reason for choosing the graphetics approach is to compare Nastaliq letterforms with visual graphical forms to understand the extent to which they function graphically. The second reason is to realize the process of making potential meanings in calligraphic letterforms. Third is to answer whether the traditional theories of implementation and traditional principles of Nastaliq calligraphy are adequately described with the three main factors used in graphetic articulation. In other words, the study will examine whether the set of traditional conventions in Nastaliq calligraphy is consistent with conventions defined in graphetics based on the three factors of body, tool, and

Graphetic analysis 43 substance. The fourth reason is to examine the process of making communicative events in letterforms. As a final reason, the study has the ambitious purpose of rectifying fractions and deficiencies of this framework when it is applied to calligraphy and particularly Nastaliq calligraphy. That is, it seeks to provide a specific calligraphic framework to describe specific articulation of calligraphy with respect to specific conventions, principles, and traditions that can identify calligraphic resources. The position of calligrapher and audience, performer and perceiver, in graphetic theory of articulation As Johannessen suggests in the theory of graphetics, a graphical event must simultaneously be a communicative event. In this sense of the theory, each letterform can be considered a communicative event in which there is one performer and one perceiver. According to the theory of graphetics, graphic visual cues are assumed to have the same meaning for performer and perceiver (at least on some levels). This means that the performer (graphist or calligrapher) chooses tools and materials consistent with his or her purpose, and in return the recipient/perceiver responds to the performer’s choices (2010, p. 120). In essence, graphetics engages both performer and perceiver in the way in which performer and recipient perceive the same sense or meaning from a visual graphical form or any other visual representational artefact. In this meaning, what the perceiver or audience receives from a visual graphical form is close to the performer’s aim or aspiration because the performer makes an effort to choose materials and tools appropriate to his or her purpose and to the meaning he or she wishes to convey. In this sense, performance or implementation is bound to material practices of the graphic signifier. Therefore, as a result, material, acting, and practice in any graphic articulation have a mutual relation with the performance or the final graphic event. In other words, the perception of the event is explained by the material practices of graphic articulation and the material practices of articulation can be described by the audience’s mutual perception of the graphic signifier (Figure 3.2).

Figure 3.2 The mutual relation between material substance and reader/perceiver of the performance

44 Graphetic analysis Thus, under this assumption, if one describes and evaluates materials and practices, and the performance as a whole, one will inevitably let the “perception event” be explained. Indeed, it cannot conclusively be said that the performer and perceiver receive a similar sense and meaning, as it certainly cannot be said that both performer and audience experience similar conditions at the moment of creation of or encounter with the graphic or calligraphic form. For instance, a calligrapher may focus on the composition of letterforms and their representational aspects and better observe visual aesthetics rather than paying attention to choosing literary concepts or the semantic relationship between the selected text and the representational form of letters. However, on the other hand, a layperson as reader may primarily or only look for the literary meaning of the words and may be unresponsive to the particular composition used in the calligraphic fact that the calligrapher had in mind. However, I do not intend to examine differences in perception and visual literacy of audiences or even the coordination between representational form and literal content. Even so, the relationship of performance and reader and a set of connectors (i.e., material and practice) necessitate mention of some points. Especially in regard to Nastaliq calligraphy, a reader may not have comprehensive knowledge of the Persian language. However, regardless of the depth of knowledge of the conventional system of Persian writing, that reader’s perception of the calligraphic fact may differ from the sensation moments of the calligrapher, who is usually an expert in the Persian language and the system of writing, from a reader who has knowledge of the Persian language, and from an audience that is more familiar with this type of calligraphy. Moreover, in addition to pre-knowledge and visual literacy of both performer and reader, the situation of reader and performer at the moment of encountering the calligraphic work leads to different perceptions of the work between reader and performer. In short, both performer and reader have their own pre-assumptions, preconditions, and pre-experiences in encounters with a signifier that provide different understandings of the signifier. For example, a skillful calligrapher can easily distinguish differences in two calligraphic works performed by two different calligraphers, whereas a layperson might simply assume they are similar works. The matter of calligraphy is a bit complex in this case because, on one hand, it inevitably brings forth literary meanings in the reader’s mind; even if the calligrapher composes letterforms that are linguistically meaningless (e.g., Figure 3.3 shows two pieces of Nastaliq in the format of SiyahMashq), the reader’s mind likely would unconsciously detect letters and words and their lexical meaning. Then, at the next step, the reader may pay attention to the compositional style of the letterforms and overall sense of the calligraphic work. Although prioritizing what the reader initially considers and what would later be attended is somehow problematic, a Persian reader may not totally separate or omit the lexical meanings of letters from

Graphetic analysis 45

Figure 3.3 Siyah-Mashq (black practice graphed by the author), in which the letterforms are spontaneously chosen, with no predetermined plan of being literally meaningful

their representational form. Because calligraphy performs letters tight to the system of writing of a particular language, even though the lexical meanings of letters are omitted in this analysis, I encounter them with the term letter with a representational form which is inevitably subordinated to the system of Persian writing. In other words, even though I ignore the lexical meaning and literary content of letters, letterforms are performed under subordination to a set of conventions that are somehow tight to the writing system of the language. This also indicates the general and traditional definition of calligraphy, the execution of letters in a beautiful way and indeed within a particular articulation or specific framework. Thus, as a result, saying that the reader’s perception will be close to the calligrapher’s ambition is somehow problematic and not perfectly accurate. The calligrapher’s choices in executing letters, whether in tools, materials, or compositional style, and nuances in substance can affect the audience’s perception, but it does not necessarily or absolutely mean that the audience and performer have the same sense and meaning from the calligraphic work. Moreover, particularly in Nastaliq calligraphy, the calligrapher is not free to choose any instrument, tool, or substance in performing letters. The calligrapher is constrained to using specific tools and materials that are already determined in Nastaliq, although he or she may have some freedom in lathing and cutting the reed pen, choosing the angle of the pen’s edge, or choosing the color and quality of ink and paper. Thus, a Nastaliq calligrapher basically is not free like a graphic designer or painter in choosing

46 Graphetic analysis materials. Second, Nastaliq calligraphy is defined and limited in a specific articulation which is itself defined by a set of conventions that is undoubtedly affected by the system of Persian writing. In essence, freedom of choice in Nastaliq calligraphy is lower than in graphics or other types of visual representation. For example, in drawing a graphic signifier like a trademark, a graphic designer has many options within different pens. Based on his or her purpose, the designer may choose from among a pen brush, a broad-edged pen, different graphite pencils, markers, or even ballpoints, charcoal, or chalk, as well as graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Therefore, a calligrapher cannot create considerable differences in performance through choice of materials and tools as a painter or graphic designer can. Thus, in the matter of Nastaliq calligraphy, in addition to tools and materials, one must look for other factors to track the origin of differences in communicative events, perhaps practicing or acting in calligraphy, and inner aspects that come as “non-educable” principles in the doctrine of traditional Nastaliq calligraphy. According to veteran and professional calligraphers, some principles relate to personal character, disposition, aspiration, and ambition and an inner sense of the calligrapher, which involves performance and creates a personal style or manner of writing, or calligraphy (I discuss these calligraphic principles in later sections). Another point regarding discussion of perception and performer, as Johannessen mentions, is that “an act of performance is a sensory-motor occurrence” (2010, p. 120); it is also at the same time an act of perception. In addition, an act of perception is also a simultaneous act of “inner invisible parallel performance” (Kress, 2009, p. 76). This recalls the “non-acquisitive” or “educable” and “noneducable” principles of Nastaliq calligraphy as well in that the process of performance is not educable and not acquisitive in all steps. Some part of the process is related to the perception of the performer to refer to an inner and invisible sense. According to the traditional set of principles of Nastaliq calligraphy, this is related to the satisfaction and dignity created in the performer during and after the performance. This study will focus on these principles in later sections. Considering that in a process of communication, one side is performer and another side is receiver (perceiver), investigating a process of communication or a communicative event entails (at least in the case of graphics, visual arts, and calligraphy) examining the process of performance, which is constrained by materials, tools, and acting. As a result, to understand the process of communication and perception in the case of Nastaliq calligraphy and to explain communicative events caused during the process, examination of tools, materials, and practices in Nastaliq is essential. This also addresses one aspect of the objective of this study, which is to analyze communicative events in calligraphic letterforms. However, to understand and explain communicational events in the calligraphic letterforms of Nastaliq, as Johannessen suggests, an articulation

Graphetic analysis 47 particularly for graphic signifiers, one also needs an articulation particularly characterized for calligraphic letterforms that encompasses traditional and conventional principles of Nastaliq calligraphy. Using the graphetic articulation Johannessen (2010) suggests, which characterizes a general set of principles and conventions that apply in all graphic signifiers, leads to understanding the relationships of letterforms and their role in the meaning-making process and subsequent making of communicational events. Moreover, applying such framework over calligraphic letterforms allows one to identify and characterize traditional principles of Nastaliq. One can then characterize conventions which are bound in material, tool, and acting and prospectively propose a calligraphic articulation. Articulation Before getting into the main discussion of the theory of graphetics in relation to calligraphic letterforms, it is necessary to define the term articulation according to Johannessen (2010); then perhaps additional reasons to apply such theory in calligraphy will be evident. In essence, here articulation means to draw and suggest a process through which “meanings potential”1 is made in calligraphic letterforms. According to Johannessen, articulation “refers to the process by which a given meaning potential finds a form. For example, discourse is articulated in texts” (2010, p. 121). Moreover, articulation is used to refer to specific resources of a particular mode that produces an integrative meaningful text. In this respect, in the case of Nastaliq calligraphy, the term articulation refers to modal resources of Nastaliq calligraphy that contribute to articulate a meaningful calligraphic work. In this respect, shapes, stripes, lines, angles, conventions, rules and set of principles, and even tools and materials are considered modal resources that function together to produce a calligraphic work. In short, the term articulation refers to the way in which modal resources contribute to make a meaningful integrated text. In other words, articulation refers to the process in which modal resources contribute to form a given meaning potential. Although the term articulation is used in various senses, especially in the multimodal social semiotics literature, in using it to analyze graphic signifiers, Johannessen suggests the term articulatory graphetics, which he argues is comparable to articulatory phonetics. Phonetics articulation used in linguistics refers to the process by which a vocal piece is produced. In essence, phonetics refers to how humans employ different limbs and organs to make a meaningful vocal sound. Articulatory graphetics or graphetic articulation, which is analogous to phonetics articulation, is employed to analyze the process by which a graphic designer or calligrapher uses his or her body, tools, and materials to make a graphic signifier, letterform, or piece of calligraphy as a whole. In phonetics articulation, the material substance used to produce the sounds of speech is air. In other words, air as a raw material relies on the actions of limbs and different organs of the human body to produce vocal tracts. In this

48 Graphetic analysis process, a performer acts or practices with his or her body over a material substance (namely, air) to make speech. Johannessen defines an “act of speech” as a communicative event in which the performer (1) acts bodily (2) to make differences in material substance in the world (2010, p. 121). In the process of phonetics that actually defines an articulation by which vocal tracts are produced, one deals with the material substance of the speech (i.e., sounds themselves), but not with the “phonemic status of the sounds” (p. 121). In the context of visual representational forms, in calligraphic or graphic articulation, as Johannessen suggests, this study is concerned directly with the material substance in graphic signifiers, or calligraphic forms. This process of articulation includes a performer (e.g., graphic designer, calligrapher) who is bodily acting to manipulate the material substance and make a difference in the world. Therefore, three main factors function in this process: body, tool, and substance. Applying this to Nastaliq calligraphy, one can say that the process of articulation (or calligraphetic articulation or articulatory calligraphetics) occurs when the calligrapher acts bodily with tools (pen) over material substance (ink, paper) in the mode of calligraphy to create a communicative event and subsequently a communicative difference in the world. In short, the abstract process of articulation applied to calligraphic letterforms is defined within the three main factors of body, tool, and substance. In this way, the calligrapher’s body practices using tools on material substances, which results in a calligraphic event and indeed makes a communicative difference in the eyes of the perceiver. The three main factors of body, tool, and substance, which must be taken into account in analyzing calligraphic letterforms, are called “sources of affordance” as they facilitate interaction between the human biological system and the environment. Johannessen refers to the definition of affordance from Gibson’s (1986 [1979]) ecological point of view. In this view, affordance is described as “something which the environment imposes on the biological system” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 122). In his theory of visual perception, Gibson (as cited in Johannessen, 2010) explains affordance as the way in which a biological system like the body interacts with the environment. In this meaning, the three factors of body, tool, and substance are the resources that influence humans’ biological system and eventually “influence the potential for expressing meaning” (2010, p. 122). Following this discussion, to examine calligraphic letterforms as multimodal texts from such a multimodal perspective, through the theory of graphetic articulation, one must be concerned about the three sources of affordance in the articulation of Nastaliq calligraphy. First, I explain each factor based on Johannessen’s suggestions; then I examine them in more detail in connection with Nastaliq calligraphy. Acting body What does “body acting” mean in Nastaliq calligraphy or calligraphy as a whole? How is body acting defined as a source of affordance in graphetic

Graphetic analysis 49 articulation? How do body activities in a calligraphic articulation influence the potential to express meaning? According to Johannessen, in relation to the body, one must bear in mind some important points. First, one must determine the scope of the body in relation to calligraphy; this means determining what parts of the body and organs are used and involved in the process of performance in a specific type of calligraphy, Nastaliq. In essence, this would not be a biological discussion of the human body to explain how its processes work independently or together, but rather a discussion to understand what the body’s processes do in the implementation of calligraphy (e.g., what part of the hand is employed in writing). The second point is how calligraphers employ their organs to perform a letterform and “what … we do with … the body’s affordance, rather than the body in itself” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 123). In short, graphetic articulation is concerned more with doing than with being. For instance, performing the letter ‫( ب‬i.e., NAME: be, IPA: [b]) (Figure 3.4) requires specific hand movements and indeed particular parts of the hand must be used because “a specific kind of bodily action results in a specific kind of line” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 123). In the letter ‫[ ب‬b], specific movement of the wrist from right to left and slight motions of the thumb and index finger lead to a certain type of line (Figure 3.4). During tracing, the number of times the calligrapher takes his or her hand off the paper, the number of movements usually involved in writing the letterform, and the number of times the calligrapher picks up ink or renews the ink in the pen are related to the body acting and included in the process of performance. Figure 3.4 shows that the process consists of three separate hand movements. Over time, this set of hand movements, the result of the rehearsing and practice of the calligrapher, creates a certain type of activity and thus imposes a set of norms and conventions in performing letters. Although this set of conventions is defined in a specific social and cultural context, it is basically generated in the body acting and

Figure 3.4 Different specific bodily actions (within two-time points of 1 and 2) used in performance of the letter ‫( ﺏ‬be, IPA: [b])

50 Graphetic analysis general organic efficiencies of the human body. In other words, although social and cultural aspects (e.g., Persian system of writing, traditional methods of using tools, life style, people’s attitude) influenced the establishing structure of calligraphy, the general organic system of the body imposes itself to ordain specific movements and accordingly generates special conventions. In fact, people cannot act beyond the limitations imposed by the organic system of the body. These restrictions, forced by certain body movements, thus result in particular types of lines and shapes. In addition to performing and working with tools upon a material substance (e.g., pen on paper), in Nastaliq calligraphy, preparation of tools and materials also needs an acting body. Therefore, as the third point, trimming a reed pen and preparing paper and ink, particularly in traditional methods, require specific body acting. Therefore, because of the affordance of the body even in preparation of tools and material substance, one can consider it a source of affordance which is constantly at work even in other sources of affordance in calligraphic articulation (i.e., tool and substance). Overall, the crucial role of the body in the generation of principles and conventions, whether related to performance or tools and substance, laid down in performance is evident (Figures 3.5 and 3.6). According to Johannessen (2010), “we must keep in mind that regardless of culture there is at least one constant in the genesis of such convention: the human anatomy” (p. 124). In Nastaliq calligraphy, especially in the traditional manner, the calligrapher prepares a reed pen, ink, and paper manually, according to specific principles. The process of preparation entails a specific type of body acting and subsequently results in a specific set of conventions regarding tools and substance. In addition, choosing specific types of instruments and materials in Nastaliq calligraphy (that have cultural roots) imposes limitations on body activities as well. In other words, the body and the tools and material substance are in a two-way interaction or a mutual interaction and simultaneously influence each other in creating conventions over time. Holding the cutter, measuring cutting points, adjusting the angle, carving around sides, and cutting the broad edge of the pen all put the body in a specific position to act and the body imposes its own limitations based on its organic systems.

Figure 3.5 The role of the body in preparation/generation of materials, tools, and conventions that contribute in performance

Graphetic analysis 51

Figure 3.6 Contribution between the factors of affordance in performance and their final interaction with perceiver that causes communicative differences

Another point regarding the body and its interaction with the other two sources of affordance is that not only does the human anatomy as a constant factor influence the establishing principles and conventions, but the tools, materials, and substance also play roles in generating conventions. For instance, to implement a particular letterform or a specific type of compositional form, one needs to act in a specific manner. Moreover, using a specific given size of pen also requires acting with a specific hand movement or within a certain range of hand motions. For example, if the calligrapher, according to the piece he or she wishes to perform, chooses a large pen (a so-called epigraphic pen) to write a large epigraph, the scope of hand movement is more extensive (the scope of movement expands from wrist to arms and even shoulders and torso) than when writing with a small pen, which limits movement to the fingers.

Human anatomy as a constant factor in articulatory graphetics As mentioned earlier, according to Johannessen (2010), human anatomy is considered a constant factor in articulatory graphetics. “Human biology is a crucial component in the genesis of graphic convention” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 124). Therefore, human anatomy affects the motion of the body

52 Graphetic analysis (acting body) in performance and subsequently imposes a set of principles and conventions. The set of restrictions and conventions the body creates in relation to performing lines, shapes, and letterforms and the tools and material substance are enumerated as general points that apply in all forms of graphic signifiers. Here these conventions are reviewed one by one; then each is discussed as it specifically relates to Nastaliq calligraphy. As the study applies the theory of graphetic articulation to Persian Nastaliq calligraphy, particularly to traditional methods which are still prevalent, the proposed general set of conventions in graphetic articulation must be compared with the traditional conventions of learning and implementation in Nastaliq that have been established over time. For traditional conventions, the study relies on authentic resources such as treatises by old masters of Nastaliq calligraphy such as Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587), Soltan Ali Mashhadi (1453–1520), and Ibn Muqla Shirazi (1480–1533) (Bayani, 1984a, pp. 85–86, 421–442; Ernst, 1992; Ghelichkhani, 2012; Shahroudi, 2008). In fact, in this examination, the set of principles and conventions in Nastaliq articulation has been derived from works of master pioneers, each of whom is somehow influential in calligraphy, whether in writing and registering the set of rules and principles in calligraphy (training and performing) or in influencing the establishing of such principles as a whole. Then, they are compared with the set of principles and conventions which are generally used in all types of graphic forms, as mentioned in the theory of articulatory graphetics. Recall that the first part of the study (examining a corpus of letterforms with a synchronic system of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING) focuses on individual letterforms, their extensive forms, and binary compound letterforms. In this part, which is more concerned with the principles of implementation, the focus is on the performance principles that are relevant to perform letterforms alone (individual letterforms) and the binary compound composition of letters (such as the types of letterforms selected in the corpus). Therefore, the focus is not on principles related to different compositional styles in various formats of writing in Nastaliq (e.g., Chalipa/ cross-writing, Siyah-Mashq/black practice, row-line). Nor will the study concentrate on compositional principles used in combining letters in a row-line of words, though the same principles are always at work in the combination of letters, as in compound forms and even individual letters. The scope of analysis is limited to letterforms in individual and compound form.

First general convention of graphic forms based on human body conventions: a general tendency toward curved motions As Johannessen (2010) mentions, the first general convention that the body causes is a “general consensus that our anatomy favours curved motion when we manually trace graphic lines, whereas straight lines take considerably more control and effort” (p. 124). In this respect, one can say about

Graphetic analysis 53 Nastaliq calligraphy that although performing all letterforms requires ultimate precision and control in the hands, generally letterforms tend to use curved motions. This is demonstrated by the results of Chapter 2 where letterforms are analyzed based on the SHAPE system showing the shape variables so that curved lines appear at a higher rate of use than straight lines. This indicates that Nastaliq letterforms are more prone to curved motion than straightness (see Tables 2.1 through 2.6). This also demonstrates the traditional notion in the implementation of Nastaliq that the circle is the dominant shape in heterogeneous letter shapes so that the proportion of circles to straightness is always maintained at a 5:1 ratio. This can also be used as affirmation that Nastaliq letterforms have been designed based on principles that in turn are based on anatomical tendencies of the human body. According to the practical theories of implementation, tracing a circle is difficult and more complex than tracing a plane, so performing circular letters requires very deliberate and precise attention in accordance with specific rules and principles. For this reason, training in performance of circular forms is a main part of calligraphy education. According to Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587), the acme of beauty and the skill of the calligrapher are displayed in the circles he or she performs. Thus, the need for hand control is greater when performing a circle than a plane. In addition to the considerable number of circles and circular forms in Nastaliq, which show that the letterforms are generated based on ergonomic factors of the human body and all letterforms generally favor curved motions, one must note the 12 thetical traditional principles of this type of calligraphy in which a separate principle is specifically dedicated to the “circle.” This principle, which is seventh in a set of 12 series of rules, defines circular and rounded motions in letterforms and specifies regulations and conventions in tracing circles. Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587) defines a statute for training in Nastaliq; the circle or rounded form is defined as a form that must evoke or convey a sense of softness, wit, naturality, and elegance in the viewer, for example, through the extensive forms of letters and circular letterforms (Figures 3.7 and 3.8). As a result, the many notions of curvedness and circles in Nastaliq show an affinity for this type of calligraphy and the nature of the human body. Another point regarding the curve notion is that the circle has a long history and important reputation in Iranian culture and mysticism. In this respect, Gnostic sects, such as the Nuqtavi and Hurufi movements, have been formed on the concept of the circle and curved motions in Iranian culture and mysticism. Sufi whirling and the use of circles in Islamic and Iranian architecture (e.g., domes, arches) reflect the central role of the circle in Persian traditional representational culture. Some old manuscripts mention that the basis for generation of calligraphy is the dot, and this dot is derived from the circle (Baba Shah Isfahani, 1587; Soltan Ali Mashhadi,

54 Graphetic analysis

Figure 3.7 The extensive circular form of letter ‫ﺳﯿﻦ‬/S

Figure 3.8 The single circular form of letter ‫ﻥ‬/N

1453–1520; and Ibn Muqla Shirazi, 1480–1533; in Ernst, 1992; Ghelichkhani, 2012; Shahroudi, 2008). This indicates that the calligraphy is based on the circle; as mentioned in the theory of the Circle and Plane, every heterogeneous letterform is fit in a circle. This chapter is not intended to examine Nastaliq based on cultural and historical background, but it is appropriate to mention that cultural and social conventions can also be related to or originate from the body and conventions imposed by it. According to Aghdashloo (2006), calligraphy, especially in Iranian culture, can be considered as an embodiment of the spirit of mysticism in the face/ form of letters and words. This notion is based on the initial idea among Sufis that each letter is ultimately performed to worship God. In this sense, the calligrapher is considered to be a mystic whose instrument is the pen and whose world is letters. In Islamic culture in general, the face and form of letters have been considered to have specific meaning; for example, certain numerical implications have been attributed to the letterforms over time. In

Graphetic analysis 55 the early centuries after Islam was founded, letterforms were considered as sources of knowledge by groups of Sufics, and gradually these notions based on the value of letters spread, especially among the Sufics and their followers, and led to the rise of cults such as Hurufism2 and Nuqtavi3 that are based on the meaning of letterforms and their relation with the Almighty. Several aspects in Nastaliq indicate the first general convention in graphic signifiers, namely, the general convention that refers to the tendency of the body to use curved motions when one traces lines. For instance, another important point in the set of principles in Nastaliq calligraphy is “composition,” which is first among the 12 principles of Nastaliq;4 in this set of rules, composition is divided into “partial composition” and “total composition.” Partial composition refers to the rules and regulations in combining letters, while total (or overall) composition implies the compositional style and a set of rules and conventions regarding juxtaposition of letters to make an integrated row-line. The second part of this principle can potentially refer to the body’s tendency toward curved movements. Based on this principle, a row-line in Nastaliq calligraphy should be oriented upward (or have an upward trend); in this meaning, the row-line moves to make a curved line at the end. One rule is that the first and last characters of a row-line should be placed slightly higher than the rest of the letters. Thus, a row-line that includes different characters and letters should ultimately appear as an integrated curved line that trends upward. In short, in addition to the traditional notion that individual letterforms in Nastaliq calligraphy are based on the circle, the traditional compositional principles emphasize the orientation of row-lines and composition as a whole toward curvedness rather than straightness (Figure 3.9). Apart from this rule, the number of extensive and short forms in a rowline and the location of each in a row-line should be considered in a way by which they are balanced in relation to each other. For instance, putting more than two extensive forms of letters in a row-line is not allowed as doing so would interfere with the balance and flow of the row-line. Moreover, given different letters that impose specific weights in a row-line according to their place in the row, what should be taken into account is choosing different letterforms in the row and setting them in a row-line. For instance, one choice that is absolutely forbidden is putting an extensive form at the beginning or end of a row-line. Such a choice creates a loose and incoherent row that conveys a perfect row ascending upward (Figure 3.10). This convention in Nastaliq recalls a clockwise motion, from the top to the right and then down and to the left. This is also analogous to the direction of the hand in the Persian writing system, moving from right to left (Figure 3.11). Another norm or principle of Nastaliq calligraphy is the second rule in this set, the “ground-field” or “baseline.” This defines or specifies the set of conventions and rules about horizontal lines over which the letters are placed. In essence, this concept defines conventions for placing each letter and character in a row. In other words, the baseline is a scale or yardstick used to set letters and juxtapose them in balance. According to the set of principles regarding the

Figure 3.9 A piece of Chalipa (i.e., a common compositional style in Nastaliq) graphed by Gholamhossein Amirkhani (2000, p. 35)

Figure 3.10 A single row-line with three extensive letterforms, while each letterform is placed at the same distance from the baseline, exactly tangent on the baseline

Graphetic analysis 57

Figure 3.11 A single row-line with one extensive letterform, while the first and last letterform are placed above the baseline

“baseline,” any specific letter should be placed at a specific distance from the baseline. Thus, the position of letterforms is different in the baseline; each letterform, extensive form, and compound form has its own position toward the baseline. All conventions and principles related to the baseline also compose rows of letters to form an integrated curved line so that the whole line appears as a curved line moving in a clockwise circle (Figures 3.9 and 3.11). Moreover, punctuation in writing a row of letterforms is another aspect that should be performed under conventions related to the baseline. Usually, calligraphers punctuate letters after performing all letters which are supposed to be set in the row-line because in this way (after seeing the whole row-line without punctuation) they can better estimate distances between letters and the baseline and more easily find empty places to establish an equilibrium by filling the empty places with dots. In other words, punctuation in Nastaliq calligraphy serves not only for making the letters readable by the viewer, but also for maintaining a balance in the row-line (Figure 3.12). Another point in the notion of anatomy of the human body and its orientation to circular lines is that this characteristic of the body not only resides

Figure 3.12 A piece of Nastaliq before and after punctuation

58 Graphetic analysis in the tendency of the hand in tracing lines but, according to principles suggested by old masters and calligraphers, it also goes back to the human eye and its tendencies. In his treatise on the acquisitive principles of calligraphy, Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587, in Velayati, 2012; Ernst, 1992; Ghelichkhani, 2012; Shahroudi, 2008) enumerates all the conventions and restrictions of performing based on what is pleasant to the eyes of both the performer and the beholder. In this meaning, he considers the human eye and explains situations, dispositions, and compositions that are more conditioning and eye-catching. For instance, in all explanations, he refers to human optical perception and the vision formed in the eyes of the performer and viewer. For instance, with regard to locating letters in a row and the relation of letterforms to the baseline and to each other, if all letters are placed on a given baseline in the same location or with a similar distance from each other, or all characters and letterforms are put at a similar distance from the baseline (even the first and last character), or if using extensive letterforms in a row-line exceeds the permissible limit (more than two extensive forms), then what the eye will receive is an unbalanced line that is falling down rather than going up in a clockwise circular direction. The eye is also the part of the human body that directly influences the process of performing and perceiving (by performer and perceiver) and affect in enacting conventions. For instance, Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587) expands on this discussion, suggesting that to compose a row of letters, all forms and figures are written (placed) in the same position and at the same distance from the baseline or if one uses, for example, three extensive forms in a row, even though all letterforms are performed perfectly, an optic illusion will be caused so that the eye will see a distorted row rather than a straight or curved row moving upward (Figure 3.10). This is how the traditional principles and general conventions are connected to the body and its natural tendencies; it shows how general conventions of Nastaliq are rooted in the human body and the restrictions it imposes and how such conventions connect to general conventions in graphic signifiers. Another point regarding the first general convention Johannessen suggests, namely, the tendency of the human body toward curvedness, is that in Nastaliq calligraphy, because of the high level of dynamism in such calligraphy, at least in traditionally produced Nastaliq calligraphy, no letterform is shaped only by straight lines. In this respect, the role of the human body, which favors curved and non-straight lines, in shaping such Nastaliq is obvious. In this respect, one can also mention the principles of circle and plane, virtual ascent, and virtual descent. All these principles concern the motion of hand and pen, such that a non-straight line results. “Plane” in Nastaliq calligraphy does not refer to performing a shape made exclusively of straight lines. Rather, plane refers to a shape that is made of a minimum of curved lines and, as discussed earlier, the principle of circle and plane in Nastaliq calligraphy refers to the level of circular and straight lines. “Circle” is defined as being created by curved motions of the hand, so that

Graphetic analysis 59

Figure 3.13 Virtual descent

Figure 3.14 Virtual ascent

when the viewer sees it he or she will perceive a sense of movement and action. “Virtual ascent” and “virtual descent” occur when the hand moves from below to above and, conversely, when it moves from the top down, but not in a straight line (see Figures 3.13 and 3.14). Both principles emphasize indirect movement when descent and ascent occur. This implicitly indicates that the human body and hand have more control and the performer has a high level of skill; tracing an absolute straight line is impossible, so this also is reflected in statements of traditional calligraphers suggesting that there cannot be symmetry or analogy between the same letterforms performed by the same calligrapher at different times. Even though a performer is skillful and fluent with maximum control of the hand, performing the same letters so that they seem to be mirror images of each other is impossible. This is why calligraphy is close to handwriting and based on ergonomics.

Ergonomic efficiency as the second general convention of graphic form derived from the human body The second general convention applicable to graphic forms, suggested in the graphetic articulation specifically related to the human body, is “ergonomic efficiency,” which is considered a general factor in any hand-produced graphic signifier (Johannessen, 2010). This means that generally in each manual production of a piece of art, the human body works according to its ergonomic features; in other words, while tracing a line, the body puts itself in a convenient position to assume a relaxed disposition while acting. In simple words, the tendency of the body is toward an ergonomic or comfortable posture while performing graphic signifiers or any other manual tracing, such as handwriting or calligraphy. Johannessen (2010) explains this convention by mentioning that many people rotate a pad of writing paper 45° clockwise while writing “in order to obtain more relaxed posture” (p. 124). This

60 Graphetic analysis applies to right-handed people, and for people who write with the left hand, it is probably the inverse and thus counterclockwise. To demonstrate how ergonomic efficiency is manifested in Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms, one must investigate the traditional principles of Nastaliq, namely, the 12 points, which are called educational or didactic. According to Baba-Shah Isfahani, as mentioned in his treatise, the components of calligraphy are placed into the two categories of educational and non-educational, and both are considered to be doctrines of calligraphy. The educational category includes 12 principles or components of calligraphy – composition, baseline/ground-field, proportion, weakness/thinness, and intensity/strengthens/thickness, circle and plane, virtual ascent, virtual descent, rhythm, tenet, and dignity5 – referring to components of calligraphy which appear in a calligraphic work through the training, practice, and assiduity of the calligrapher. In other words, it refers to those details or parts of the calligraphy that are obtainable through training and learning rules and skills. The non-educational category of components refers to skills or proficiencies in calligraphy that do not rely on the calligrapher’s education but rather spontaneously appear in the calligraphy after the calligrapher acquires the 12 didactic components. This category includes the principles of Savad and Bayaz/Black and Blank,6 Tashmir,7 actual ascent, and actual descent, which automatically appear in the calligraphy without a specific attempt. In other words, their existence in a calligraphic work is inevitable, and there is no need for training. For example, as mentioned in Baba-Shah Isfahani’s (1587) treatise, every form or trace which is drawn or written on paper inevitably creates a Savad/Black space and a Bayaz/Blank space on the paper. To investigate how the second general graphic convention coordinates with the traditional principles used in calligraphy and manifests itself in the aforementioned Nastaliq principles, the discussion with regard to baseline or ground-field (i.e., the second point in the classified set of Nastaliq principles) refers to the various linages resulting from different styles of setting or composing letterforms on the baseline. In other words, this principle suggests rules and conventions of position of letterforms toward a given invisible baseline. The two common forms of setting up letters or juxtaposing characters on the baseline are the single-row (Figure 3.15), in which letterforms are

Figure 3.15 A single row-line Nastaliq by Gholamhossein Amirkhani, retrieved from Heravi, 1544, the chanting letters of Imam-Ali/ ‫ ﺑﻪ ﺑﻪ ﺧﻂ ﻣﯿﺮ ﻋﻠﯽ ﻫﺮﻭﯼ‬:‫( ﻣﻨﺎﺟﺎﺕ ﻧﺎﻣﻪ ﯼ ﺣﻀﺮﺕ ﻋﻠﯽ‬2008, p. 14)

Graphetic analysis 61 placed on a single baseline that is normally used for writing a hemistich in poetic texts or writing long texts of books, and the double-row, which is basically used for writing a distich (Figure 3.16). Apart from these forms of linage, in which ergonomic efficiency applies as well (e.g., in rotating the paper on which the calligrapher writes), another format or form of linage in Nastaliq calligraphy must be mentioned to investigate ergonomic efficiency in Nastaliq calligraphy. A popular form of linage is entitled Chalipa/cross in which four rows or baselines are defined between the upper and lower ends of a cross (Figures 3.9 and 3.17). It is not the intent of this study to discuss the formula of tracing this style of linage or to understand how and where it originated; the only point that is significant in such format is how using ergonomic efficiency is hypothesized in the format of the linage. As seen in Figures 3.9 and 3.17, the baselines in the cross format are traced at a 45° angle, meaning that letterforms must make up a row at a 45° angle, moving from the right bottom to the left top, then continuing from the top down to the right (clockwise). Apart from the clockwise motion of such linage, in tracing this format of composing or linage, the use of ergonomic features is obvious because in writing on such baseline the performer is more likely to rotate the paper at least 45° to 90° to put the hand in a comfortable posture to perform. In other words, writing in this format of baseline composition not only imposes the general conventions of the human body/anatomy (e.g., rotating the paper to a 45° angle as generally applied in all types of writing or tracing/drawing), but it also seems that the writing in such style of linage necessitates the calligrapher rotating the paper at least 45°; therefore, Chalipa/cross linage presents a palpable use of human efficiency in its composition. This type of linage, used for writing poems consisting of four lines, is generated in the nature of the human body acting and is related to the convention of using ergonomic efficiency that inevitably puts the hand in a position to write that is 45° clockwise (Figures 3.9 and 3.17).

Figure 3.16 A double baseline, performed by Gholamhossein Amirkhani, retrieved from Heravi, 1544 (2008, p. 15)

62 Graphetic analysis

Figure 3.17 A piece of Chalipa (i.e., a common style of Nastaliq composition) performed by Mir Emad Hassani Qazvini (1554–1615); photo taken by the author in Museum of Calligraphy, Qazvin

Getting back to the traditional principles of Nastaliq, using ergonomic efficiency is also hypothesized in the first principle of composition. Compositional rules in Nastaliq calligraphy suggest a set of principles for composing calligraphic letterforms in two phases of partial composition and overall composition. Partial composition refers to regulations in combining letterforms and the interconnections of calligraphic elements (from letters to ornamental elements) in general, while overall composition refers to rules and conventions for juxtaposing calligraphic letterforms on the baseline and the ways of laying out rows and framing them in the page (Ernst, 1992; Baba-Shah Isfahani, 1587, in Ghelichkhani, 1993, 2012; Velayati, 2012). The set of rules related to the number and place of extensive forms of letters in a line and the distance of the first and last character to the baseline are

Graphetic analysis 63 all rooted in the human body and the use of ergonomic efficiency. Compliance with such rules and principles causes a line which favors the tendency of the body and eye (curved row-line based on clockwise movement). These all demonstrate how different conventions derived from the set of principles of Nastaliq calligraphy are rooted or enacted from functions of the human body and how affordance of the body influences the process of performance in which meanings are made or expressed. For instance, in this case, one can mention the rules related to the ways of placing calligraphic forms on the baseline, their distance from each other on a row-line. One rule customarily used to practice Nastaliq that calligraphers always mention and that can be found in traditional calligraphy treatises such as Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587, in Ghelichkhani, 1993, 2012; Ernst, 1992; Velayati, 2012) and Soltan Ali Mashhadi (1437–1520, in Keshavarz, 1977) suggests that the first and the second calligraphic form must be placed slightly above the baseline, not exactly over the assumptive horizontal baseline (Figure 3.11); otherwise, the final row-line will appear as a crooked line that does not go upward. In other words, putting the first and the last characters in a given baseline creates a balanced line of characters with a slight curved motion, so that the eye observes a level and balanced result which goes upward based on clockwise movement. Figure 3.18, for example, shows how setting the calligraphic forms in two different ways causes different results in the overall appearance of the rowline. In the first line, all the characters are put exactly as tangent to the assumptive baseline, while in the second line the traditional principles of composition on baseline are applied (e.g., the first and the last characters

Figure 3.18 Two different ways of approaching calligraphic forms toward the assumptive baseline that result in two different overall appearances of the row-line

64 Graphetic analysis are placed above the baseline); thus, the final result is an equilibrium and a balanced line rather than a wavy or crooked line. I continue with discussion of the third, fourth, and fifth principles of calligraphy: proportion, weakness/thinness, and intensity/strengthens/thickness. Each of these principles determines a set of rules and conventions for performing thick and thin planes in the letterforms. In other words, they refer to thick and thin parts of letterforms, whether individual or combining with each other. As said in old educational treatises such as “Customs in calligraphy” by Baba-Shah Isfahani (in Ghelichkhani, 2012; Shafiee, 1950; Soroush, 1950), weakness or thinness manifests at the end of circular letterforms or at the end of extensive forms of letters, while thickness appears more in long or extensive forms. However, the question here is how ergonomic efficiency in the human body manifests through these two principles. To answer this, these two traditional conventions must be defined. Figure 3.19 shows two individual circular letterforms; following the letter directions from the first point to the end shows how during performance from point 1 to point 2 the shape of the letter changes in terms of thinness and thickness. What happens in the body and hand when working with ink, pen, and paper during this process of performing such letterform, departing from point 1 to point 2? First, at the beginning of the movement, the pressure of the hand is low and accordingly this amount of hand pressure over pen, ink, and paper creates a thin stroke at the beginning of the letterform. As the hand moves ahead and changes the angle of the hand and pen, the pressure of the hand increases and naturally the plane (at the middle of the letterform) is thicker, bulkier, and bolder than the end of the letter when the pressure of the hand and the density of the ink gradually diminish. This procedure also applies to thickness; in a natural way, when the hand or body takes a location by which it has maximum possible pressure, then thick planes are created (Figures 3.19 and 3.20). These examples indicate how the body as

Figure 3.19 Individual circular forms of letters: N/‫ﻥ‬, and H/‫ﺡ‬, produced through Chalipa software

Graphetic analysis 65

Figure 3.20 Individual form of letter B/‫ﺏ‬, created by using ink and reed pen

a constant source of affordance works to create conventions and specific principles in calligraphy. How ergonomic efficiency is used in performing letterforms appears in a set of principles that have been enacted over time. Generally, in a natural manner, as much as hand pressure increases – indeed considering the angle of the reed pen – the thickness of the shape will increase and vice versa. In other words, a maximum of hand pressure makes a maximum of thickness and a minimum use of pressure creates a weaker trace. Tools Getting back to the discussion of ergonomic efficiencies used in enacting calligraphic conventions, in this part, traditional calligraphic principles are considered to understand how ergonomic efficiency manifests in tools. In other words, the study examines how ergonomic efficiency influences the choice of tools and material substance, the manner of using them, and how one can find traces of the body through tools and material substance to understand the traces of the human body in calligraphic conventions. To do so, I first refer to traditional statements by old masters and performers (the traditional calligraphy training system which is common in the present time) regarding the choice of type of pen and the preparation of materials and then the manner of using them in relation to substance to perform letterforms. Reed pen According to Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587) and Soltan Ali Mashhadi (1437–1520), the calligraphy reed pen (qalam)8 must be rounded so that it can be held easily in the hand and feel comfortable. The size of the reed pen must be commensurate with the size of the hand. Evidently, a small hand does not feel comfortable and does not have enough control when holding a large pen. The best reed pen must be hollow, with white inside and red outside, and the main streaks of red must be straight. Although

66 Graphetic analysis each type of writing may require a different size of pen, the standard reed pen must be between 12 and 16 knuckles. Another characteristic of a reed pen is that it must be flexible, not soft and not stiff in terms of its material quality. These characteristics of an appropriate reed pen are related in some ways to the human body and its tendency to employ ergonomic efficiency and in other ways to the nature of the material substance, namely, ink and paper (although paper can be counted in the category of tool, here it is considered a substance because substance is defined as something over which the acting body has control and something that the viewer encounters). There is likely a general consensus that the natural hand is more comfortable with a round pen because a round pen is more accessible and moves more easily than an angled pen. Apart from the physical features of the pen that manifest the use of ergonomic features of the body (or manifest traces of the human anatomy in using the tool), one must also examine the preparation of the pen, including cutting, lathing, and rasping the pen, to explain how the body acts in this process to make a suitable tool based on ergonomic factors. Cutting and lathing a reed pen is a separate and important part of calligraphy training and, according to Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587), this process is the half-stage of learning calligraphy, as without good preparation of tools one cannot achieve good performance. I do not intend to open the complex process of cutting the pen and explain how the body acts in this process, but I mention the angle of the reed pen that I call a broad-edged pen as, except for the point, it has a broad edge located between two points that make a 45° angle (Ernst, 1992; Ghelichkhani, 2012; Shafiee, 1950; Soroush, 1950; Velayati, 2012). The angle of the edge is not fixed and constant, meaning that different calligraphers according to their own convenience and habits in holding the pen prepare the reed pen with different angles. Although the angle of the pen’s edge may change in different situations and with different calligraphers, a common angle is used by most calligraphers and accepted as a constant principle or convention among calligraphers. This angle is approximately 45°, which is the same as the broad-edged pen used in Latin calligraphy. In other words, the common angle in creating calligraphic letterforms, or the cross-section of each letterform, in Nastaliq is approximately 45°. However, the calligrapher can change the angle of using the reed pen according to his or her body comfort and accordingly change the angle of the hand motion during writing. Figure 3.21 shows the same letterform with the same angle (cross-section) written with two different angles of a reed pen: As much as the angle of the pen increases, the angle of the hand over the paper decreases to countervail the angle of the cross-section of the letterform that must be created in an approximately 45° angle. However, how does one justify such 45° and why 45°? Another example of letter ‫آ‬/‫[ ا‬a] in Nastaliq can shed light on this discussion; in the letter ‫آ‬/‫ا‬

Graphetic analysis 67

Figure 3.21 Performing letter ‫آ‬/‫[ ا‬a] through using two different reed pens (indeed with two different angles of broad-edged pen) that result in the same angle (cross-section) in the letterform in the case of using two different angles of hand movement (according to the hand comfort of the calligrapher)

[a], one can see a 45° angle at the top and the down part of the shape (Figure 3.22). If this case is considered in favor of performance, meaning one assumes the performance (calligraphic letterforms) as a constant that existed before producing such pen, and then use the reed pen as a variable in this equation, one can say that the letterform ‫آ‬/‫[ ا‬a] can be performed with a broad-edged pen with a 0° angle. In this case, one can talk about the pen and the use of ergonomic efficiency in preparing and using the pen in performing letterforms. Thus, assuming that the letter ‫آ‬/‫[ ا‬a] can be traced with a pen edge at 0°, one has to consider the changing angle of the hand, the way of holding the pen, and the angle of the pad and paper on which the calligrapher writes. All these changes impose an inconvenient and uncomfortable posture on the calligrapher while performing the letterform. In other words, performing such letterform with this angle at the top and downward slope of the letter with a 0° angled pen is possible, but not easy and not consistent with the anatomy of the human body. If one compares performing the letter once with a 45° angled pen and once with a 0° angled pen, one will discover how the hand and whole body engage with the process of performing and that the calligrapher is compelled by unnatural and

68 Graphetic analysis

Figure 3.22 Letter ‫ﺁ‬/‫[ ﺍ‬a]

uncomfortable postures to perform the letter with a 0° angled pen. Normally, in a natural posture, when the hand holds a pen (whether a pointed pen like a ballpoint or a broad-edged pen), in right-handed people, the hand follows an oblique angle to make the trace. In other words, in handwriting, normally the hand holds the pen so that it makes an oblique angle with the paper and eventually moves in an oblique way when tracing lines. This is because the human body is prone to curved lines rather than straight lines. In casual handwriting, one rarely sees straight and controlled lines. This is because of the habit and tendency of the human body to hold a pen at a 45° angle to the paper (usually the hand posture is not parallel or perpendicular to the vertical side of the paper) and shows how such conventional consensus is based on the anatomy of the body. According to this general convention, it seems that the choice of a 45° angle for cutting the edge of the pen can be justified based on both ergonomic efficiency and the principles of calligraphy. If one uses a broadedged pen without an angle (0° angle) and holds the pen according to the style of holding (same position used in handwriting), the broad-edged

Graphetic analysis 69 pen will not be able to trace lines or shapes as it will be in a position that makes a 0° angle with the paper, so that the broad edge of the pen will be tangential or coincidental on the vertical side of the paper. In this position, the pen will not move or will hardly move unless the calligrapher puts the hand in the posture despite the natural tendency of the human body. Paper Paper is another point to consider regarding the general conventions of ergonomic efficiency. As Isfahani (1587) mentions, the best paper for Nastaliq calligraphy is paper with less grain, paper with a low-destiny grain, or light paper (in Ghelichkhani, 2012; Shafiee, 1950; Velayati, 2012). Glossy paper is appropriate for Nastaliq calligraphy because the reed pen and ink can slip over it. Although the body also acts in preparing the paper in the traditional style of training in Nastaliq calligraphy, and of course makes conventions in choosing particular tools and using them, I skip from the traditional ways of preparing particular paper because of the limited scope of the study. However, using such paper is a kind of convention even though writing on rough, thick, or coarse paper is also possible but against conventions and ergonomic efficiency. Coarse paper absorbs ink quickly and spreads ink; this leads to rapid exhaustion of the ink nib of the pen and therefore makes tracing, especially extensive letterforms, difficult. In the traditional way, the performer or calligrapher prepares the paper with specific means and tools and arranges the extent of thinness or thickness. Glossy paper is comfortable not only for moving pen and ink but also for moving the hand quickly and conveniently during performance. The tradition of Nastaliq contains principles and conventions for preparing the color of paper. According to tradition, the paper should not be absolutely white because the high contrast of black ink over pure white color offends the eyes of the performer, especially in long-term training and practicing, so it is better not to use such paper. This shows how the body and tradition impress the set of conventions in calligraphy and how such conventional principles lead to graphical conventions. In discussing the body and its influence on conventional principles in calligraphy, one cannot overlook that tools also impose restrictions on the body. For example, different sizes of pen need different positions of the body, and different density of ink imposes various restrictions on the body’s posture. For example, when using a large pen to perform an inscription (or epigraph), the scope of the body moving is wider than when using a small pen, where movement is limited to the fingers and wrist. In writing with a large reed pen, the range of motion of the body can even go beyond the arms.

70 Graphetic analysis Note that all traditional conventions in Nastaliq calligraphy, especially those related to the body and its limitations, lead to casual handwriting as the conventions are closely associated with the anatomy of the human body. The set of conventions related to position and posture of the body in casual handwriting applies in Nastaliq calligraphy. Traces and lines performed in casual handwriting are more ergonomic and natural motions of the body (displaying natural motions and movements of the human body). For instance, the high level of circles (in comparison to straight lines), no straight movements, oblique angles (normally 45°), whether used in the process of performance or preparation of the reed pen (cutting the broad edge of pen), and posture of the hand in Nastaliq are all ergonomically efficient. Casual handwriting and manually written calligraphic forms are based on the ergonomic efficiency of the body. Given this, the graphic conventions in general are originally derived from handwriting, so it is not wrong to say that graphic conventions are also the offspring of calligraphy or, in other words, the conventions used in graphics lead to the principles of calligraphy and vice versa. One point regarding plane as a principle in the set of conventions of Nastaliq calligraphy is that although there are separate principles and of course conventions regarding planes and straight lines in Nastaliq, one cannot say that there is any plane in which all lines are absolutely straight; even the plane forms in Nastaliq calligraphy comprise at least one curved or nonstraight line. Moreover, as mentioned in the first section (experimental part), it is not easy to separate the straight lines and non-straight lines in a heterogeneous shape in Nastaliq letterforms.

Control as the third general convention of graphic form related to the human body Another general convention in the graphic articulation system proposed by Johannessen is “control.” To examine Nastaliq principles categorized under this general convention, which is related to the body, first one must define control, especially in connection to the human body. As Johannessen says, Control is crucial in the tracing of graphic lines. In order to have ‘a steady hand’ many people tend to rest or side some part of the hand or arms on the surface they work on. Such support restricts the possible fluctuation of the movement and reduces the elements of fatigueinduced muscle … (2010, p. 125) So, according to this definition, to perform any graphic lines, the performer needs a backrest to provide support to control the body’s motion. One example of such support is the tendency of the human body to rest some part of the hand over the surface (e.g., of paper). Comparing this

Graphetic analysis 71 proposition to Nastaliq, one can see that resting the hand over paper while performing also applies as a constant factor in Nastaliq calligraphy. Placing the hand over paper or using the hand for support depends on the size of the pen and even the quality of the paper, or it changes based on tools and material substance. Moreover, each type of performance (in terms of type of row-line) demands specific hand support or hand rest. For instance, in using a small pen, a large part of the hand is placed on the surface, whereas when using a large pen, normally the bottom four fingers are placed on the paper because as the size of the pen used is larger, the part of the hand resting over the paper is smaller. In other words, as the size of the pen increases, the scope of the hand motions increases, and eventually the backrest of the hand changes. Regarding the different styles of writing in Nastaliq, Chalipa (with four baselines) requires different hand support with a double baseline style. Overall, the convention of control (especially regarding the hand backrest) can be generalized to all types of hand tracing and even any other tracing with synthesizing tools, but what causes differences is using different tools and substance materials, as well as the style of performance. Johannessen’s definition suggests something general in all types of hand tracing: following systematic and targeted principles, such as writing and calligraphy. However, the definition of control in connection with Nastaliq is not limited to resting the hand when tracing. To achieve a steady hand, a graphic designer may change the angle of the paper, perhaps rotating the paper 180° to fulfill a shape or integrate a line. Unlike the usual style, a graphist may use different sizes of pens while drawing a heterogeneous shape or change body position several times to draw a single form. However, in calligraphic letterforms of Nastaliq, though the general convention of control applies, as in graphic signifiers, there is no possibility to freely change position or posture of the body and hand or to use different sizes of pen in performing a heterogeneous integrated letterform. In Nastaliq calligraphy, the posture of the body is rather stable (otherwise, creating such letterforms at this level of balance, discipline, and equilibrium is almost impossible) because letterforms and compositions in Nastaliq are disciplined and consistent with a set of conventions developed over time. Principles that work in shaping letterforms are rather constant and more accurate than principles used in graphical signifiers. In other words, although traditional principles of Nastaliq fit general conventions of graphics such as ergonomic efficiency of the human body, they are disciplined and stable in their own right. For example, although all traditional rules related to body, pen, paper, and ink enacted to perform such letterform are compatible with the general convention of graphic signifiers, in Nastaliq calligraphy, they are stable and rather fixed. In essence, Nastaliq is a highly disciplined type of Islamic calligraphy with many conventions and principles in performing, but all these conventions conform to the general conventions applied in all types of graphic elements.

72 Graphetic analysis The fixed sizes of letterforms when using a determined size of reed pen (the widest part of a letterform must be the size of the pen used), the emphasis on symmetry between the same performed letterforms (even though exact symmetry is impossible), and the measure of letters based on dots as a criterion or yardstick all corroborate the point that Nastaliq principles, especially in the use of tools and body position, are more limited than for graphic signifiers. For example, if a graphist intends to perform manually a form like the letter ‫[ ب‬b] (Figure 3.23), he or she can use a brush, pen, or pencil, even a nib pen, to fulfill the shape, and rotating the paper (to take an easy position for the body) at any angle will be possible. However, in performing this letter in Nastaliq with a reed pen, the performer cannot rotate the paper using different angles or freely change the angle of the paper because the angle of the hand must stay in accordance with the angle of the pen (45°), and this results in an unfavorable letterform that is not smooth or uniform. In short, in Nastaliq calligraphy, there is no possibility to perform (write letterforms) from left to right (i.e., the reverse or upside-down performing of letters with a reed pen that imposes specific restrictions is impossible). Another point regarding control in Nastaliq is that the comeback is not possible; during performance, going back to the previous motion and amendment is impossible. This means that rectification of monolith letterforms by returning to previous movements of the tool is impossible, as the body and hand make a unique movement in a range of time. I will analyze hand movements in Nastaliq performance in later sections (see Figure 3.24; this letterform is normally performed with three movements, from right to left). If the performer makes a mistake in the first movement, for example, rectifying the shape by returning to the previous movement and redoing the shape is impossible as it will create a lopsided shape, considering the disciplined principles of performance and the properties of the reed pen and material substance as well. Indeed, specific features of tools used in Nastaliq are also effective in making this irreparability of letterforms.

Figure 3.23 The extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b]

Graphetic analysis 73

Figure 3.24 Individual form of letter ‫ﯼ‬/[Y] performed through three movements

Preparation of tools, material substance, and repeated frequent practice are all effective in achieving a steady controlled hand. This is why the traditional principles place special emphasis on practice and rehearsal, so that acceptable implementation requires extensive exercise. In essence, an important principle in Persian calligraphy is practice, continuance, and repetition, which eventually result in a habit of body which indeed makes for a more controlled and steady hand. In fact, as calligraphers say, competence in Nastaliq is the result of unremitting practice, a process of trial and error over time.

The coordination between hand and eye as the fourth general convention in graphic form As the fourth common convention in graphics articulation, Johannessen (2010) mentions the relationship of hand and eye while tracing lines. In this meaning, the line of sight between the eyes and hand must remain unbroken; otherwise, it will result in a broken or fragmented line or trace (p. 126). In this sense, the flow of a traced line is related to the flow – visually created – between eye and hand. To understand how this can be manifested and apply in Nastaliq performance, refer to the example ‫[ ب‬b] (Figure 3.23). In the letter ‫[ ب‬b] (extensive form), while tracing from the point of departure to the last point, eye movement is important. Between this course of tracing, there is another point (point 3, when the hand must be taken off

74 Graphetic analysis the paper to replenish the ink), which is also engaged in the flow tracking of eye movement. In simple words, the final point of departure in a letter is a crucial point in that it can be considered a director of the eye during tracing. This means that the eye must always run ahead of previous points or be ahead of implemented parts of the letterform. Otherwise, if the eye stays on the point of departure (point 1) or runs with the motion of the pen (i.e., does not run ahead of the motion of the pen), running synchronically with the pen, then the line of sight between eye and hand will be flawed and eventually will cause crooked tracks in the letterform. The sense of such convention specifically manifests itself in the set of principles and advice in training for Nastaliq calligraphy. In the manner of Nastaliq training, two methods are defined for practice and exercise. These two methods, normally recommended to students, are theoretical practice and visionary practice. According to Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587), theoretical practice involves perusing and studying a piece created by a master in calligraphy to become familiar with the spiritual qualities of the calligraphy and inhibit the calligrapher from scrawling; moreover, such practice ensures speed in writing (in Ghelichkhani, 2012, p. 22). In visionary practice, the student is advised to perform imaginary practice without tools by viewing works performed by Nastaliq masters and traditional calligraphers in this field and scrutinizing the motions and intricacies of performance. All kinds of practice, actual, theoretical, and visual, are connected to the body. Moreover, in his short treatise on calligraphy, Isfahani (1587, e.g., in Ghelichkhani, 2012) mentions that a beginner in calligraphy is first obliged to perform visionary practice to enjoy visual concinnity of the calligraphy and then to act with a pen. In essence, visual literacy as a crucial factor in performing has a higher level of priority than practical literacy in calligraphy. This shows the importance of the eye and its priority in acting with a tool. In visionary practice, the hand is moving (in a virtual way without using tool or material) at the same time that the eyes are looking at the letterforms; the point finger normally is expected to move and follow the traces (which are seen while sighting the calligraphic forms) and make invisible imaginary traces of what the eye sees. In essence, this kind of practice suggests a way to coordinate hand and eye in performing letterforms; practice is required to become familiar with the correct forms in Nastaliq, to recognize perfectly correct compositional styles, and to improve the overall visual literacy of students who are learning calligraphy. Another point in relation to the coordination of eye and hand is the practical and visionary practices that are considered complementary and interdependent in traditional principles. In this sense, the body and mind are correlated. In essence, with regard to the fixed principles in performing letterforms, what causes creativity in, for example, producing a new style of composition is coordination of body and mind.

Graphetic analysis 75

Body-support as the fifth common convention in graphic signifiers The final common convention Johannessen (2010, p. 126) suggests regarding graphic signifiers as the support that the body provides while tracing lines. In this meaning, generally, when people draw lines, the parts of their body (like some parts of their hand) normally are connected to the surface of the paper so that these parts provide a kind of support for the whole work that, for instance, prevents disturbing fresh pigments and ink on the paper. This general convention obviously applies when the hand offers a kind of support during tracing that prevents the spreading of ink over paper. Following are special points in the principles of Nastaliq particularly related to this convention, namely, offering the body support: (1) The way of replenishing ink during performance, or the way of using ink as a tool, must consider that the amount of ink used during performance is changeable based on the quality of the paper, reed pen, and what is being traced. (2) Performing different parts of a heterogeneous letter shape requires different pressure of the hand and eventually the pen over paper. So, the skill of the hand in offering specific support according to a specific situation is important. (3) Punctuation is normally done after performing all letterforms and a whole row-line. This stops the contact of the hand with freshly inked characters on the paper and prevents scattering ink on the paper. (4) Usually for testing and checking the amount of ink in the point of the pen, the performer traces a dot and a small tiny line at the beginning of a row, before starting the main performance. Moreover, this work is also done to test the size or width of the nib to provide a benchmark for measuring the size of letterforms. As a result, one can say that affordance of the body in the generation of calligraphy makes it a field of fine art, and adopting letterforms as graphic signifiers with specific characteristics is the most important factor. As Johannessen (2010) emphasizes, this must be considered an important factor if one intends to “understand graphic conventions” (p. 126). It is obvious that discussion of traditional calligraphic conventions does not make sense without talking about and engaging with body affordance. As mentioned earlier, the body as a constant factor in graphic articulation is influential not only in performance but also in tools and material substance, so in the next section on tools and substance, I address the body, its conventions, and its relationship with tools and material substance. A unique feature of Nastaliq calligraphy that distinguishes Nastaliq forms from other visual forms, such as graphic signifiers, is its connection with the natural motion of the body. In other words, it resembles handwriting. Although today with digital technologies, digital tools like Chalipa software

76 Graphetic analysis have been produced to perform calligraphic letterforms and to make typographical works such as posters, logos, and book titles, these kinds of tools can never replace manual tools such as reed pens as they cannot create the effects and sense available in hand-produced visual works. The type of dynamism and motion in hand-produced calligraphy, wavy motions and the flow and fluidity, exist in handwritten calligraphic letterforms but cannot be displayed by software like Chalipa, even though there is a human hand in any digitalized or synthesized digital tool, and the human body has been involved, albeit indirectly, in the process of performing. Digital tools like Chalipa software are useful in that they can create letterforms of a uniform size, so that they make simple forms easily analyzable into simple shapes, as they omit the natural small motions of the hand during performance. In other words, such software, while omitting the intricacies and playful motions created in hand-produced works, produces letterforms based on the main principles of Nastaliq. Thus, this provides an opportunity to use the simplest form of letters, regardless of any cumbersome intricacies of the hand, to measure the number of circles and planes (as used in the experimental section). In Nastaliq calligraphy, the differences between two calligraphers’ calligraphic works come from tiny delicacies and motions of each calligrapher in using the hand and body, which sometimes results in different styles of writing. However, these differences that may create personal styles of writing are not apparent to ordinary people, but those who are familiar with Nastaliq forms can distinguish them. As a result, one can say that the main important factor of affordance in performance is the body, which plays a bigger role than any other factor of substance or tool. Pioneers of Nastaliq (e.g., Soltan Ali Mashhadi 1437–1520, Baba-Shah Isfahani 1587) have stated that the integrity and perfection of calligraphy stem from training the body and hand by practice and repetition. Tool The second effective factor in articulation of graphics according to the theory of graphetic articulation is the tool. According to Johannessen (2010), “a theory of graphetics must somehow be able to distinguish between the affordances of different tools, as a steel-nib pen and a ballpoint pen afford different movements and body postures” (p. 127). In this respect, a wooden reed pen (the main tool of Nastaliq) functions differently and has its own specific affordances and effects. One of the restrictions of using a nib pen, for example, is that it imposes on the body a 20°–25° angle; otherwise, it will not work and ink will not spread over the paper. This is unlike the use of a ballpoint, which must be held at less than 60°; otherwise, it does not work. Indeed, this theory applies to the reed pen, which imposes conventions on the body and hand. Therefore, to examine tools, one must deal with the body. In essence, tools, by their specific functions, impose particular conventions on

Graphetic analysis 77 the body, but at the same time the body influences the use of particular tools, for instance, by the set of conventions and rules enacted based on human anatomy and ergonomic efficiency.

Pen The main tool of Nastaliq calligraphy is the reed pen. The first point to understand is that the reed pen is not an omni-directional tool like a ballpoint. This means that it can only move in a specific direction, not at any angle or direction. If, for example, one moves it differently from the top down, down up, or left to right, because of its quality, the bumps and veins of the wood will stick to the tissue of the paper and the pen will cease to move smoothly upon the paper. These specific characteristics need specific postures of the body. In other words, the tools used in Nastaliq calligraphy, like other tools, have a specific nature and, therefore, impose specific conventions on the body. In Nastaliq, as mentioned earlier, preparation of tools and material substance requires body action. In this process, affordance of the body influences the quality of the tool prepared. In this respect, ergonomic efficiencies in using the body influence the preparation of tools and, based on human anatomy and ergonomics, some conventions and norms have been enacted with regard to tools. In their treatises, almost all the old masters of Nastaliq calligraphy dedicate a separate chapter to tool preparation. Although there are different tools in the traditional style of Nastaliq writing, such as cutter, inkstand, woven silk, ink, and paper, the main tool upon which this study will focus is the reed pen and the principles and conventions in its preparation. In some traditional treatises like those of Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587, in Ghelichkhani, 2012, pp. 25–26; Velayati, 2012, pp. 75–78), Soltan Ali Mashhadi (1437–1520, in Keshavarz, 1977), and Yaghoot Mostasami (1298, in Aghdashloo, 2013, p. 178), learning how to cut a pen is considered half the training in calligraphy because the pen is regarded as the most influential factor in creating a perfect work ‒ a tool that is directly connected with the hand ‒ and its quality is crucial in performance. The quality of the wood of the reed pen, the size, and the angle of its point or edge are influential in creating the type of letterforms, quality, and modality of each letterform and eventually differences are created in performance. Although ink and paper are both also placed in the category of tool according to classifications of tools in traditional Nastaliq rules, this study will address paper and ink in the section on substance because, according to the definition of substance in graphetic theory of articulation, it is something with which tool (pen) and body (hand) act. As Johannessen mentions, … differences, which make communicative differences, are always made in the material world of substances. A performer always does something

78 Graphetic analysis with his or her body, which somehow changes the world. Conversely, a perceiver always encounters some substance, the qualities of which give cause to his or her perception. (2010, p. 129) Therefore, based on this definition, paper and ink is thought of as something upon which the body by the pen acts, and it directly communicates with readers. Calligraphic Nastaliq pens, based on habitat (place of growing), size, color, and style of cutting or lathing, differ, but it seems redundant to investigate all types of reed pens, as the scope of the study does not allow for doing so. Thus, I only consider the affordance of the pen according to the definition of graphetic articulation; I focus on what the tools do and how they do it, not on what they are. Therefore, I examine the pen with respect to its connection to the principles used in performance to understand how it works, how it functions, and how it affords in relation to the body. What effects does it have on other factors of affordance, namely, body and substance, and what kind of convention does it cause? What kinds of ergonomic efficiencies are used in the preparation of reed pens (i.e., in the process of cutting) in relation to the body? Such questions are more productive than talking merely about what the reed pen is or categorizing different types of pens. In short, examining the process in which a reed pen is prepared based on specific conventions that are themselves generated by the human body’s limitations and restrictions, then in connection with the hand (body) acting upon a substance (ink and paper), then in creating communicative events is more efficient. In essence, talking about each factor of affordance alone without engaging the other factors is impossible. In fact, in the process of making communicative differences, one cannot distinguish and separately examine factors of affordance, as the process is somehow a compact of the three factors of body and the substance. This result recalls Gibson’s (1986[1979]) statement that “the absolute duality of objective and subjective is false, when we consider the affordance of things, we escape this philosophical dichotomy” (in Johannessen, 2010, p. 127). Therefore, discussion of the pen without discussion of body action, whether in preparation of the pen or performance, seems useless. In other words, there is no absolute border between the body and the tool as they mutually influence each other; a kind of interaction exists between the body and the tool. In traditional principles, the pen is produced and called a pen only after it has been trimmed in a specific way. In this respect, the pen not only acts on paper and performs letterforms, but it also shapes movements of the body. For example, a specific style of cutting a reed pen imposes restrictions and conventions on the body in holding the pen in such a way that it is useful in tracing, taking a particular posture to hold the pen for better moving of ink over paper or ceasing to spread ink on paper.

Graphetic analysis 79 However, recalling the intentions of this study, I will pursue conventions and norms used as principles of Nastaliq which have been enacted over time and compare them with general basic conventions used in graphic signifiers in accordance with graphetic articulation theory. Regardless of the different types of reed pens, different sizes (different radiuses) are used for different types of writing. In Isfahani’s (1587) treatise, six sizes are categorized based on the dot created by each pen and based on their proportion and appropriation for specific forms of writing in Nastaliq calligraphy. The six divisions of the reed pen change from the smallest size (i.e., Ghobar, which varies between the smallest possible size and 0.5 millimeters) and 2 centimeters (i.e., Jali, which varies between 6 millimeters and 2 centimeters). Thus, I will mention traditional principles that are related to the pen as the main tool in Nastaliq calligraphy, whether related to the ways of lathing/cutting or related to its use in writing letterforms: (1) Different sizes of pen are applied for different types of writing in Nastaliq calligraphy; for example, a small pen is usually used for long texts such as books, letters, epistles, or in past writing rules. In writing short texts such as inscriptions or epigraphs, a big pen is used. (2) The unit for measuring pen size, and accordingly the size of letterforms, is the size of the dot created by the pen. For instance, the letter ‫آ‬/‫[ ا‬a] (Figure 3.25), according to principles, must include between three and four dots created by the pen with which it is written.

Figure 3.25 Measuring the form of the letter ‫ﺍ‬/‫[ ﺁ‬a] through using dot as a standard criterion/indicator

80 Graphetic analysis (3) In scribing or writing long texts where a small pen is normally used, the square of the pen must be lathed in a longer size than when using a large pen to create a big inscription (Figure 3.26). In other words, as much as the small pen is used, the square of the pen must be cut longer. This is because as the pen is smaller, the scope of hand movement is limited, so when the square of the reed pen is longer, moving it on paper because of its flexibility is easier than with a short square. When working with a small pen, the scope of hand movements is limited to motion of the fingers. With a long square of the reed pen, especially if the quality of the pen is good in terms of flexibility, the body will be in a more convenient position than if a small pen with a short square is prepared. This is related to the convention that refers to ergonomic efficiency in using and preparing tools. (4) The square of the reed pen must be cut so that it matches the size of the second knuckle of the middle finger of the hand. This also refers to ergonomic efficiency in preparing tools because a pen actually is held by

Figure 3.26 Different sectors of the Nastaliq reed pen

Graphetic analysis 81 the index finger and thumb, while it relies on the long finger as a backrest for the pen, during writing. In fact, the square of the pen is cut to the size of the knuckle of the backrest, thus creating a balance between hand and pen which results in an easy way to move the hand for acting by pen over paper. Actually, the starting point of cutting the reed pen affords a surface that meets with the first joint of the middle finger and eventually creates a balance, so that during tracing (especially performing extensive letterforms) the hand can act more securely. In essence, this rule in cutting reed leads to easy hand movement and puts the hand in a convenient and comfortable position to act. (5) The crotch of the pen is a track that must be created in the middle of the width of the pen, between the two sharp points of the pen (or between the broad edges of the pen) (Figure 3.27). This crotch, especially for big pens, is used for better movement and flow of the ink in the tip of the pen. Moreover, it helps to easily transfer ink to paper. As the stiffness of the reed pen grows, the slip must be longer. This rule in pen trimming refers to the nature of tools and different affordances to create differences in communicative events. In addition, it refers to the general convention in graphic signifiers mentioned earlier, namely, control. Here, making a slit helps to achieve better control of pen and ink flow. On the other hand, it refers to another general convention, namely, affordance of the body, to provide the kind of support that prevents ink spilling on paper. Actually, the rules of pen cutting are in some sense parallel to conventions related to the body in that they are related to the control and ergonomic efficiency that provide a convenient way for the body to act. (6) Choosing the quality of the wood for the reed pen is also important. According to traditional conventions, a reed pen must be in the middle level of hardness and softness, not too hard, not too soft, not too thick or too thin. Rather, it must be flexible and without any twists and knots. Its length and width should not exceed more than 12 hand knuckles and the index finger. The size of the pen after trimming should not exceed a hand span, so it must be proportional to the size of the calligrapher’s hand. These principles of pen influence performance. For instance, performing extensive letterforms with a pen which has streaks and significant grain is difficult. Moreover, as the pen passes over the grain of the paper during tracing, the ink will be quickly absorbed, so that for extensive letterforms, the number of ink replenishments will increase and the fluidity of the letter will decrease. (7) Pilling up the back of the pen (Figure 3.27) is another principle in trimming a reed pen, which is applied especially on large hard reed pens. In this stage, the shell or crust of the back pen is pilled to stop ink from seeping into the paper. In essence, this action provides a stand for the ink to avoid having it abruptly fall onto the paper. This convention also can be placed in the category of control convention.

82 Graphetic analysis (8) Another crucial stage in pen trimming is cutting the edge (point) of the reed pen (Figures 3.26 and 3.28). According to Yaghoot Mostasami (1298, in Aghdashloo, 2013), the ways of cutting the edge of a pen differ based on the calligrapher’s intentions and the type of calligraphy, as different pens with different angles result in different actions and eventually different “communicative events” (Johannessen, 2010). As mentioned earlier, the angle of the edge in Nastaliq must be between 30° and 45°. Indeed, the principles and tips suggested in the traditional set of conventions in Nastaliq are all consistent with the body, showing how the body poses in the generation of such conventions and principles, especially when using ergonomic efficiency to be closer to human anatomy. In his theory of graphetic articulation, Johannessen refers to the categories of tools classified by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996). They characterize different tools based on the extent of the body’s control over them or, in other words, based on the influence of the body over tools and the different spaces that they create. In this respect, the manual reed pen as a main tool in Nastaliq calligraphy is in close relation to the body, as it is coherent to the body in both processes of preparation and performance. Therefore, manually producing the calligraphy of Nastaliq is closer to the bodily

Figure 3.27 The back sectors of the Nastaliq reed pen

Figure 3.28 Different sectors of the edge-cross of the reed pen; each area is applicable in writing particular parts of a given letterform, during the process of tracing

Graphetic analysis 83 motions and human anatomy than a Nastaliq work created by Chalipa software, which is considered a synthesizing tool (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 1996, p. 217). Another point that must be mentioned in relation to tools is fluency according to the traditional principles of Nastaliq. As a general point in Nastaliq and in all types of visual arts, practice, continuity, and repetition are considered constant advice in training. The tenth principle from the traditional set of principles, namely, doctrine, is when the calligrapher reaches a level in which all nine main principles of performing have been passed. This stage actually refers to a level by which the calligrapher has become fluent in using the tools and materials to perform letterforms. After reaching this level of skill and fluency, there are still two more levels, dignity and satisfaction, in which the calligrapher frees himself or herself from past principles to demonstrate creativity in new compositions or playfulness, creating ornamentations and intricacies. This does not mean that the calligrapher abandons or disregards all principles of performance; rather, it means that, at this level, the calligrapher becomes fluent in using specific tools and acting over material substance. Thus, at these levels, the body (hand) unconsciously uses the tool in a perfect way, thereby creating acceptable work. There is no need to think at the moment of using the tools and tracing because of the calligrapher’s skill and dexterity. At this level of fluidity, the tool has faded for the calligrapher, so that the body is in a direct relationship with the final artifact. As Johannessen (2010) quotes from Andy Clark (2008), the performer can “become fluent in the use of tools to an extent that the tool is transparent to them” (p. 128). Here is the level at which “the use of tool requires no conscious thought” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 128). This is comparable to the level of dignity and satisfaction in the set of conventions of Nastaliq. When the calligrapher becomes perfectly fluent and skillful in using tools and material, learns all ten principles, and applies them in practice, then the tools fade and only the body remains in relation to the substance. This is also the level at which the personality of the calligrapher (artist) emerges or manifests in the artifacts. As different personal styles in visual arts and innovation actually occur when the performer is on good terms with the tool or, in other words, when the calligrapher, due to continuous training and practice, makes a balance between body and tool, by which the body acts without conscious thought upon the substance. Another point that must be mentioned in discussion of the relationship of body and tool is that cultural restrictions and limitations and social norms are influential in choosing tools and materials in a specific field of visual artifact. This means, for instance, that using a reed pen and ink with a specific style of cutting in some sense goes back to cultural background rather than saying, for example, that Persian people because of a specific type of anatomy decided to use such kind of tools and materials. Moreover, undoubtedly, the nature and environmental aspects are not ineffective. In

84 Graphetic analysis other words, in the choice of tools and the relevant conventions, one cannot omit social cultural history that imposes restrictions in choosing tools. A final point that can be related to tools is the discussion of monolithity and integration in Nastaliq letterforms. As mentioned earlier, one characteristic of Nastaliq calligraphy is that letterforms are not correctable, which means that, according to the traditional principles of Nastaliq, there is no opportunity to remedy or correct errors when tracing a letterform. In fact, a specific tool, the reed pen as a manual tool, directly corresponds to the body and is influential in generating such convention. As Johannessen states, tracing lines with a manual tool takes more time, effort, and precision than tracing with a digital tool such as Adobe Illustrator. In such process of tracing, coordination between eye and hand occurs so that shapes and lines are created as a “result of continuous error[s] and correction[s]” (2010, p. 131). In this meaning, as a general convention, the human hand can never follow a perfect unruffled path. In this respect, full and perfect implementation occurs when a skillful and fluent calligrapher makes the lowest rate of error in a range of time. This general convention also applies to Nastaliq calligraphy; there are never two symmetrical and equal performances of the same letter by the same calligrapher at two different times. This means that two performances of the same letter by the same calligrapher (though with a skilled hand) can never be exactly the same as two symmetrical forms; there are at least some nuances between them. This is why in the Nastaliq principles of learning, much advice stresses the importance of unremitting practice to decrease the amount of errors in hand movement. Recalling the intention in this chapter, a comparative study through theory of articulatory graphetics helps to understand regular calligraphic conventions and the extent of analogy with general conventions of graphic signifiers. Matching or mismatching them with rules and conventions defined in the theory of graphetic articulation helps in understanding how and to what extent traditional calligraphic conventions can lead to graphical conventions and vice versa.

Paper Paper is assumed to be a tool because it is placed in the category of tools in calligraphic traditional articulation of Nastaliq. Although in a sense one can regard paper as substance, as it is something which contacts the reader directly and on which letterforms are depicted, it does have an affordance like ink or flow of air over which the body acts to manipulate it to make communicative differences. However, the paper in Nastaliq, just like the pen, needs to be prepared, so it is directly in touch with the body, whether in preparation or the performance process. In the traditional style of calligraphy, other tools are intended specifically for the preparation of paper, but here I skip them as that discussion is beyond the scope of this chapter. Here, in accordance with the aims of the study, regardless of different types

Graphetic analysis 85 of paper used in Nastaliq and relevant tools for its preparation, I will discuss the affordance of paper, its relationship with the body as a constant factor of affordance, relevant resulting conventions, and its effects on performance. According to traditional treatises by Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587), Mostasami (1298), Soltan Ali Mashhadi (1453–1520), and Ibn Muqla Shirazi (1480–1533), the common characteristics defined for an appropriate paper for calligraphy are that it must be glossy, smooth, and thin, but strong, with low intensity of grain. The set of characteristics shows how people use ergonomic efficiency to choose paper (or prepare paper) considering the type of tool (pen) and material substance (ink). It is obvious that the body takes a more convenient position when acting by reed pen over a paper with such characteristics rather than over rough or coarse paper so that the grains and streaks of the pen are tangled together and cause the hand to cease moving smoothly; plus, rough paper absorbs ink more quickly than smooth, glossy paper. Therefore, the paper defined with such qualities influences substance (ink) when moving over paper and eventually influences the making of various communicative events while tracing letterforms (Aghdashloo, 2013; Ghelichkhani, 2012; Shafiee, 1950; Velayati, 2012). These characteristics that have been enacted as conventions in Nastaliq calligraphy (or any other type of Persian calligraphy) rely on restrictions that the body imposes based on its ergonomic features. An obvious example of using ergonomic efficiency in preparation of paper as a tool is related to choosing the color of paper. In the traditional principles of paper preparation, prohibitions exist against using absolutely white paper because calligraphers once believed that writing on absolutely white paper with black ink would damage the eyes. Therefore, they normally used materials (such as, e.g., henna and saffron( to color the paper (usually to a yellowish or light brown color) and decreased the contrast between white and black (Soltan Ali Mashahdi, 1453–1520 in Baba-Shah Isfahani’s treatise, 1587, in Ghelichkhani, 2012, pp. 27–28). This indicates how traditional conventions enacted over time are generated based on communicative experiences and knowledge of the human body. Before examining calligraphic articulation or calligraphic form through articulatory graphetics, this study examines substance as something upon which the body acts in calligraphy and relevant traditional calligraphic conventions. Substance As mentioned earlier, according to Johannessen (2010), substance is something upon which the body acts with a tool and the perceiver encounters. In this respect, one can say that in the process of making a communicative event (or the performance of a calligraphic work) in which there is a sender (performer) and perceiver (reader) and a medium, namely, a calligraphic letterform, the performer unites his or her body

86 Graphetic analysis and tool, which will be transparent to some extent because of fluency in using the tool, and the perceiver encounters substances (which have been manipulated in the process of performance) “which give causes to his or her perception” (p. 129). In calligraphy, one considers ink, or traditionally blackness, as substance that is manipulated through the body to make a difference in the world (Johannessen, 2010). Regardless of the ingredients of ink and the different traditions for preparing it, the common features of ink specifically used for calligraphy are durability over time, protection from moisture damage, and a glossy black color, normally darker than pencil. One important point regarding the ink is its relationship to the body’s acting during performance, which shows how different communicative events are created during a process in which ink is manipulated by the body. In other words, ink and its manipulation by the body can reveal how different events at various levels are produced by the body acting. In other words, through ink, which manifests in a performed letterform, one can identify the body action/motions or, in short, analyze the communicative events in a calligraphic letterform. Like the example Johannessen (2010) suggests about substance, as in speaking, sounds are produced “by manipulating a flow of air” (p. 121); ink as the raw material of calligraphy is manipulated by the body. In a sense, ink can be considered as a tool because the reed pen is dependent on ink, so it does not make sense without ink as it cannot make any trace alone. Whether as substance or tool, the traditional principles of performance in Nastaliq rely on both ink and restrictions. In other words, traditional calligraphic conventions in performing are somehow related to or based on or came from the limitations that ink (as a substance) imposes on the body. The use of ergonomic efficiency by the body when acting on ink is manifested in the set of traditional principles such as circle, plane, weakness, and strength, especially in performing extensive forms of letters. Moreover, general conventions defined in graphetic articulation, especially control and ergonomic efficiency, apply in the discussion of ink in Nastaliq calligraphy. For instance, the hand must behave in relation to the ink during tracing. Different amounts of hand pressure over the pen and eventually over the ink in making different parts of a letterform, different numbers of ink replenishing in tracing different letterforms, and the proper time and place for retaking ink are all related to the calligrapher’s skill and fluency, which results from training the hand through much practice. For example, in an extensive form of the letter ‫ب‬ [b] (Figure 3.23), during the tracing process, the calligrapher must replenish ink at least two times. Although the number of times the ink is replenished, and the hand is picked up from the paper is not usually chosen randomly, the place and the time of ink replenishing depends on the quality of ink and paper (i.e., the density of ink and roughness of paper). Lots of practice will make the calligrapher fluent in acting with ink so that he or she unconsciously recognizes the right time and place to replenish ink, for instance.

Graphetic analysis 87 Therefore, the ways of treating ink as a substance rely on the human body, as well as the nature of the ink itself and tools (pen and paper), and result in conventions in calligraphic performance which are analogous to the general conventions of graphic articulation. If the grain of paper is heavy, the texture of paper is not appropriate, or if the ink is watery with low density, then naturally the ink will be absorbed by the paper and redundant events may be made by diffusing the ink over the paper. As a result, the quality and the number of micro-events produced in a letterform that eventually cause an overall communicative event are variables that depend on the quality of tools and substance. In other words, in addition to the body as an influential factor in making communicative events, the process of expressing meaning, the potential, depends on substance and material. In short, dividing the three factors of affordance is not possible in practice, and the three factors act as integrative agents in an integrative process to make an integrative meaningful form. In the next section, I will discuss the process of performance to show how the three factors of affordance work together in a letterform and how general conventions in graphic articulation flaunt their presence in letterforms in practice to articulate a communicative event. Moreover, I will show through analysis how traditional principles of Nastaliq resemble conventions applied in graphic signifiers. Factors of affordance in calligraphic performance In his proposed theory of articulatory graphetics, Johannessen (2010) suggests that a graphic signifier can be analyzed on different levels. This means, for example, that each graphic form (e.g., logo, letterform) is rendered in different levels (stages) which are based on “multiple time scales” (p. 131). According to Lemke (2000), quoted by Johannessen (2010), a communicative event is articulated in “multiple time scales” which are defined by different micro events (pp. 131–141). In essence, a letterform as an event occurs in a time scale which is itself divided into several time scales. This integrative communicative event can be broken down into multiple events or several micro events, each of which occurs in a range of time. Lemke (2000, 2015) defines three levels of analysis: macro, meso, and micro. The macro level, L+1, is generally considered a higher level and often covers a longer time scale; especially for calligraphic letterforms, a combination of letterforms (like a word) caused through juxtaposing at least two letterforms can be analyzed at the macro level, L+. A meso level, L, is used to analyze the object of inquiry, here letterforms. The micro level, L–1, which is understood as a lower level of analysis, focuses on tiny segments of the letterforms. Therefore, to analyze the process of making a letterform, one must analyze different constitutive events that occur within different intervals or time spans. According to Johannessen (2010), the process of performance begins “at some points in time” and “at a later time it ends” (p. 131). In this meaning, a communicative event is articulated in a range of time in which there

88 Graphetic analysis

Figure 3.29 Level L displayed in the extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b]

are two points of start and end. Figure 3.29 defines a generic view of the performance process and defines a range of time in which two points mark the beginning and end. This is a broad view of the performance process; it is called level L, meaning, for example, that in an extensive form of the letter ‫[ ب‬b], the letterform begins from point 1 – at a point in time – then after a range of time that may last from seconds to minutes, it will end at point 2 (Figure 3.31). In level L, the process of tracing between times 1 and 2 is limited; there are, of course, smaller ranges of time and thus several micro events can be analyzed at lower levels. According to Johannessen, the level at which one divides a communicative event in the performance process into different sub-events, which are themselves limited in different smaller ranges of time from seconds to hours or days, is called level L–1 (Figure 3.30). In applying level L–1 analysis to calligraphic letterforms, one must consider every hand movement, or every time the hand leaves the paper, as a sub-event. For instance, in level L–1, at least three events are defined, each of which happens in different ranges of time. In this level of analysis, as defined in Figure 3.30 based on the number of times the hand is taken from the paper or on the number of ink replenishments, at least three sub-events exist. However, in addition to the number of hand movements in level L–1, one can also separately apply level L–1 to analyze letterforms based on using pen and ink. In other words, in addition to the body motion that is influential in creating events and sub-events, one can analyze a letterform with the centrality of substance (ink) and tool (reed pen) and distinguish different sub-events and micro events created in the process of performance. For example, in Figure 3.31, the extensive form of the letters (considered an event in level L), one can see that the number of sub-events varies according to the number of ink replenishments and thus the removing of the hand from the paper. In addition to traditional general principles of Nastaliq that determine an approximate number of hand movements to perform each letter, the quality of tools and the substance also affect the rate of subevents in a letterform.

Graphetic analysis 89

Figure 3.30 Level “–L”

Figure 3.31 Various micro events in performing the extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b]

For example, as the density of ink or paper roughness grows, the number of ink replenishments and therefore the number of sub-events increases. For tools and their use, an analysis based on the defined level is more complicated. In analyzing letterforms based on use of the pen, distinguishing sub-events is complex, as in each sub-event one must recognize or segregate different small events that have made a specific part of the reed pen based on various parts of the broad-edged reed pen, as specified in traditional calligraphic principles of

90 Graphetic analysis Nastaliq. For instance, each part of the pen, including the tip or apex (also called the sting), the nib, and other divisions of the edge (1/3, 2/3, or 3/3) are used for tracing different parts of a letterform (Figures 3.26 through 3.28). In forming each letterform like the letter ‫[ ب‬b], as an integrated overall event, different parts of the pen from the tip and nib (3/3) are used to fulfill one part of the event; in other words, each part of the pen creates a sub-event. Thus, numbering these sub-events requires numbering or distinguishing thickness changes during the performance of the letterform. Of course, in this process, the body is also involved as using different parts of the broad edge requires changing the angle of the tool over the paper through hand movement. Figure 3.33 shows how the hand uses different parts of the pen to create sub-events. In the first movement, the hand creates a sub-event, as shown in sub-events 1 and 2, by using the tip and 1/3 of the pen. After this part, the ink will be replenished and the hand taken off the paper, then the angle of the tool over paper will be changed to use another part of the pen, this time with 2/3 of the width of the pen to create events 3, 4, and 5. During tracing, as the pen is moving ahead to fulfill the letterform, the angle of the pen (and naturally the hand) is gradually decreasing until sub-event 6 is made by using the 3/3 width of the pen, and then usually ink is replenished; thereafter, the angle of the pen is again changed to create the last sub-events (Figure 3.32).

Figure 3.32 Using different sectors of the pen during tracing/performing letterforms

Graphetic analysis 91 Another point to mention is the nuance of darkness and light in the duration of a letterform as an integrated event, which causes several micro events in each sub-event by different extents of pressure over the pen from the hand. In essence, changing the pressure of the hand by pen over paper and indeed over substance (i.e., ink) leads to micro events that themselves comprise many other tiny events. Figure 3.33 shows that an event comprising several tiny events is produced by different hand pressures and different densities of ink over substance, which makes an overall event with a specific texture from dark to light or vice versa. This overall textural event with black and white nuance comprises several micro events which can be understood in a lower level (Figure 3.33). Considering that no explicit border exists between micro events, one can move beyond these levels of analysis so that each micro event is considered a distinct event that itself is divided into several other tiny events, which are analyzed at lower levels. Each tiny event also encompasses other subordinated events occurring in different scales of time. This discussion recalls the theory of multimodality in which different modal resources are articulated to make an overall integrative and meaningful text. This is analogous to a communicative event in which several micro events occur in a range of time in collaboration to produce an integrative multimodal form or event. In this respect, the process of performance is considered a multimodal process that results in a multimodal communicative event.

Figure 3.33 An event composed of several tiny events produced by different hand pressures and different densities of ink over substance

92 Graphetic analysis Thus, a specific tool and substance generate specific conventions that result in different communicative events. Particularly in Nastaliq, a set of principles used in performance is generated by relying on specific characteristics of the reed pen, ink, and paper that cause specific events different from other types of communicative events. Another point is that although the manner of analysis Johannessen suggests relies on graphetic articulation applied to the calligraphic letterforms of Nastaliq, one still cannot limit letterforms in the proposed levels in graphic signifiers. Considering the central role of the human body in such type of calligraphy and the high level of dynamism and fluidity in letterforms, distinguishing different events and micro traces and separating them is difficult. Accordingly, in addition to the central and constant role of the body in the whole process, it is also always in a collaboration with the other two factors of affordance, namely, tools and substance. This means that in analyzing a letterform based on the suggested levels, one cannot separate the body acting, the substance, and the tools, as one cannot specifically attribute a convention (in Nastaliq performance) to only one of the three factors. In essence, calligraphic articulation is based on the three agents of affordance that work together in making communicative events.

Summary Based on the theory of articulation Johannessen (2010) suggests, in this chapter I try to draw a self-inclusive calligraphic articulation particularly for Nastaliq calligraphy ‒ or a calligraphic articulation. In other words, in this chapter, I consider calligraphic practices from the perspective of graphetics and examine conventions through the three aspects of acting body, tool, and substance within the dynamic analysis method of “articulatory graphetics,” which is comparable to “articulatory phonetics” and applied to graphic forms to understand the differences in various visual communicative events that they cause and to identify factors that create similarities and differences in communicative events created by graphic trademarks. According to the abstract process of articulation, the calligrapher’s body practices using tools on material substance, resulting in a calligraphic event and making a communicative difference in perceivers’ eyes. The three main factors of body, tool, and substance as sources of affordance facilitate interaction between the human biological system and the environment, influence the biological system, and eventually “influence the potential for expressing meaning” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 122). In essence, to understand communicational events in Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms and the relationships of letterforms and their role in the meaning-making process and subsequent making of communicational events, I use graphetic articulation, which characterizes a general set of principles and conventions that apply in all graphic signifiers. Applying such framework over calligraphic letterforms allows for identifying and characterizing

Graphetic analysis 93 traditional principles of Nastaliq, then characterizing conventions that are bound in material, tools, and acting and proposing a calligraphic articulation. Within the set of traditional principles of Nastaliq, I determine the traces of graphic conventions which are at work in the process of calligraphic performance. Principles within the set of 12 traditional principles in Nastaliq, which are considered doctrine in Nastaliq calligraphy, are analyzed for general conventions defined in graphetic articulation. For example, the first general conventions in the graphetic articulation (i.e., tendency of body toward curved motions) manifest in traditional principles of Nastaliq and these principles refer to the human body. The results achieved through using the theory of articulation are as follows: (1) All principles defined in the traditional system of Nastaliq calligraphy, whether in implementation or preparation of tools and substance, are directly or indirectly related to the body and under the effects of the human body. (2) Some conventions are tied to the system of writing in the Persian language and Iranian cultural aspects (like mysticism). (3) One cannot separate the three factors of affordance from each other; they complement each other while interacting to create communicative events. Accordingly, this chapter supports the assumptions that affiliate Nastaliq letterforms as autonomous graphic forms, interpersonally meaningful in their own structure. Consequently, they are consistent with conventions in graphic phenomena, thus supporting the hypothesis that calligraphic letterforms are analogous to a general universal set of graphic features. The findings of this chapter once again corroborate the authenticity of the traditional notion of Circle and Plane in Nastaliq calligraphy; furthermore, the study demonstrates compatibility between traditional principles of Nastaliq and general principles in graphics. This chapter can be considered a daring step to see calligraphy from a new perspective, not just as an abstract art. However, considering the complexity, dynamism, and delicacy of Nastaliq scripts, this chapter covers only a small part of this territory and captures a teeny part of the broad outline of this intricate and interesting field. Of course, to draw a pervasive articulation and move toward a grammar for calligraphy, one must characterize distinctive features of Nastaliq by investigating semiotic aspects of Nastaliq calligraphy. Therefore, in subsequent chapters, I approach calligraphy through the compound theory of multimodal social semiotics and its relevant subject matters: multimodality, social semiotics, mode, and semiosis of meaning-making.

Notes 1 According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2001), the concept of “experimental meaning potential … refers to the idea that material signifiers have a meaning potential that derives from what it is we do when we articulate them, and from our ability

94 Graphetic analysis

2 3

4 5

6 7

8

to extend our practical experience metaphorically and turn action into knowledge” (2001, p. 22). For the sect of Hurufism, the main way to realize God is word as word is the substantial way to connect to him; this is what connects Hurufism to calligraphy (Aghdashloo, 2006, pp. 142–143). The Nuqtavi cult is based on the notion that the letterforms are linked or can be compared to the human face. In essence, it is a kind of esoteric thought based on which there is a connection between forms of the human face and calligraphic forms, that is, the thought through which phenomenology of the allegorical forms originate (Aghdashloo, 2006, pp. 146–147). Twelve crucial principles of implementation of calligraphy (i.e., composition, baseline, proportion, thickness and thinness, circle and plane, virtual ascent, virtual descent, rhythm, tenet, and dignity). The two principles of tenet and dignity are both related to non-visual qualities of calligraphy and represent the mystical nature of calligraphy so that, as mentioned in the treatise of Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587), only after reaching them can the calligrapher claim to understand the essence of letterforms and calligraphy as a whole. Safa, translated as tenet, is a Sufi term that has been repeated in mystical texts and means the purity of the nature that avoids indecent and reprehensible traits. To achieve this level or property in calligraphy, according to Baba-Shah Isfahani, the calligrapher must refine his or her immaterial inside from earthly bounds. According to Babashah Isfahani, practicing calligraphy is the only way for a calligrapher to go on a mystical journey and its main purpose is the manifestation of God to the mystic/calligrapher, which is reached at the level of tenet/ Safa. After this stage is the stage of dignity in which creativity, innovation, and individuality can emerge in the calligrapher. Savad and Bayaz/Black and Blank, as discussed in previous chapters, refers to observing and measuring the quality of balance between blackness and blankness created in a calligraphic work. Tashmir in the Persian language literally is translated in English as Anasyrma and as mentioned in the dictionary of calligraphy by Ghelichkhani (2008), it refers to slenderizing or narrowing the ending of the circular letterforms in Nastaliq calligraphy, such as ‫ ن‬,‫ ل‬,‫ ی‬,‫( ص‬p. 90). In this meaning, Tashmir means wrap up and refers to the way of performing the endings of the letterform in a fine and delicate manner. Here, pen (qalam) refers to the specific type of reed pen that is particularly used in Nastaliq calligraphy and obtained through cutting and shaping a reed or piece of bamboo.

4

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy

This chapter, which is tightly attached to the next chapter, employs a multimodal social semiotic perspective through which I regard Nastaliq calligraphy not merely as a visual art or sub-branch of the fine arts, nor as a timeworn phenomenon in an obscure corner of the arts, but as an autonomous self-determining system that has been shaped in a specific social context with its own specific rules and principles in meaningmaking. In other words, this chapter considers calligraphy in a way that goes beyond pure aesthetics in the visual fine arts and sees it as a distinct system of meaning-making that functions in its own right. Relying on the theory of multimodal social semiotics, I examine the Nastaliq system of calligraphy as a whole and then each of its visual elements in detail. I apply the core values and concepts of social semiotic theory to describe the regulation system of Nastaliq, theorize a distinct semiotic system, and finally propose a structural framework and a grammar for this organizational system of semiotic resources. During the process of examination, the traditional principles of Nastaliq, which apply to perform letterforms, as described in the previous chapter, are considered in identifying the visual elements and characteristics and while establishing the overall theory of Nastaliq. Moreover, the principles connected to the spiritual and moral essences of Nastaliq, which I refer to as meta-vision principles,1 are also considered when describing the communicational process and the interaction among calligraphic work, the calligrapher, and the audience. In essence, the set of traditional principles used in performing Nastaliq calligraphic forms, as well as the associated tools and materials, facilitate our examination and understanding of the roots and social context of Nastaliq calligraphy. In short, in the light of contemporary theories (e.g., social semiotics, multimodality) and with an eye toward traditional notions and principles, this chapter offers a better understanding of this specific type of calligraphy – an understanding that is not necessarily comprehensive, but is reliable and somewhat inclusive.

96 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy

Social semiotic theory of multimodality Before addressing the main study topics and the Nastaliq calligraphic forms, however, the study provides a concise background of the theory of multimodal social semiotics, its components, key concepts, and areas of application, as well as why and how it as an appropriate theory to approach Nastaliq calligraphy and accordingly to target the intentions of this study. Why social semiotics, why multimodality? Why and how is the theory of social semiotics with a multimodal approach an appropriate notion to identify and explain the articulation of Nastaliq calligraphy? Why and how is this theory advocated as most efficient to draw a systematic analytical framework for Nastaliq calligraphy? Looking at Nastaliq in terms of its functional and social aspects reveals a winding trail that has many complex and knotty paths, each with its own separate and distinct subsidiary paths. To successfully navigate this labyrinth and identify its multiple facets, one must rely on a wide collection of contemporary social, cultural, and communication theories as they relate to a wide range of visual phenomena. No ad hoc theory that deals with only a few aspects of a visual phenomenon is sufficient. This complex, versatile, and multifunctional visual means of communication, comprising a diversity of social-cultural factors and visual elements, must be decoded and disentangled using a prismatic schema by which to approach its major features. Nastaliq calligraphy is multimodal in many aspects – it is a multi-origin, polyglot, and multi-dialectical visual phenomenon with its own discipline. Thus, only a multimodal approach is appropriate for identifying the features and meaning potentials of its visual letterforms and for theorizing it as a distinct semiotic mode. In other words, one needs a multidimensional notion to theorize this polyhedral system, a theory through which one can derive different aspects of this complex visual system. Among existing communication theories, the theory of multimodal social semiotics can facilitate the effort to identify and examine interrelated aspects of meaning-making in Nastaliq calligraphy. In other words, the multimodal social semiotic approach – a combination of the theories of multimodality and social semiotics with a multi-purpose orientation – can be used as a platform to explain the complexity and intricacies in the broad regime of meanings and semiotics in Nastaliq. The theory is an appropriate theory with which to realize the social-cultural background practices of Nastaliq, to explain communicational events, and to describe the process of meaning-making that will ultimately allow for establishing a systematic framework as well as an analysis schema for calligraphy in general and Nastaliq in particular. In the light of multimodal social semiotics, I examine how communicational meanings evolve and in what ways or in what processes they are

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 97 shaped in the Nastaliq multilateral system, as well as how the internal interactions between the elements shape the external interactions at the wider level. In essence, by relying on this compound theory, I characterize visual elements of Nastaliq calligraphy and their potentials in meaning-making and suggest a framework for a syntactic, and then a contextual, analysis of the characteristics of visual Nastaliq fragments. These preliminary analyses lead to identifying the meaning potentials of each element in this type of calligraphy. One criticism of the notion that endows the theory of multimodal social semiotics with such extensive usability and productive ability that applies in analyzing all types of semiotic modes is that this theory is an imperialistic theory in that it seeks to impose principles and terms used in language in other modes such as image and gesture. In other words, it accommodates linguistics with all the equipment of other semiotic modes such as image and adapts the regulations and principles, as well as the terms, existing in the construction of language to the image. One explanation might be that the social semiotics of multimodality is rooted in linguistics and stems from linguistic approaches; this is derived from Halliday (1978), who was himself a linguist. Moreover, the terms visual literature and visual language, as Kress (2010) mentions, are evidence that, as in linguistics, signs and images are constructed in a complex system based on specific principles, and like the linguistic process of meaning-making, the process of meaning-making in images is complex and should be analyzed based on a specific framework. Thus, image has its own specific language that is similar to other languages in terms of complexity, regulation, and discipline. Thus, to understand it as a whole and analyze its fragments, one needs a systematic framework like that which exists and is applied in linguistics. In essence, the theory of multimodal social semiotics tries to describe signs made in any kind of mode with regard to the local or domestic characteristics of the given mode. It attempts to understand the ways of configuring an image in its own right rather than imposing a coercive authority on the image. In short, this theory suggests a pattern derived from the language and linguistic system of meaning-making that can evolve to become endemic and domesticated based on the resources and characteristics of any kind of mode, such as image, to establish an analytical framework that applies in the given mode. Thus, this theory relies on the system of language and linguistic principles in sign-making and meaning-making, creating a dynamic pattern based on language that can be applied to analyze any kind of mode. According to multimodal social semiotics, “all signs in all modes are meaningful” (Kress, 2010, p. 59). In this respect, in all modes, including visual modes such as image, typography, and calligraphy, signs are made and meanings are realized. Like linguistic signs, signs in non-linguistic modes like images are subordinated from a systematic complex grammar. Hence, signs must be made and meanings must be realized based on specific principles and a systematic grammar in each specific mode. The theory of

98 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy multimodal social semiotics tries to find the equivalent of terms and principles used in language in other non-linguistic modes such as images and adopts the terms, principles, and regulations that apply in language consistent with the given mode analyzed. By using this theory, one can consider language as a model that has a complex systematic grammar so as to provide a framework specifically usable for analyzing Nastaliq calligraphy, a framework that can characterize semiotic resources of meaning-making in the given mode, namely, Nastaliq, and subsequently suggest a complex grammar for Nastaliq calligraphy. The theory of social semiotics considers “general principles of representation: modes, means, and arrangement” (Kress, 2010, p. 59). Moreover, it can describe the correlation between meanings and representation or, as Kress says, the relationships of meaning and “spatial arrangements of visual elements” (2010, p. 59) in an image. In this respect, by relying on this theory, one can identify syntaxes or different principles used to integrate visual calligraphic forms and their meaning potential, as well as the relationship between representative forms and their meaning potential; thus, one can define sign as a combination of meaning and form. In addition to identifying the core values and key concepts of multimodal social semiotics theory in Nastaliq calligraphy and describing Nastaliq articulation and extracting a complex grammar for it, using this theory can also provide a tool for assaying itself and identifying its advantages and facilities as well as its defects and deficiencies. Thus, it can open a new perspective for prospective researchers to develop this theory and resolve its limitations and shortcomings. The theory of multimodal social semiotics, key concepts, and core values The theory of multimodal social semiotics, as its name implies, has been formed through two main concepts and three keywords. The two main concepts are multimodal and social semiotics, which consist of the three keywords or three core values of social, semiotics, and multimodality. To obtain a proper understanding of this theory and realize its appropriateness to approach calligraphy, each concept and its core values must be described. Multimodality According to Kress (2010), the term multimodality refers to “a field of work [as well as] a domain to be theorized” (p. 54). From Jewitt’s (2009, p. 14) perspective, multimodality is in fact described by the approaches that understand and explain communications and representations beyond language. In other words, multimodality comprises approaches that go beyond the language and linguistic principles and describe communication and representation not only in language but also in a broad range of representational and communicational forms that people use to communicate. In essence, multimodality has an equal

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 99 look at language (whether in written or speech form) and other communicational modes such as image, color, gesture, and gaze. Although multimodality denies the notion that language is the perpetual and central mode in all social interactions, it accepts its role as the most often used mode (Jewitt, 2009). In this study on Nastaliq calligraphy, the term multimodality can be considered in both dimensions of these definitions; multimodality can be used to describe my approach (with its own pre-established) toward calligraphy or the field of my work (which I apply) to study Nastaliq calligraphy and can also be used as a term that describes calligraphy as the domain to be theorized. Social semiotics The other key concept of this theory is social semiotics; the focus of its attention is on meaning in a social context. Social semiotics concerns “meaning, in all its forms” (Kress, 2010, p. 54). In essence, the integration of the terms social and semiotics in this theory suggests a kind of semiotic theory in which social practices are the generators of meaning and meaningful forms and, in short, the processes of meaning-making. The term semiotics refers to signs, which comprise form and meaning. Also, its association with the term social demonstrates a kind of correlation between sign – composed of “form and meaning” and considered “the core unit of semiotics” (Kress, 2010, p. 54) – and society and refers to signs and their social origins. Therefore, what can be derived from the name of this theory is that the genesis of a sign goes back to the social activities and practices which were formed in a specific historical and cultural context in which the sign was created. In this sense, all kinds of signs, such as graphic signs, signs in language, gesture and gaze signs, and indeed calligraphic forms which I call calligraphic signs, are rooted in social practices. Thus, according to the theory of multimodal social semiotics, calligraphic signs are parts of a whole, the fragments of a system known as calligraphy which was formed over time in a context with specific social, cultural, and historical practices. In this respect, meaning, as one of the two components of a sign, is adhered to the context in which it is made and realized. Accordingly, as Kress (2010) states, the social “is generative of meaning, of semiotic processes and forms …” (p. 54). Social semiotics and Nastaliq calligraphy The theory of social semiotics seeks to explain the ways in which meanings are formed in relation to social, cultural, and historical resources and individuals in a context or, said better, its concern is to comprehend signs with regard to their social roots. According to the definitions of the theory of social semiotics, describing meaning in the calligraphic signs of Nastaliq is adhered to the historical background of the calligraphy (from its formation to the processes of its growth and prosperity). Social practices, cultural, religious, and language resources, participants and individuals, whatever and

100 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy whoever have been influential in creation of this type of calligraphy, whether in the process of creating Nastaliq as a whole or performing and interaction, are all agentive factors in meaning-making in Nastaliq calligraphy. This attachment to the social and cultural context inevitably distinguishes different types of calligraphy from each other. Calligraphies in the West, Iran, China, and various types of calligraphies in Arabic countries and in general in Middle Eastern countries are all representative of a specific culture, tradition, and certain historical and social conditions. In essence, different systems of writing in a specific language, regardless of the lexical or linguistic meaning of letters, and specific culture provide differences in hand movement direction and body position while writing, as well as in tools and substances. These subsequently cause different communicative events in a specific calligraphy and thus make it unique and distinguished from other kinds of calligraphy. In other words, different social and cultural contexts endow distinct characteristics to calligraphy so that this inevitably makes the calligraphy unique and distinguishes one from other types of calligraphy. This is why one can easily distinguish Chinese calligraphy from other calligraphies at first glance and recognize them all as undisputed representatives of a specific culture and language. In essence, they can be considered metaphors that implicitly refer to a specific nation through the particular history and culture in which they are shaped. Although a specific language and system of writing as an integral mode attached to calligraphy is a substantial factor that creates specialities and differences in the given calligraphy, the language itself is affected by and derived from a specific social and cultural context. In short, a socialcultural context with all its complexities and specificities works to create distinctive characteristics of each type of calligraphy. Different social contexts cause differences in form, even in the same type of calligraphy. For example, differences in configuration and proportion of Nastaliq calligraphic forms used in Pakistan, India, and Iran explicitly demonstrate the extent of coherence between calligraphic letterforms and the social-cultural context in which they are created and used. These differences and diversities in configuration and composition of letterforms in the different types of Nastaliq calligraphy used in these areas (Pakistan, India, and Iran) cause different dialects in Nastaliq writing (see Figures 4.1 and 4.2) as Zekrgoo (2005) mentions.2 Zekrgoo (2005) shows that different systems of language (i.e., Urdu and Farsi used in Pakistan and India) impose specific principles and characteristics in Nastaliq configuration so that Nastaliq forms can represent a specific system of language in which it is written. At any rate, dissection of such fascinating subject is beyond the scope of this chapter; furthermore, it results in verbosity. The history of Nastaliq calligraphy from when it was rooted in and branched from two types of calligraphy (or styles of writing), namely, Naskh and Taliq3 (Ghelichkhani, 2008; Irani, 1983; Salouti, 2003; Shahroudi, 2008), to become a distinct type of calligraphy, as well as the bundles

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 101

Figure 4.1 A piece of Poem by Hafez written in two different styles of Iranian and Indian Nastaliq, retrieved and reproduced from Zekrgoo (2005)

Figure 4.2 A comparison of configuration of two words written in different styles of Nastaliq, Iranian and Indian, retrieved and reproduced from Zekrgoo (2005, p. 124)

of Nastaliq scripts that have been created in different historical periods, demonstrates how Nastaliq was calligraphically formed and the ways in which using it have changed based on specific social conditions in each historical period. In other words, the works created in different historical

102 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy periods are mirrors that reflect social and cultural differences of the periods; they represent social and cultural practices related to the period in which they are created. In short, the different calligraphic works can be considered representations of different historical periods. Different compositional styles apply in Nastaliq, including various methods of composition and framing, tools, material, and substance which are seen in different domains of works such as miniatures, rugs and carpets, literary and religious books, coffee-house paintings, and the architecture of mosques, shrines, and tombs. Also, different styles are found in lithography and school textbooks, and specifically in the contemporary era, different styles such as joining computer technology and graphical software demonstrate why Nastaliq can be considered a large set of signs that carries various historical, social, and cultural terms of society and thus is representative of different historical periods in a specific nation. Also, this can prove why Nastaliq is called the purest art and the undisputed representative of a specific culture so that its overall form symbolically refers to the specific cultural sphere. One can see such representativeness in other types of calligraphy across the world; for example, Chinese calligraphy is well known as an indication of the Chinese cultural sphere, and Western calligraphy’s overall form refers to the Western world. Also, kufic calligraphy, for example, reminds of Arabic cultures and old Islamic scripts. Each of these forms of calligraphy is pinned to a specific cultural sphere that indicates a specific group, nation, language, or creed (religion). Regardless, if one does not understand the lexical meanings of calligraphic letterforms existing in each form of calligraphy, these types of calligraphy as a whole are sufficiently well known by people around the world that they can easily remind the audience of a specific culture and context in which they are shaped and to which they are pinned. The theory of multimodal social semiotics, characteristics, and structural factors The theory of multimodal social semiotics pays attention to all types of semiotic modes in meaning-making based on the assumption that in a complex system of semiotics or in a complex sign, all communicative modes contribute to the process of meaning-making. In other words, meaning is the result of collaboration between different semiotic modes. In a complex sign or large system of semiotics like language that is shaped by multiple communicational modes and considered a multimodal system, different and various semiotic modes such as writing, speech, gesture, and gaze participate to make meaning, and each plays a part in the process of meaning-making. In this respect, each mode makes its own contribution to constructing meaning because signs exist in all modes or, in other words, all modes are sign-makers which are realized in specific contexts. Hence, as Kress (2010) mentions,

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 103 “modes need to be considered for contribution to the meaning of a signcomplex” (p. 54). In a multimodal text or, in the words of Kress (2010), a complex sign like a poster, several modes of image, writing, color, layout, and typography act as separate semiotic modes. In this meaning, to describe a poster based on the theory of multimodal social semiotics, each mode must be separately analyzed for its semiotic units and resources to understand the overall meaning of the multimodal text. In other words, in each mode, signs, as an integration of form and meaning, exist and each sign ultimately cooperates to make total meaning of the complex sign4 or the multimodal text (Figure 4.3). As a result, social, cultural, and linguistic differences cause differences in sign-making. In essence, what can be realized from this example is that two different linguistic scripts written in the same calligraphy or the same style of writing create differences in configuration of visual forms. These differences therefore cause differences in sign-making because a “sign is a fusion of form and meaning” (Kress, 2010, p. 54). Thus, existing differences in form create differences in meanings; in other words, different forms present different senses and expressions (Figure 4.4). Therefore, the form or signifier in a sign carries social and historical practices; in other words, one can find in a sign the traces of a specific history, culture, and community. Overall, “signs are bearers of social histories” (Kress, 2010, p. 69).

Figure 4.3 A complex sign or a multimodal text (e.g., poster) in a specific context

104 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy

Figure 4.4 The interaction among writing system, social-cultural contexts, configuration of calligraphy, sign-making, and meaning-making

Another structural factor and characteristic of the theory of social semiotics is found in the differences between it and other linguistic approaches such as grammatical (or syntactic) and socio-linguistic or pragmatic approaches. While a grammatical or syntactic approach only focuses on linguistic forms, their relationships, and the structure as a whole, a pragmatic approach focuses on the location, time, and condition in which the linguistic forms are used and the effects of this use on the variety and diversity of meaning. In other words, the pragmatic approach is concerned with the context of linguistic forms rather than their configuration and structure. As Kress (2010) mentions, a pragmatic or socio-linguistic approach concentrates on “correlation of variations of use with variations in environments.” This means that “variation in meaning is linked to variation in context” (p. 58). Although the usability and application of these two approaches or, in the words of Kress, their “reach,” remain with the structure or configuration of forms (syntactic approach) and with condition (in a pragmatic approach), the social semiotics approach expands its abilities and usability by describing social resources, agentive factors, and their interests in meaning-making,

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 105 as well as the meaning potentials of the resources involved in the process of meaning-making, plus the social space in which the resources work to make meaning (Kress, 2010, p. 57). In other words, the theory of social semiotics, with backing of different forms of linguistic theory and approaches, suggests a combination of pragmatic (socio-linguistic) and grammatical (syntactic) approaches that can be applied not only in language but also in other modes of semiotics such as image, gesture, color, typography, and indeed calligraphy. To describe meaning in Nastaliq calligraphy, first it is necessary to define signs in Nastaliq; in other words, one must extract the signs from the complex semiotic system of Nastaliq. Thereafter, the construction of these signs and the relationships between them can be examined to explain their arrangement into an integrated meaningful sign. This leads to describing a process of meaning-making. In fact, one gets a partial read to reach a total, namely, the first target at the smallest fragment of semiotics, or sign, to determine the complex assemblage of Nastaliq calligraphy. Before elucidating how signs are defined and realized in Nastaliq calligraphy, it must be noted that a branch of social semiotics used here to analyze Nastaliq calligraphic signs is based on Halliday’s (1978) social semiotic theory of communication. In essence, social semiotics as a field of study has several branches which are almost distinct and based on Halliday’s (1978, 1985) writings and comments (Kress, 2010, p. 54). Although, as Kress also mentions, some agreements and similarities exist between these categories, the emphasis on the linguistic approach or semiotics approach creates effective differences between these branches of social semiotics. In essence, depending on which approach (semiotics or linguistics) is more salient in this theory, distinct characteristics will emerge. Thus, the theory used here tends more toward semiotics, and its basis is found in the fundamental assumptions of Halliday’s view toward semiotics. The perspective has been developed by Kress and Van Leeuwen, who founded their theories and theorizations based on it. According to Halliday’s (1978) semiotic theory of communication, there are always three consistent assumptions about signs: 1) Signs are always newly made in social interaction; 2) signs are motivated, not arbitrary relations of meaning and form; the motivated relation of a form and meaning is based on and arises out of the interest of the maker of signs; 3) the form/signifiers which are used in the making of signs are made in social interaction and become part of the semiotic resources of a culture. (Kress, 2010, p. 55) Therefore, the forthcoming sections present in-depth discussions of the main factors and key concepts of multimodal social semiotics in relation to Nastaliq, and indeed with an eye to social and cultural practices. The first

106 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy stop will be on semiotics/semiosis of meaning-making, which is considered a substantial part in the theory of multimodal social semiotics and necessary to distinguish signs and explain the process of meaning-making in Nastaliq calligraphy.

Semiotics: signs – form and meaning – in Nastaliq calligraphy As mentioned earlier, the core unit and the main theme of semiotics is sign (Kress, 2010, p. 54). According to Kress (2010), sign is a combination of form and meaning (p. 54). Form can take different shapes or configurations depending on in which mode of semiotics it is made. Therefore, depending on the given mode in which the sign is configured – writing, speech, sounds, image, gesture, typography, or calligraphy – it finds meaning. Thus, the form in which the meaning is embodied varies and differs from mode to mode. For instance, in the mode of speech, the form of signs can be in different sounds or, in other words, meaning in the mode of speech is embodied in various kinds of sound and the differences between them in terms of, for example, intonation or stress; in the mode of writing, meaning can be embodied in the form of letters and numbers and create meaningful signs. In the mode of color, for example, meaning can be realized in the form of different color values and various qualities of color tones. In general, and at a superficial glance, form is the physical part of a sign that correlates with the materials, properties, and resources of the given mode in which it is formed and it can be realized by the sensory system. While meaning is subjective and an immaterial part of a sign – whether as conventional and predetermined or unconventional – it must collaborate with the form to create the sign. In examining signs in calligraphy, particularly in Nastaliq letterforms, this research does not heed the conventional and lexical meanings of letterforms or, in fact, the lexical meaning of Persian letterforms in Farsi determined as signs in semiotic systems of the Persian language; rather, it considers the visual part of the letterforms and its configuration.5 In this case, I totally separate the visual representative part of the Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms from the conventional and lexical meaning of each letter in the language. In short, I deal with the visual representative part of the calligraphy in its own right as a distinct system of semiotics that realizes meanings in different ways from what is realized in language. I only consider the principles of Nastaliq configuration, the ways in which the letterforms in Nastaliq are drawn, the ways to configure the calligraphic forms rather than the fixed lexical forms and meanings coherent with each letter, and grammatical meaning in the language. As for the theory of social semiotics, as mentioned earlier, the predominant approach is semiotics. Unlike most linguistic theories and approaches in which meaning and form are separate (or distinct) components, the theory of multimodal social semiotics, based on Halliday’s assumptions, examines form and meaning as a whole unit. In this respect, in the theory of social semiotics, I deal at the same time with all institutions, substances, and matters and issues that make meaning and form. In essence, meaning in the

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 107 theory of social semiotics involves conversing with all factors that incorporate forms and meaning in an integrated unit ‒ entitled sign. Kress (2010) defines a trihedral perspective to theorize meaning in the theory of multimodal social semiotics. He states that meaning in multimodal social semiotics is theorized from the three perspectives of “semiosis-meaning making,” “multimodality,” and “specific mode” (Kress, 2010, p. 61). The dominant and pervasive perspective in this trihedral view is semiosismaking meaning, which applies “to all representation, to all communication and all the media of communication” (Kress, 2010, p. 61). The perspective of multimodality deals with all semiotic modes, common issues between them, and relationships between different modes. Finally, from the perspective of “specific mode,” the theory of multimodal social semiotics describes forms and meanings with regard to the specific given mode in which they are formed. In other words, from this perspective, meaning and form (as an integrated unit) are explained in accordance with materials, principles, functions, and characteristics that are ongoing in the specific given mode; also, the specific context to which the given mode belongs with regard to social, cultural, and historical roots is described. Therefore, accounts of meaning in Nastaliq calligraphic forms are affiliated with all substances, institutions, and issues related to the specific mode of Nastaliq with its own specific historical, social, and cultural background. Therefore, to explain meaning and form, namely, sign (as a result of merging form and meaning) in Nastaliq calligraphy through the theory of multimodal social semiotics, I proceed step by step according to the trihedral perspective suggested by Kress: semiotics, multimodality, and mode. In applying the theory of multimodal social semiotics, I rely on Halliday’s (1978) semiotic theory of communication, with emphasis on the three consistent assumptions about sign, as well as Kress’s (2010) perspectives toward meaning. In essence, to define sign and meaning in Nastaliq calligraphic forms, I process through the three perspectives of semiosis, multimodality, and mode, with an eye to Halliday’s opinion toward sign. In short, I rely on Halliday’s semiotic theory of communication in combination with Kress’s theorization of meaning. Semiotics/semiosis of meaning-making Semiotics has been established in the West based on the opinions and works of Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914) and Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913). In essence, two main and major strands in semiotics are defined by their different perspectives toward sign, and each suggests a different and distinct model to define and describe sign.

Peirce’s model of sign According to Peirce’s model (e.g., in Chandler, 2002, pp. 29–31), all signs are categorized based on their relationship with the world. In his proposed model of sign, Peirce focuses on semiosis and interpretant. In other words, this model

108 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy classifies signs based on their correlation to the world, with regard to the process of semiosis and recipient/viewer of the sign and with respect to the ways of interpreting signs by the perceiver of the signs (Kress, 2010, p. 62). In fact, in the process of semiosis in Peirce’s model, the recipient/viewer plays an important role and is considered an interpreter of the sign and, in fact, someone who makes new signs and creates new semiotic resources. In this respect, the interpreter or reader is an important agentive factor in the process of signmaking to develop the materials and resources of semiotics of a specific culture and continuously and consistently make new signs in the given specific context. In essence, from Peirce’s standpoint, meaning is made in a ceaseless process in which signs are consistently generated from prior signs. Peirce’s classification of signs deals with three types of signs (e.g., in Chandler, 2002, pp. 36–39), all of which are classified based on their engagement with the world. An iconic sign resembles its representative form, signifies what it resembles (e.g., the circle as ball), or provides a realistic picture in which all visual signs resemble their signified; an indexical sign signifies objects or events that represent part of the sign (visual representative form of the sign) and have an indication from the signifier; in other words, there is a causal relationship between sign and signifier. Peirce exemplifies this kind of sign as how smoke indexes fire or, in other words, the signifier (smoke) is caused by the signified (fire). The last type of sign in the trihedral model is the symbolic sign, which is made based on a conventional relationship between form and meaning; the relationship between signifier or representative form and the object or event which is supposed to be signified is conventional and already agreed. The important point in Peirce’s model is that except for symbolic signs, other types of signs (e.g., iconic and indexical signs) find their function in relation to the world. In short, the forms of these signs find their meanings in relation to what they represent. The relationship between form and meaning (signifier and signified) is not an arbitrary relationship or a conventional one. This relationship is what distinguishes Peirce’s theory of sign from de Saussure’s dihedral model of sign.

Nastaliq in relation to the Peirce’s model of sign Where are calligraphic forms placed in Pierce’s model? How are signs in Nastaliq calligraphy defined in this mode? Can this model be applied in Nastaliq calligraphy as well? Does Peirce’s model apply in the visual representative part of Nastaliq calligraphy, that is, the signs defined in Nastaliq? The figure of letterforms, from the smallest fragment which can be a dot to letters and numbers in any language, including Persian, can be assumed to be signs which are formed in the mode of writing, and there is evidently a conventional relationship between form and meaning that places them in the category of symbolic signs in Pierce’s model. In essence, these kinds of signs do not find their function from a relationship with the world or what they represent, but from a conventional relationship between form and

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 109 meaning (signifier and signified). They are a set of signs which have been made in a complex system of semiotics (i.e., language) under a specific and systematic grammar so that functions and meanings of the signs are shaped by conventional and pre-agreed relationships between objects and events (forms) and meanings, but not relationships based on resemblance and similarity between form (signifier) and meaning (signified) as in iconic and indexical signs, including Peirce’s model of sign. Therefore, the first category of sign, namely, the symbolic sign in the model proposed by Peirce, is related to the linguistic part of calligraphy or the mode of writing (in Farsi), which is in their essence and, according to Peirce’s mode, is symbolic and conventional. However, here I distinguish the visual representative part of the calligraphy from the linguistic part, which addresses the lexical meanings of each letterform in the language. In fact, here I concentrate on the visual representative part of the Nastaliq rather than the part which deals with linguistic practice to examine the extent to which self-sufficiency and independence in meaning are made and realized in the configuration of Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms. Thus, the logic used in symbolic sign in the Peirce model is not used in my definition from the sign in Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms, though two categories of signs in Peirce’s model – indexical and iconic signs – can be examined in Nastaliq calligraphic forms for their applicability in calligraphic forms and for defining sign in Nastaliq calligraphy. As a result, my reliance on determining the meanings of calligraphic forms of letters involves the relationship between form and the world outside and not the conventional relationship which stands between the world and the form in symbolic signs. The relationship of indexical and iconic signs to the world is not conventional or arbitrary but rather based on resemblance and deixis, which can be taken as grounds for defining sign in calligraphy in a way that can help in realizing meaning in calligraphic forms. The calligraphic forms of Nastaliq – considering the goal of this study (i.e., examining the visual configuration of Nastaliq for its meaning potentials) – are more related to iconic and indexical signs than symbolic signs, which are analogous to the lexical meanings of letters in language. In this respect, the function of visual calligraphic figures cannot be achieved through an arbitrary relationship with objects and events in the world. It seems that in the relationships among the potential meanings of calligraphic forms, one must seek the external and actual world; based on the resemblance and analogy to the outside world, the features of the relationship exist between the forms and what they imply in the real world. In other words, one can determine the meaning of form in the world which exists outside the form, the world in which the form is shaped, and among objects, events, and issues to which the form is related or which it resembles. Given that, for instance, the circular forms of Nastaliq can function as iconic signs and potentially imply a meaning such as earth, universe, or other relevant object or express a sense of rotation and continuity, softness and fluidity, and anything (including object,

110 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy place, event, sense, or features in the outside world) that is similar to the circle and has a simulative relationship with the circle.

De Saussure’s theory of sign Unlike Peirce, de Saussure emphasizes a relationship between the external world and an internal and subjective world or, in Kress’s (2010) words, “an inner relation of form and meaning in the sign” (p. 63). De Saussure defines a dyadic model for sign consisting of a “signifier” and “signified” which are non-material forms that are both psychological (Chandler, 2002, pp. 14–15). He emphasizes that “a linguistic sign is not a link between a thing and a name, but between a concept [signified] and a sound pattern [signifier]” (De Saussure, 1983[1916], p. 66, in Chandler, 2002, p. 14). In de Saussure’s theory of sign, sign is defined as an outer phenomenon in the external world, a signifier with its mental representation as described by an individual. In simple words, a sign is the result of a link between a visible or audible form or a tangible or palpable material in the outside world and a mental representation of this form in an individual’s mind. This form and its mental subjective representation are linked together through an arbitrary and conventional relationship. This relationship between form (signifier) and meaning (signified) in Kress’s (2010) view represents a kind of social power which is potent enough to cement any kind of form to any kind of meaning. From this perspective, convention is the result of a social power over time that keeps signs constant, so that individuals’ activities cannot be effective to change them or their relationship with the semiotic system to which they belong. In essence, the convention in this definition is a characteristic that enervates the effects of an individual’s activities in interchanging signs (Kress, 2010, p. 63). De Saussure’s theory, therefore, rejects the notion that the individual acts as a means in change and transition of signs and suggests a constant and stable system of signs which is continuously maintained as a convention through the strength of a social power. In this respect, de Saussure’s theory contrasts with Peirce’s view that presumes an important role of individuals in the change and transformation of signs. From de Saussure’s view, a single sign solus does not make sense on its own, but the beginning and origin of the sign involve a specific system that bestows existence to the sign. In that system, “everything depends on relations” (De Saussure 1983[1916], 121, in Chandler, 2002, p. 18). This means that every sign makes sense only in relation to other signs (Chandler, 2002, p. 19). In essence, a sign outside the system is nothing, and a sign depends for its existence on a system that gives it value. Unlike with Pierce, the relationship between form and meaning in de Saussure’s model of sign is not based on a relationship between form and the real outside world, but the relationship between signifier and signified is defined only in an inner mental system under the force of conventions. De Saussure’s model suggests

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 111 a mandatory/compulsive/binding relationship between signifier and signified. “Both signifier and signified are purely relational entities” (De Saussure 1983[1916], p. 118, in Chandler, 2002, p. 19). This means that the idea of these two concepts of signifier and signified without regard to the other is impossible, and there is a complementary binding relationship between signifier and signified. According to de Saussure’s account of sign, signifier and signified are merely analytical concepts so that they cannot be defined in any way except in their entirety (i.e., the two elements of signifier and signified are fully connected to each other so that one recalls the other). Sign in de Saussure’s model is subjective, but the two procedural sides of it – signifier and signified – are abstract concepts that find their existence in an abstract system like language and in contrast to other signs in that given language or system of semiotics. In essence, in de Saussure’s model, every meaning is defined in a specific subjective abstract system under specific conventions. The system is a synchronic and closed system without a fourth dimension so that in such system each signifier gets its value through a synchronic contrast with other signs and carries a fixed and constant signified at any time. In fact, in this system, signifier and signified have an imperative or binding relationship that makes up a whole integrated entity called sign, which is subjective and abstract, unchangeable and always constant. However, what is the relationship between this system of semiotics and the world? What kind of relationship exists between sign and the world in de Saussure’s model? According to de Saussure, a sign is a result of an intimate link between a sound (signifier) and a thought (signified). He emphasizes that sound and thought (or the signifier and signified) are “as inseparable as the two sides of a piece of paper that are intimately linked in the mind” (De Saussure, 1983[1916], p. 111, 66, in Chandler, 2002, p. 17). A signifier or a sound is not an actual/physical sound, but it is “hearer’s psychological impression of a sound.” A signified or a thought is a concept in the mind – not a thing but the notion of a thing (De Saussure 1983, p. 66, in Chandler, 2002, p. 14). He says that we can envisage […] the language […] as a series of adjoining subdivisions simultaneously imprinted both on the plane of vague, amorphous thought (A), and on the equally featureless plane of sound (B). (De Saussure, 1983[1916], pp. 110–111, in Chandler, 2002, p. 19) In fact, de Saussure does not believe in a thought outside the scope of the language. He speaks about an unspecified level of intertwined ideas and thoughts and the vague and indeterminate sounds as two amorphous and chaotic masses that are shaped and disciplined by the language. In other words, he presents language as disciplinary and a shaper of the relationship between sound and thought (signifier and signified).

112 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy From de Saussure’s perspective, without language, both the territory of sound and thought form chaotic and impenetrable expression. Through values and implications, language provides the possibility of forming amorphous masses of ideas and sound so that thought becomes the signified and sound the signifier. This relationship (between thought and sound and material) exists between language and the outside real world. From de Saussure’s viewpoint, the material world outside language itself is disorganized and chaotic; it is not language that forms the outer world because the world is more chaotic than an arranger and former of a disciplined system such as language. However, the language provides the possibility to classify and understand the world and to speak of it. In other words, the system of language gives value to the materials in the world. De Saussure illustrates his statement with an example from a chess game showing that a sign gets its value through “its relations with other signs within the system” so that “a sign has no ‘absolute’ value independent of this context” (De Saussure 1983[1916], p. 80, Chandler, 2002, p. 19), and there is no relationship between this value and what the given sign signifies in the outside real world. A knight in chess, as de Saussure states, cannot be useful and valuable on its own, outside the chessboard and its rules and situations. However, it takes value, is defined, and becomes tangible and useful only in the space of the chess game and under the principles of the game. In other words, the chess game is a disciplined system with its own specific principles and rules that give value to the knight rather than the material substance of the knight (De Saussure, 1983[1916], p. 88). In essence, the material substance of the knight does not imply anything in the outside world and does not signify anything outside this system, but in fact the chess system gives meaning to the knight. Assume that in a round of chess, a knight is broken or gets lost; in this case, can one replace it with an equivalent? Certainly, it can be replaced not only with another knight but even with something that does not have the slightest resemblance to the original knight, provided that one attributes the values and the functions of the knight to that something. Everything is rational enough that one can use even a sugar cube to replace a missing knight because it is not the material substance of the real world that gives a chess piece value and function; rather, the system of chess as a game gives it the value and function of a knight. In short, “the value of a sign is determined by the relationships between the sign and other signs within the system as a whole” (De Saussure, 1983[1916], pp. 112–113, in Chandler, 2002, p. 20). In de Saussure’s theory of semiotics, signs get their value and meaning from the inner subjective system of language rather than the outer real world. In this meaning, unlike in Peirce, there is no relationship between material substance of the sign (signifier) and what is signified and, in fact, the functions of the signs are shaped only in the system of language and stand in a conventional relationship to the real world.

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 113 The word cat gets its value from the difference and contrast with other words in the language system rather than from a reference to an external object in the real world. In de Saussure’s theory, the word cat is nothing but potential and the possibility of the existence of a cat. In the semiotic system of language as defined by de Saussure, signs do not act in their own right but in the system of language. Therefore, in de Saussure’s model, there is a distance, clearly highlighted, between language as a representational system and the world, a non-filling gap between words and things in the real outer world, because the value and meaning of signs are realized not by references to the world but through a system of relationships and differentiations such as language. De Saussure’s structuralist view is opposite to the phenomenological point of view and a non-humanist perspective, as people do not have any role in giving the signs meaning, but they find meaning from the system of language which is structured out of the human mind and being as an external and abstract entity. In this respect, humans can actively apply the resources of this system to suit their communication needs, but in the planner model of signifier and signified that de Saussure suggests, there is no room for human actions. In essence, in the eyes of de Saussure, individual actions are ruled out as a possible means for changing the system of language and, as mentioned earlier, the language “system is stable, held in place by the force of collective social power, naturalized as convention” (Kress, 2010, p. 63).

Nastaliq in relation to the De Saussure model of sign According to de Saussure’s theory, language is a system based on differences and oppositions between signs and not on extensions or extensionality; in other words, de Saussure does not believe in extensional meaning. In the previous chapters, in examining Nastaliq and calligraphic forms through the two synchronic systems of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, originally used to analyze graphic forms to understand their differences and self-similarities, as well as graphetics theory as Johannessen (2010, 2013) proposes, I demonstrate how the calligraphic forms function in a synchronic system (like language in the eyes of de Saussure) creating differences and similarities; then through this they make different communicative events with different meaning potentials. I also describe how the calligraphic forms are analogous to the graphic forms following the same general schema and structure in making different communicative events. Adapting the universal schema Johannessen (2010, 2013) suggests as a universal constant model applicable to all types of graphic forms, I demonstrate how Nastaliq forms, without dependence on language or the lexical meaning of language, are structured based on three constant factors of affordance: tool, substance, and body. In other words, I describe how calligraphic forms are made of several acts that are all limited to the factors of affordance (body, tool, and substance) in the

114 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy specific articulation of Nastaliq. In this way, I also describe how Nastaliq as a phenomenon is substantive in its own right so that it can autonomously create communicative events in its own right. In other words, it has its own specific articulation with specific principles and conventions so that it can have a system or regime like language. Following Johannessen’s analysis model of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, I also discuss how visual forms in Nastaliq can be placed in a structural system in which forms are created and recognized based on a synchronic logic, like language in the eyes of de Saussure, in which lexis or linguistic signs are made based on the distinction and contrast they have with each other. According to the articulatory graphetics model of Johannessen, I also explain this system not as a closed system, such as what de Saussure defines as language, but as a dynamic system that has a constant and dynamic relationship with the outside world through the three factors of affordance inspired from Gibson’s “ecological approach to visual perception” (Gibson, 1986[1979]). In the first step, in the previous two chapters, I explain calligraphy from various perspectives and rely on various models, potentially as distinct systems, as a regime of forms with separate principles that can distinctly function and be considered as distinct visual communication in their own right. In essence, I provide grounds for how this kind of calligraphy can be defined as a distinct semiotic mode and how signs embedded in this system obtain meaning. Through the graphetic articulation Johannessen (2010) suggests (which applies to all graphic signs in general), I discuss the process of different communicative events relying on the factors of affordance, which are based on, or limited by, the physiology of the human body. For example, a calligraphic form as shown in Figure 4.5, in turn, is a graphic sign and, at the same time, it must be a communicative event according to the graphetic

Figure 4.5 Calligraphic form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b].

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 115 articulation in Johannessen’s (2010) theory because a graphic event must be a communicative event as well as a graphic event in a sub-field of visual communication. This graphic sign is made of a collection of several different mini-communicative events that proceed in the articulation process, which is constrained to the three factors of affordance. The process is one in which countless mini-communicative events are articulated in the form of minivisual forms of calligraphy or fragments of calligraphic forms or, in other words, a given meaning potential finds a form through placement in or integration into a visual calligraphic letterform. This means fulfilling the definition of sign, a merger of meaning and form.

Peirce and De Saussure’s model of sign in a comparative relationship, specificities and contrasts As discussed earlier, in the eyes of Peirce, sign is defined through a threedimensional pattern: “representation,” which is the form of signs, “interpretant,” where the meaning can be achieved from the sign, and “object,” which is what the sign refers to. Needless to say, the object is not necessarily a physical entity in the outside world. It is worth recalling that, but in de Saussure’s model there is no place for object; language is the system of signs that are in contrast to each other and that get their values from a differential equation that exists between them. De Saussure, as mentioned earlier, separates language from the real world and defines language implications as the result of a play inside a formal system of signs that is “immaterial” and abstract. In the eyes of de Saussure, the system of language is a bound, frozen, and synchronic system, but Peirce describes semiotics as a dynamic moving stream. From Peirce’s view, to define sign, three elements of (1) the object (what is represented), (2) the representamen (how it is represented), and (3) the interpretant (how it is interpreted) are essential (Chandler, 2002, p. 29): a sign … [in the form of a representamen] is something which stands to somebody for something in some respect or capacity. It addresses somebody, that is, creates in the mind of that person an equivalent sign, or perhaps a more developed sign. That sign which it creates I call the interpretant of the first sign. The sign stands for something, its object. It stands for that object, not in all respects, but in reference to a sort of idea, which I have sometimes called the ground of the representamen. (Chandler, 2002, p. 29) In Peirce’s theory, semiotics is a continuous, ongoing, and endless process, so that meaning is continually and newly made in an infinite chain. In de Saussure’s structuralist and non-humanist theory of sign, the audience and individuals do not explicitly have any role in meaning-making or implication, and values are the yield of the functions of an abstract formal system

116 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy of language. In contrast, in Peirce’s theory, the interpretation formed in the mind of the audience is itself considered a new sign and can be placed anew in the cycle of semiosis, or perhaps as a more developed sign, this is a continuing process that ostensibly cannot be ended. According to Peirce, the meaning of a representamen is nothing except another representamen (Peirce, 1931, in Chandler, 2002, p. 31). In this respect, semiosis is deemed an endless series of representations, along with successive interpretations that have no end and never stop (Chandler, 2002, pp. 31–32). In this meaning, Peirce states that if this continuous interpretation ends, the sign would be ineffective, while the failure of signs in the eyes of de Saussure occurs when they have a relationship with an object in the real world, an application/extension, or an actual object in the outer world (Chandler, 2002, pp. 31–33).

Peirce and De Saussure’s models and their traces in multimodal social semiotics theory As mentioned earlier, Peirce’s proposed model emphasizes three factors: (1) the classification of signs based on their relationship with the outer real world, (2) the process of semiosis, and (3) the process or category of interpretation. In this model, the audience or reader is an agentive factor in the transformative process of semiosis (Kress, 2010, p. 62). The reader as interpreter becomes the new creator of new signs and consequently the “remaker of the semiotic material of the culture” (Kress, 2010, p. 62). Theoretically, Peirce’s triarchic model is rather more active and dynamic than de Saussure’s model; in addition, taking into account the motivation between form and meaning and subsequently the role of readers and individuals in meaning-making is also significant in Peirce’s theory, which is ruled out in de Saussure’s theory. The three faces of Peirce’s model (representation, object, and interpretant) are based on motivation; this means that although the relationship between form and meaning in the three types of signs defined in this model is different, it is, in all three types of signs, based on a kind of motivation which refers to the “plausibility and transparency of the relations of form and meaning in the sign” (Kress, 2010, p. 64). In this meaning, Peirce refers to the interest and motivation of the sign-maker in choosing an appropriate material substance for the form that is supposed to carry a cultural meaning. In essence, motivation in Peirce’s theory refers to the relationship between material and meaning and, as Kress mentions, it is a kind of expression of interest of the sign-maker in the two purposes of “matching form and meaning” to have “an apt realization of their meaning” and creating a guide for communication, especially for the “recipient in their interpretation” of the sign (Kress, 2010, p. 64). While Peirce emphasizes the role of individuals and defines the relationship of form and meaning based on motivation, de Saussure disregards the

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 117 individual’s activities and bases the relationship between signifier and signified on convention and arbitrariness, in contrast to the interests of the signmaker in meaning-making. In essence, in these two theories, motivation and arbitrariness are opposed to each other. However, Kress (2010) states that although these two concepts contradict each other, they both refer to social principles in different ways. Arbitrariness refers to “the strength of social power as convention” to build up a constant and stable system of semiotics. Convention goes to social agreement and power in sign-use. On the other hand, motivation in Peirce’s theory refers to the plausible and transparent relationship between form and meaning needed to have “a shared recognition” of meaning in communication (Kress, 2010, p. 64). Kress (2010) points out objections to de Saussure’s theory; the first objection is that the arbitrariness between signifier and signified in de Saussure’s model “takes no account either of the patent fact of the histories (of change) of semiotic resources … nor of the facts of contemporary signmaking practice in every instance” (Kress, 2010, p. 66). The second objection to this model is that it disregards the influence of individuals’ social activities in meaning-making and suggests a rigid, constant, and unchangeable structure for semiosis and meaning-making. At any rate, in multimodal social semiotics theory, according to Kress, instead of arbitrariness, motivation is used. In other words, social semiotic theory of multimodality suggests a motivated relationship between signifier and signified in a sign. In this meaning, signifier and signified are not bound based on an absolute convention or an arbitrary relationship; instead, there is always a kind of consistency and compatibility or, in the words of Kress, a kind of homology between two parts of the signs, namely, form and meaning or signifier and signified. In this respect, in all instances of sign-making, signifiers and signified are chosen from the same level (Kress, 2010, p. 67). Kress offers an example: Assume that one needs to choose a name for a new plant that was recently purchased; in the process of creating a name for this plant, the problem is not the sound which suits the plant, but rather the matter in naming being related to “the lexical and social place” which would be consistent with the given plant. In essence, the problem in choosing an appropriate name is a title or label that is familiar, a tag or label that is appropriate to represent meaning-potential of the given plant. In other words, “the use of signifier tree is not automatic; it is socially motivated and individually enacted as apt for … us, on that accession” (Kress, 2010, p. 67). According to the explanations provided so far, sign in social semiotics is defined as a combination of signifier (form) and signified (meaning) linked to each other in a social process, thus creating an integration that carries a collection of social and cultural practices. Social and cultural practices are represented in the signifier and become a potential for meaning (signified); they are continually transferred to new signs, and this endless process of sign-making and renewing of signs is always ongoing.

118 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy In essence, sign in the social semiotic theory of multimodality is defined as a combination of Peirce and de Saussure’s viewpoints on sign and signmaking – namely, characteristics such as endlessness and indetermination of the process of sign-making and the dynamic existing in this process. This accounts for the individual’s activities in Peirce’s theory and the double/ planar model of sign (signifier–signified) suggested in de Saussure’s theory, along with the assumption Halliday (1978) suggests in his theory of social semiotic communication. Therefore, based on the theory of social semiotics, sign is a capsule of social practices that are potentially embodied in the signifier to become de facto on specific occasions; in other words, sign signifies its meaning potential in a convenient situation. This process of sign-making and subsequently meaning-making constantly continues and signs are newly made so that “no sign remains, as it were, simply or merely a ‘mental’, ‘conceptual’, a ‘cognitive’ resource” (Kress, 2010, p. 77). Sign in Nastaliq calligraphy After defining sign from the perspective of social semiotics with respect to its theoretical and historical backrests (Peirce and de Saussure’s theories of sign), one can proceed one step ahead to define sign in calligraphy, particularly in Nastaliq calligraphy. Sign is a set of social-cultural practices in the format of a tangible form that suggests meaning potentials; in essence, sign is the appearance or face of social-cultural activities, yielding a dynamic and continuous process, which have a store of meaning potential and constantly and continually make themselves new. Nastaliq calligraphic forms, whether in their smallest fragments or in combination with other letterforms as a composition of letterforms in a row, carry a long history and culture and were created from social practices and individuals’ acts, or social and cultural interactions. In essence, these social practices are embodied in these calligraphic forms as signifiers that have the potential to signify specific meanings. The calligraphic forms of Nastaliq, in fact, are made from cultural and social resources that are used for expressions and communications. So, what is considered as form, which is one component of a sign in fusion with meaning, is the configuration of calligraphic forms in any form of individual letters or combination letterforms. However, how can the meanings be realized in these forms? In other words, how can meaning be described in these signs, and how can meaning potential – defined in social semiotics – be nested in such calligraphic forms and together make an integrated sign? What kinds of meaning potentials are embodied in such calligraphic forms, and how are these meaning potentials embodied in such calligraphic forms to fulfill the definition of a sign – as merger of form and meaning – in Nastaliq calligraphy? To realize meaning in calligraphic forms and accordingly to fulfill the description of sign – defined as the merger of form and meaning – in

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 119 Nastaliq, based on multimodal social semiotics, one must consider the social and cultural practices and the resources and material substances involved in producing calligraphic forms. For this purpose, it is necessary to consider the traditional principles used in performing calligraphic forms of Nastaliq, as well as the historical, cultural, religious, and theosophical background of their use (i.e., the context in which Nastaliq has been formed and used). In other words, all theoretical entities, semiotic resources, and material affordances involved in Nastaliq performance must be considered to describe meaning and form in Nastaliq (or characterize signs in Nastaliq). In short, describing meaning as complement of form in sign entails characterizing a specific mode through Nastaliq in which the forms and meaning are created. Recall that, in describing meaning through the theory of multimodal social semiotics, three perspectives must be considered at the same time: (1) semiosis of meaning-making, (2) multimodality, and (3) specific mode. In essence, the theory of multimodal social semiotics is a package of these three perspectives; without considering all these views, the description of meaning is impossible and cannot be fulfilled. Therefore, to describe meaning in Nastaliq, first one must understand the specific mode of Nastaliq and describe what and how visual elements function in this mode, what factors and what materials with which affordances are involved, and how they are composed and function. Also, to describe how meaning is realized in Nastaliq calligraphic forms, and what each form signifies and what form signifies to what meaning in this particular mode, which is based in social and cultural practices and carries a long history, one must determine how things work in this mode.

Nastaliq calligraphy as a semiotic mode As mentioned earlier, one of the fundamental perspectives of social semiotics theory is that it can describe meaning by dealing with a specific mode. This means that meaning is defined necessarily based on specific characteristics and features and that principles exist in the specific given mode. Therefore, recognition of specific characteristics, resources, materials, and principles of the specific mode in which form and meaning are shaped or to which they belong is essential for meaning description. Nastaliq calligraphy is not exempt from this necessity. Thus, it must be described as a mode. To determine whether this calligraphy can prove itself as a distinct semiotic mode, one must look at whether Nastaliq has semiotic categories which describe forms and meanings, as in the case of mode of speech, such as the category of intonation which is specifically for the mode of speech, so that other modes such as music and soundtrack that also use sound material do not have the category of intonation. In other words, each mode has its own specificities and categories comprising different semiotic resources and each has different effects or, in the

120 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy words of Jewitt (2009), “differential potential effects” for meaning-making. For example, gesture as a mode has many semiotic resources, such as amount of stretching movement in space, highness and lowness of sound, and the path of the eyes; all are categories that make up a semiotic resource of meaning-making in the mode of gesture. This understanding must be applied in any semiotic mode. Nastaliq, as a mode, must have modal resources with differential potential effects in meaning-making. Categories such as different and various movements in forms, nuances of darkness and lightness in letterforms, direction of movements, ascent and descent in hand movements while performing letterforms, distance between forms and fragments, intonation of color ink, rhythm, and cohesion can all constitute categories of Nastaliq calligraphy comprising several different semiotic resources. Overall, in social semiotics, a general rule for considering or approving something as a distinct mode is that it should necessarily have a set of semiotic resources, with a specific set of principles for organizing them so as to realize meaning (Jewitt, 2009, p. 22). This is what one looks for in Nastaliq, namely, recognition of semiotic resources, and one must understand the principles of using these resources. This is necessary for Nastaliq to be corroborated as a separate semiotic mode in its own right. Mode in multimodal social semiotic theory Mode as one of the fundamental concepts in the theory of multimodal social semiotics is defined as the result of cultural formation of a material. A mode comprises a collection of resources that is organized through specific principles in a specific context which is itself shaped through social interactions (Jewitt, 2009, p. 22). However, among proponents of social semiotics, semioticians such as O’Halloran (2006[2004]) and O’Toole (1994) do not feature the conception of mode in the same way as Kress and Van Leeuwen; unlike Kress and Van Leeuwen, who emphasize mode, they focus on actions and social interactions and a kind of interplay between modes (such as speech and written text) in language. In essence, in their perspective, language, images, calligraphy, and mathematical symbolism are considered not as semiotic modes but as semiotic resources comprising “systems of meaning that realize different functions”; hence, meaning comes from “the systems of meaning” and from “different semiotics resources” rather than modes (Jewitt, 2009, pp. 21–22). Mode is inextricably linked to social, cultural, and historical background. In other words, a mode is shaped by social, cultural, and historical factors. Principles and regulations used in the implementation of calligraphy, material substances, and tools are rooted in social, cultural, and historical issues and, therefore, calligraphy can be a kind of social-cultural ambassador and the carrier of a specific history. The traditional principles – examined in the chapter on graphetic articulation – that are still in force and implemented in

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 121 performing Nastaliq calligraphic forms6 refer to the history of the formation of Nastaliq, the steps in its prosperity, and its heyday, as well as the Persian writing system and common styles of writing in Persian. These principles are all effective and essential factors to describe Nastaliq and can acknowledge it as a semiotic mode; they are inevitably linked to this type of calligraphy because they are rooted in cultural, historical, and social issues. These social and cultural factors in fact manifest in principles enacted and used to perform Nastaliq, as well as in various applications of Nastaliq in different periods. In other words, social, cultural, religious, and historical issues are always effective factors in enacting conventions of use in Nastaliq calligraphy. The influence and mediation of social-cultural factors in the formation of Nastaliq from its beginning, and the ways of its use in different fields and historical periods from past to present, are explicitly manifested in various works of Nastaliq, in different styles, in various fields of works, and, of course, in different functions. To examine and describe how Nastaliq can fulfill the main concerns of defining mode in multimodal social semiotics theory, namely, interposition of social, cultural, and historical issues in the organization and use of the semiotic mode, one must look at the phase of Nastaliq, from its formation to its heyday; certain periods use different styles of Nastaliq writing, and different applications of it have been derived due to social-cultural changes. One can thus illustrate it with works performed in different times and styles. In addition to general rules and conditions of a semiotic mode (i.e., “a shared cultural sense of a set of resources” (Kress, 2010, p. 22), one of the components of a semiotic mode, or a precondition that must be met to be a semiotic mode, is having three metafunctions according to Halliday’s (1978) theory of communication. Based on Halliday (1978), Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), in Reading Image, demonstrate another essential feature of a semiotic mode as having three metafunctions of “ideational,” “interpersonal,” and “textual.” In essence, to consider image as a distinct semiotic mode, they rely on Halliday’s three-dimensional structure, which has been particularly proposed for linguistic modes such as writing and speech. These metafunctions in Halliday’s theory, as Jewitt (2009) describes, refer to social functions of language. According to Halliday, linguistic modes, such as spoken and written texts as distinct semiotic modes, “always, and simultaneously fulfil these three broad communicative functions or metafunctions” (Halliday, 1978, in Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 142). With respect to these metafunctions, Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) demonstrate that image is a distinct semiotic mode in its own right. In other words, they explore how image conforms to a similar structure like language (spoken or written) as a distinct semiotic mode so that its overall construction and grammatical resources are consistent and in compliance with the three metafunctions in language (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 1996, pp. 79–89; Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 142).

122 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy These three metafunctions in the systemic functional grammar, proposed by Halliday (1978) illustrate three layers of meaning in language. In essence, from Halliday’s perspective, language is regarded as a systematic functional semiotic mode in which different aspects such as social functions are provided to evaluate meanings in the framework of the linguistic metafunctions. In other words, Halliday explains the meanings of language clauses in the three layers of meaning in the framework of a triplex structure of ideational/experiential, interpersonal, and textual metafunctions (in Jewitt, 2009; Kress & Van Leeuwen, 1996; Van Leeuwen, 2006). Therefore, to describe Nastaliq calligraphy as a semiotic mode and explain meaning – as a crucial part of the sign in combination with form – one must realize the three aforementioned metafunctions in Nastaliq calligraphic forms. In short, realizing three metafunctions is another requisite of a distinct semiotic mode. Nastaliq over time, social and cultural traces in Nastaliq calligraphy from its formation to its heyday Nastaliq calligraphy can be considered an omnidirectional mirror reflecting different historical periods and social-cultural changes in Iran. Looking back to the use of Nastaliq from its formation through the contemporary era demonstrates how this means of communication has been tailored to the needs of the community and cultural and social changes, showing different faces in different periods. The advent of different styles of Nastaliq writing, different compositional styles, and different functions of each in different periods demonstrates the influence of social-cultural factors in this calligraphy. Nastaliq, after Taliq calligraphy, was created by Iranians in the second half of the eighth century AH, particularly for Persian script (Fazaeli, 1983[1973]). At the beginning of the eighth century AH, the ways of scribing in Naskh7 calligraphy and the styles of writing in Taliq calligraphy started to change and slowly trended toward similarity to Nastaliq forms. The invention of Nastaliq (e.g., in Fazaeli, 1983[1973]; Shahroudi, 2008) is attributed to Mir-Ali-Tabrizi,8 contemporaneous with Tamerlane, founder of the Timurid dynasty. However, as Fazaeli (1983[1973]) writes, this is more fair to say that before Mir-Ali-Tabrizi some people and professional individuals, over the decades, have provided setting and groundwork in Persian scripts and correspondence, for emerging Nastaliq phenomenon, and in fact, Mir-Ali-Tabrizi only disciplined these changes under certain rules and principles, and gave them dignity and classified these principles in order to be recognized as distinct calligraphy and be distinguished from other types of calligraphy and or different styles of writing. (Fazaeli, 1983[1973], p. 445)

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 123 This acknowledges the role of a collective mind or a collective practice in founding such phenomenon and implicitly refers to the role of social and cultural issues and specific periods of time and situations in the creation of this phenomenon. The formation of calligraphy in terms of shape and configuration, size, and hand-movements, and in short the principles classified by Mir Ali Tabrizi have become the basis of the Nastaliq which has been performed by calligraphers from the eighth century AH to the present. (Fazaeli, 1983[1973], p. 445) Emerging styles in Nastaliq in each specific period show the influence of social and cultural issues in differences in the total configuration of Nastaliq in each period; for example, in the early stage of Nastaliq formation, two different ways of Nastaliq calligraphy common in different states of Iran emerged. An Eastern style9 was used in the eastern regions of Iran, and a Western style10 was common in western and southwestern Iran (Fazaeli, 1983[1973], p. 445). However, these two different styles are similar in basic principles; they differ in delicacies and intricacies based on the taste of their creators, themselves influenced by situations of the specific period, the taste of the kingdom’s period, or the people of the specific region. At any rate, examining the two main styles and specifying the differences between them is beyond the scope of this chapter. The full bloom of Nastaliq occurred in the first half of the Safavid era due to Safavid kings’ great appreciation of art and artists, especially the applied fine arts used in writing books and literature, inscriptions in architecture, and miniatures (Aghdashloo, 2006, 2013; Fazaeli, 1983[1973]; Salouti, 2003; Shahroudi, 2008). During this period, most of the skilled and expert calligraphers who brought Nastaliq to its high tide, the peak of concinnity and eloquence, and yet legitimacy and integrity, emerged. In the tenth and eleventh centuries AH, Nastaliq reached a high degree of prevalence through the advent of skillful and well-known calligraphers and the calligraphy they taught. However, after the fall of the Safavid dynasty, the use of Nastaliq declined and, according to experts and calligraphers, in the twelfth and first half of the thirteenth century AH, Nastaliq was degraded (Fazaeli, 1983[1973], p. 451). After this period, from the beginning of the thirteenth century AH, coinciding with political and cultural changes in society, Nastaliq became the center of attention, and a period of almost 70 years that can be seen as the period of Nastaliq’s resurgence began. In this period, great calligraphers whose works were very fine and reliable emerged, including Mohammad-Reza Kalhor, who created a specific style in Nastaliq that has fundamental differences with the old style11 (Bayani, 1984a; Fazaeli, 1983[1973]; Salouti, 2003). Among the differences between Kalhor’s style, known as the new style, and the old style, I will briefly note two: In the new style, the thickness of forms, especially in the calligraphic letterform with upward and downward

124 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy movements, is greater than in the old style and the extensive forms in the new manner are shorter than in the old style. Moreover, according to the new style, calligraphic forms are more compact, aggregated, and dense than in the old style. In the new style, orbicular forms like ‫ ظ‬،‫ ط‬،‫ ض‬،‫ ص‬are narrower and tighter, so that their negative spaces are more compact and well set than in the old style in which the same forms are performed more loosely and whose negative spaces are larger and more spacious (Figure 4.6) (Ansariyan, 2015; Arasteh & Ferasati, 2009). Another difference distinguishing the two styles is that the curly hooks and oblique tails in the new style are tight and consistent with their hooks, and they have the same thickness as their hooks, with a large amount of consistency with the other parts of the form in terms of thickness and thinness. In the old style, the curly hooks are not tight, and they are generally performed longer and more thickly and not in a perfect harmony with their hooks (Figure 4.7). In general, in the old style, the connections and junctions between forms are thin and tenuous, and fractures, dentations, and nicks are clear, shrill, and measurable; in the new style, the connections are thicker and dentations are stockier (Figures 4.6 and 4.7). In the old manner, circular forms are looser and the tail-end of circular forms is thin; however, in Kalhor’s style, it is quite the opposite. As a whole, in Kalhor’s new style, calligraphic forms are more condense and integrated than in the old style (Fazaeli, 1983[1973], p. 597) (Figures 4.8 and 4.9). Recalling the earlier discussion, I have shown how these examples are related to social changes and caused by cultural and social issues, how these differentiations can be caused by social-cultural issues, and how Nastaliq’s configuration is influenced by social and cultural changes. In essence, all the changes in new styles have an aesthetic reason, as well as a social and cultural one. All the changes and developments in the configuration of Nastaliq which have been enacted and distinguished as a new style coincided with the arrival of lithography in Iran. In essence, according to various accounts

Figure 4.6 Comparison of the calligraphic forms in old and new styles of Nastaliq, retrieved and reproduced from Ansariyan (2015, pp. 46–47)

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 125

Figure 4.7 Two pieces of Nastaliq calligraphy retrieved from Arbaein-e-Jami (Jami, 817–898 AH/1414–1492, 2010) considered as the old style of Nastaliq, scribed by Soltan-Ali Mashhadi in the ninth century AH

(Amirkhani, 1989; Hashemi-Dehkordi, 1984), lithography was launched in the thirteenth century AH/nineteenth century AD at the time of MohammadReza Kalhor, when he tried to change letterforms in Nastaliq to prepare them to be appropriate and convenient for use in lithography. In essence, the high level of delicacy and daintiness in the old style was an obstacle to using Nastaliq letterforms in lithography. Moreover, before the use of lithography in Iran, Nastaliq had never been used for publishing books with movable type, which was the only common system of printing in Iran at that time, and people often preferred handwritten Nastaliq books and manuscripts written in Nastaliq over books printed with movable type. Movable type was not able to make the Nastaliq letterforms or retain the elegance and delicacy of Nastaliq calligraphic forms and maintain legibility at the same time. Kalhor changed the old style attributed to Mir-Emad to

Figure 4.8 A part of Nastaliq piece related to the old style, scribed by Mir-EmadHassani Qazvini (961–1024 AH/1554–1615 AD), retrieved from Malek Museum

Figure 4.9 A part of Nastaliq piece related to the new style, scribed by Mirza-Agha-yeShirazi in the thirteenth century AH, retrieved from Malek Museum

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 127 make letterforms more convenient for use in lithography. In fact, he created a new style for this purpose. In parallel to social and cultural transformations, Nastaliq has changed profoundly from its formation to the modern era. This shows how the Nastaliq system arose from a society with specific historical and cultural resources. In essence, due to the limitations of lithography, a certain way of writing calligraphy was created that made it possible to use it in books and the press, a style which is called “chubby-penning” or “cubby-writing” (Hashemi-Dehkordi, 1984). This style provided possibilities to maintain the intricacies and beauty of Nastaliq in the process of transforming calligraphic forms in stone and then printing them from stone on paper (Hashemi-Dehkordi, 1984). In essence, the old style or the traditional style of Mir-Emad no longer responded to the needs of society. Development of cultural centers and schools, the emergence of newspapers and presses, along with the publication of books, created a need for easy writing and comfortable reading. Moreover, the start of the age of speed, and considering calligraphy a public medium in Iran, also created changes in Nastaliq’s old-fashioned style (Amirkhani, 1989). To clarify the discussion, I offer examples demonstrating how Nastaliq meets the definition of mode from the perspective of social semiotics that emphasizes the influence of social-cultural context; that is, semiotic modes are carriers of social practices during a long history. In Figure 4.10, one can see major changes in the baseline of the letters and thickness of the letters, which are more rotund and chubby and shorter than the letters in the old style (Figures 4.7 and 4.8). There is no longer any sharpness in dentations and the end of letters in the new style, the spacing between words is diminished, and the connections between forms as a whole are smoother so that words are more integrated than in the old style. In addition, in the new style, the circular and extensive forms are placed slightly higher than the baseline. All these changes were introduced to expedite and facilitate printing books through lithography (Rahjiri, 1989). According to Amirkhani (1989), convenience and unpretentiousness are the main characteristics of this style, and the discipline and regulations ruling Nastaliq in the previous period turned into convenience, fluency, and versatility. Thus, the style invented by Mohammad Reza Kalhor is known as an easy and sedate style of Nastaliq, and these features made the style popular because of its high level of readability and ease of use in printing (Amirkhani, 1989). In the different periods of growth and prosperity of Nastaliq, especially in the old and new styles, one can also see changes in the way of shaving the reed pen; each represents social conditions of a specific time. For instance, in the new style enacted after the thirteenth century AH, Amirkhani writes about the quality of the pen in Kalhor’s style: One of the special aspects of Kalhor’s style, acknowledged by experts in the field of Nastaliq, is his way of pen shaving as a result of his sagacity and experience in lithography (Amirkhani, 1989). Kalhor increases the tilt and deviation of the tip of the reed pen and makes it more distorted or

128 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy

Figure 4.10 Calligraphed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor (thirteenth century AH), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

tilted; in other words, he increases the angle of the tip of the reed pen so that it is changed from a slight oblique plane to a steep tilted plane; this quality of the pen allows for more speed in writing (Amirkhani, 1989; Foradi, 1989). In the new style, the amplitude from the tip of the pen is shorter than in the old style; in addition, the dorsum of the pen has not been cut off to give it more strength when scribing. Moreover, because of the low quality of the printing ink in comparison to the original traditional ink, in the new style a slim seam is created in the middle of the tip of the reed pen, and a hair strand is put in this seam to allow a constant and easy flow of ink and prevent slow-down in scribing (Foradi, 1989). For example, one can look at a work created by Mir Emad Hassani Qazvini in the old style

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 129 (Figure 4.11), as well as two pieces related to the new style (Figures 4.10 and 4.12), in which the differences in forms, connections, and integration of rows as a whole are quite tangible. Figure 4.13 shows one page of a book calligraphed by Kalhor in 1270 AH (in Arasteh & Ferasati, 2009, pp. 5–7); given that it is an early work of Kalhor in lithography, it does not have sufficient coherence and integration between forms, and although it is significant in terms of small writing forms (in proportion to the size of the reed pen), it has weaknesses and defects in terms of baseline and adjacency of letters and words and configuration; in comparison to his recent works, it has more sharp and angular forms, so

Figure 4.11 A page of book Tuhfat-al-Vozara, calligraphed by Mir Emad Hassani Qazvini, Old Nastaliq style, 1005 AH, retrieved from Malek Museum

130 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy

Figure 4.12 A page of the book calligraphed by Gholam Hossein Amirkhani in 2008, retrieved from Heravi (1544)

that one can consider it as being influenced by the old style of calligraphers before Kalhor. In the calligraphy of this book, some sparks of evolution in the baseline and row of the letterforms are seen, but without the necessary strength and integration. The entire book is uniformly scribed, and there is not any density or compression of letterforms at the end of row lines. The characteristic of scribing this version is easy reading and legibility. In Figure 4.14, one page of a book also scribed by Kalhor and printed 35 years after scribing the book shown in Figure 4.13, the differences between forms and rows, baselines, proximity, and distance between forms, as well as

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 131

Figure 4.13 A leaf from the book entitled Riaz-al-Mohebbin, which was calligraphed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor and published in Tehran (1270 AH), retrieved from Arasteh and Ferasati (2009, p. 5)

density of the forms at the end of the rows, are perceptible. Also, the sharpness of letterforms and connections are decreased, so that the smoothness of the letterforms and connections between them are comprehensible. Going back to the definition of mode in the social semiotics theory of multimodality, I have examined whether Nastaliq can fulfill aspects of this definition

132 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy

Figure 4.14 A leaf from the book entitled Itinerary of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar to Europe, scribed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor and published in Tehran (1306 AH), retrieved from Arasteh & Ferasati (2009, p. 18)

to be considered a distinct semiotic mode in its own right. As mentioned earlier, mode is a common shared cultural concept in the format of a set of resources and their arrangement in realizing meaning. In this meaning, semiotic resources must be available in any semiotic mode to carry a social-cultural concept. These resources along with the ways in which they are arranged (i.e., the principles under which they are disciplined) form a specific semiotic mode.

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 133 As discussed earlier, these principles are established and influenced by social and cultural factors and are tightly connected to social and cultural developments so that they change in parallel with social and cultural developments. In short, mode comprises a set of resources and principles of organization in a historical, cultural, and social context. According to previous discussions and examples, this qualification (i.e., the necessary affiliation of mode and a specific historical, cultural, and social context as a dimension of the mode definition) applies in the case of Nastaliq calligraphy. So, the next step in examining Nastaliq from the perspective of a semiotic mode is to characterize Nastaliq semiotic resources and their compositional principles. The next phase is to examine Nastaliq for the second crucial aspect in the semiotic mode: semiotic resources. Semiotic resources of Nastaliq calligraphy Kress and Van Leeuwen define semiotic resources as the “connection between representational resources and what people do with them” (in Jewitt, 2009, p. 22). In this meaning, semiotic resources are available as a set of activities, materials, and artifacts used for a communication purpose. According to Van Leeuwen (2005b, p. 285) these materials, whether the physiological (e.g., use of speech devices, voice, facial muscles, and gesture) or technical (e.g., substances and materials such as pen, ink, and computer graphic software), along with the ways by which or in which they are organized, constitute semiotic resources. Given this description, semiotic resources encompass both representative agents and the ways used to arrange such agents into a communicative event. In essence, semiotic resources can be considered a medium in which and by which an interactive or communicative event is shaped. Therefore, through this perspective, the set of rules and principles existing in Nastaliq calligraphy, as well as the three factors of tool, body, and substance, are all attributed to semiotic resources of Nastaliq. This means that all actions thus far examined as physiological activities and all artifacts used, as well as the principles and conventions used in applying them to create calligraphic forms, are considered semiotic resources, each with its own “meaning potential” that is realized based on the specific social and cultural context and consistent with the specific background of their use. Semiotic resources have a meaning potential, based on their past uses, and a set of affordances, based on their possible uses and these will be actualized in concrete social contexts where their use is subject to some form of semiotic regime. (Van Leeuwen, 2005b, p. 285) Given that, the 12 basic principles defined as tradition in Nastaliq12 – in both the stages of form implementation and tool/substance preparation –

134 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy and new conventions added or changed over time or in response to social and cultural developments have specific potential to achieve meanings with regard to a particular context. In this sense, taking into account the time and place (i.e., the social and cultural conditions), each of the principles, conventions, tools, and material substances applied in Nastaliq is considered a semiotic resource and has potential in meaning-making. In this definition, the principles and conventions are what have been socially created under the influence of social and cultural conditions and related developments, as well as social interactions in the given semiotic mode. In this definition, the collected principles, conventions, tools, and material substances are a set of resources which have been enacted based on a given social-cultural context, and they can be transformed and interchanged in parallel with social changes and cultural evolution, rather than remaining fixed and constant as in de Saussure’s definition of semiotic resources. Because a multimodal social semiotic perspective is derived from social interactions, and its emphasis is on social affairs, “it stands in contrast to traditional semiotic[s]” in which resources are fixed and resistant to modification (Barthes, 1977[1964]; De Saussure, 1974[1916] in Jewitt, 2009, p. 23). In essence, examining and characterizing resources in Nastaliq can reveal the basic difference between social semiotics and other branches of semiotics, especially traditional semiotics derived from differences in the relation of signifier and signified. In the traditional semiotics described by de Saussure, this relation is based on a synchronic rule rather than an asynchronic rule or on a predetermined and constant axiom, and individuals are passive and play no role in making meaning. In social semiotics, however, signifier and signifier are defined based on an asynchronic relationship, and individuals play a substantial role in the modification of principles and conventions and resources as a whole (the key values of semiotic resources are concisely sketched in Figure 4.15). In short, semiotic resources (consistent with social/cultural context; has meaning potential; based on past uses, set of affordances, and possible uses) include (1) actions (including physiological actions and technical actions, (2) materials and artifacts used for communicative propose, and (3) the ways of organizing actions and materials. According to the social semiotics definition of semiotic resource, resources in Nastaliq are organized via the three main categories of actions, materials, and principles. The calligraphic semiotic resources of Nastaliq are illustrated in Figure 4.16. As shown in Figure 4.16, semiotic resources of Nastaliq, based on the social semiotic theory of multimodality and the given definition of Kress and Van Leeuwen, are a compilation of all activities. They encompass the physical activities used in traditional ways of Nastaliq and the technical/ computerized ways of creating calligraphic forms in the new era. They also include the materials specified in the categories of physical and technical, plus the set of principles – enacted as the tradition of Nastaliq – and the universal conventions applicable in articulation of all types of graphic forms

Semioc Resources •

Actions



Materials



Artifacts



Ways of organization

Figure 4.15 The categories of semiotic resources in social semiotics.

Figure 4.16 The categories of semiotic resources in the mode of Nastaliq calligraphy.

136 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy as categorized by Johannessen (2010). In addition, they include the general principles applicable to all graphic elements in fine arts and visual communications, as characterized by specialists such as Kandinsky (1947[1929]) and Dondis (1973). These are all considered resources in Nastaliq calligraphy that provide properties in a Nastaliq work to create communicative events. Each property has specific characteristics through which specific meaning potential is implied. These activities, material substances, and conventions as components of Nastaliq semiotic resources are all tied to social and cultural issues and the context in which they are derived. In short, semiotic resources of Nastaliq comprise activities, materials, and principles that are socially created and indeed transformative in the social context in which they are made. Recalling the differences between the old-fashioned style and Kalhor’s new style authenticates this specific characteristic in Nastaliq semiotic resources as transformative. As shown in Figure 4.16, according to Kress and Van Leeuwen’s proposed definition of semiotic resources, all activities, materials, and artifacts created within the mode of Nastaliq – whether physiological or technical – as well as the set of principles and conventions upon which the given materials and activities are organized are considered semiotic resources of Nastaliq. In essence, semiotic resources include all supplements and possibilities in Nastaliq – as a mode – that lead to creation of semiotic events in a specific social and cultural context. Each of these resources is tied to properties and characteristics that lead to meaning potentials; in other words, each characteristic has the potential to imply a specific meaning. Examining Nastaliq articulation through the three factors of affordance can lead to a description of semiotic resources in Nastaliq. In other words, scrutinizing Nastaliq’s organization for its segments, clauses, and fragments as well as the ways of their integration leads one to recognize all properties and possibilities in this mode. With respect to the social issues, describing activities and practices in the format of conventions and limitations related to the physiology of the body and the set of resources in the mode of Nastaliq that lead to creation of semiotic events in the given specific context can be described. Each of these resources or properties provides specific grounds and properties and each has its own meaning potential or, in other words, the capacity to signify a specific meaning. Therefore, what I examine as articulation of Nastaliq in the previous chapter – through the three factors of affordance based on the general dynamic theory of articulatory graphetics – can be used to describe semiotic resources in Nastaliq, provided that social issues and cultural factors are also considered and added in this process of description. In essence, the process of “how body acts upon substance” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 122) to create communicative events, with specific consideration of the given social context, describes semiotic resources in a given mode. Thus, the process of articulation “by which a given meaning potential finds a form” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 121) is embodied in the format of calligraphic form and refers to the

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 137 process in which all resources in a semiotic mode, and indeed Nastaliq, collaborate to provide a given meaning to a form, and thus to conform to the sketchy definition of the sign (i.e., a combination of meaning and form). Semiotic resources are rooted in and tightly bound to social-cultural issues; thus, they are flexible and transformative and each has meaning potentials. In this sense, any semiotic resource, including actions or practices, materials, and principles and conventions, entails specific attributes and properties in the given mode which are associated with social-cultural issues in the specific context, and each carries a particular meaning potential. In essence, semiotic resources in a given mode comprise specific characteristics and features that result in properties, possibilities, and qualities, or affordances,13 that entail meaning potentials. To examine meaning potentials carried by each semiotic resource in Nastaliq calligraphy, first, the detailed rules and conventions applied in Nastaliq plus the materials, substances, and actions and practices must be scrutinized for their characteristics and, thereafter, classified for their affordances in carrying meaning potentials. In other words, the given articulation characterized in previous chapters for Nastaliq calligraphy must be recognized. What characteristic belongs to what resource (including action, practice, material, and conventions) or what characteristic(s) a certain resource (i.e., action, practice, convention, tool, or material) has must be determined. Accordingly, what kind of meaning potential(s) the characteristics have must also be determined. This means extracting distinct features in this system of meanings (or semiotic mode) of Nastaliq, then figuring out their affordances, functions, and “metafunctions,” and therefore their concrete meaning potentials. All these efforts demonstrate how signs are created in the mode of Nastaliq or, in other words, how calligraphic forms get meaning and eventually fulfill the definition of sign in the theory of social semiotics. The definition presented for semiotic resources, in fact, offers a different understanding of sign in a semiotic system. In essence, as mentioned earlier, a given semiotic mode – as a systematic regime of meanings – is made of semiotic resources and their concrete meaning potentials in a specific social context. This is how sign is defined as two components of form (signifier) and meaning (signified). In fact, in this definition, semiotic resource and meaning potential play a role as signifier and signified, respectively. In this sense, a person chooses a resource from a specific semiotic mode – such as image, writing, speech, or gesture – that signifies a certain meaning potential which is realized in that given specific social-cultural context (Figure 4.17).

Calligraphy and multimodality Nastaliq calligraphy cannot be regarded as isolated from the other communicative modes it often accompanies. For example, in contemporary designs – especially works created by contemporary graphic designers – the boundaries between different specialities and the distinctions between the

138 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy

Figure 4.17 The definition of semiotic resources in coordination with definition of sign

specialities are not recognized (e.g., typography and illustration, photography). This also applies to Nastaliq calligraphic works – especially to contemporary Nastaliq works – in which the boundaries separating calligraphy, painting, drawing, graphics, and illustration have disappeared. In other words, today, visual artists use different semiotic and communicative modes to create their works, so that sometimes the borders of different specialities are not explicitly drawn. Calligraphy works created in the contemporary era are almost always a fusion of different modes of semiotics; color, illustration, and even layout and typography are defined through various resources and new and computerized tools and techniques. Today, Nastaliq does not merely involve letterforms; in fact, it is a means of communication with a wide range of affordances, mostly coming as a mix of other semiotic modes such as color, painting/pictorial drawing, photography, and typography. In essence, Nastaliq is no longer considered solely an ad hoc branch of visual fine arts, but also a distinct semiotic system with its own resources to make communicative events. In addition, such semiotic mode cannot be isolated or secluded from cooperation with other semiotic modes. In this sense, the Nastaliq pieces shown in this study demonstrate that Nastaliq has almost never worked alone, but most often in combination with other modes of communication such as color, image (e.g., miniature), illumination/gilding, and book layout. Especially in the contemporary era, color and drawing (with all their specific resources) are used to create different combinations of colors and various textures in Nastaliq calligraphy works. Such combination with calligraphy is mostly seen in Naghashikhat/calligrams. Therefore, Nastaliq cannot act as an isolated tool but – like other semiotic modes in collaboration together – contributes in many ways with other communicative modes and resources. Hence, in reviewing the remaining works of Nastaliq calligraphy from past to present, one can see that calligraphy is associated with other semiotic modes and communicative tools such as architecture (e.g., in

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 139 mosques and tombs, inscriptions or tombstones) or new urban design (e.g., in public places like subway stations and urban sculptures), posters and other graphic works, as well as contemporary Persian typographic work. Nastaliq most often plays a substantial role in collaboration with other modes. For example, in Figure 4.18 (a poster created by Reza Abedini), the graphic designer has used Nastaliq along with other modes of color, typography, and drawing and created a multimodal work to present the idea of body or torso. Although the calligraphy used here is functionally superior to the other modes of color, illustration, and drawing, all the elements cooperate with the calligraphy in creating a multimodal integrated text. In essence, the matter here is not the priority of one (or more) mode, the calligraphy plays a central role in interaction in comparison to the function of the other modes used in this work; it “is part of a multimodal ensemble” (Jewitt, 2009, p. 14). In other words, in this multimodal work, what is important is the multiplicity of modes which all contribute to representation, communication, and, accordingly, meaning, rather than the priority of one mode over others. In Figure 4.19, the three-dimensional expressive elements, in collaboration with various resources in the semiotic modes of illustration/drawing, and calligraphy, work together to depict the image of a tulip as the symbol of

Figure 4.18 Using Nastaliq calligraphic forms in designing poster created by Reza Abedini (Abedini, 2015)

140 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy

Figure 4.19 Using a combination of calligraphy, image, and sculpture in environmental graphic design, created by Mehran Mozaffari

Iran. In fact, the calligraphic configuration is not the only resource by which the given meaning is created, but other semiotic resources – such as color, texture, drawing, and three-dimensional effects – equally collaborate in the meaning. In essence, the meaning is created within a multimodal text that is integrated with other semiotic means of expression. In the poster entitled “Horr/‫”ﺣﺮ‬, shown in Figure 4.20, the letters (H/‫ﺡ‬, R/‫ )ﺭ‬of the word Horr/‫ ﺣﺮ‬are combined together and create a texture through juxtaposition and repetition of letterforms and their association with other modes such as color and resources of expression; the combination conveys the ideational meanings and the main idea of the work (i.e., justice and trenchancy). Thus, through composition, the word Horr at the top side and the center of the page is presented as the most important visual element. Here, through composition as a textual resource, the word Horr/‫ ﺣﺮ‬is presented as an important element; moreover, because the page is bisected into top and bottom, the word trend is upward, and the word is separated from the tissue and bustle of the texture in the bottom, the ideational meanings of freedom or emancipation is implied. Replication and juxtaposing the word in the bottom of the page enact a kind of interaction between the single word written above and the set of words at the bottom that presents attitudes of bustle, chaos, complexity, and contention and eliminates the conflict at the top of the page. In essence, such interaction between the two parts of the page defines an interplay between top and bottom. The elements and participants used in the top and bottom (i.e., an action from the participants in the bottom of the page and a reaction by the elements, especially the written single word, at the top) create a conflict through a density of forms in the bottom side, as an action, and a release or escape by a single word in the top, as a reaction to that conflict. In fact, they create a contrast

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 141

Figure 4.20 Created by Fatemeh Mortezayi (2013), retrieved from the collection of “Ashura Posters with a Look at Traditional Calligraphy.” Presented in the third session of the Circle of Art

between top and bottom that causes specific trends and attitudes toward the written letters and the work as a whole. Figure 4.21 demonstrates how the designer applied the decorative style of Toqra and color to set the title of Ashura and value its idea. In this poster, the artist has used a traditional customary oriflamme (called Alam/‫ ) َﻋَﻠﻤ‬used in ritual mourning of Muharram. Figure 4.22 shows another multimodal work in which Nastaliq collaborates with other means of expression, such as three-dimensionality and texture, and creates shades; a kind of chalky white conveys a sense of old inscriptions and celebrates the value of traditional and handmade moldings, though with a modern manner close to new and contemporary paintings. Combining different communicative modes with Nastaliq is more common in contemporary styles of visual arts in Iran, such as Naghashikhat or calligram – which is rooted in the older

Figure 4.21 Created by Fatemeh Mortezayi (2013), retrieved from the collection of “Ashura Posters with a Look at Traditional Calligraphy.” Presented in the third session of the Circle of Art

Figure 4.22 Using Nastaliq calligraphic resources of Nastaliq with resources of other modes; solid/three-dimensional texture/architectural modes, created by Reza Amouzad

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 143 styles of contemporary painting like Saqakhaneh – and suggests a fusion of traditional and modern styles. The three functions or meanings, specified in Halliday’s three-dimensional systemic functional theory, can be applied and realized in Nastaliq calligraphy as a semiotic mode in a way that they are potentially within the system of Nastaliq and can be derived from that system, indeed consistent with the specific nature of the Nastaliq system and its traditional principles. However, to do justice to the three functions of Nastaliq calligraphy – to realize the communicative potentials of resources of each function and discover communicative differences caused by each resource and the meanings which are potentially realized by each – it is necessary to examine and classify the potentials of each resource as one of the three functions in Nastaliq. In other words, the distinctive characteristics and specific features of Nastaliq calligraphy as a mode must be separately identified while their different expressive and communicative potentials are also specified. The next chapter analyzes and characterizes the distinctive features of Nastaliq, those that distinguish it from other modes of semiotics.

Summary In this chapter, I approached Nastaliq calligraphy through the theory of multimodal social semiotics with an ambition of regarding it not merely as a timeworn phenomenon in the area of fine arts but as a self-determining system of semiotics with its own resources and principles derived from and enacted in a specific social and cultural context and, accordingly, demonstrating it as a distinct mode of semiotics. After providing a general background of the theory and a discussion on why multimodal social semiotics is an appropriate theory to approach calligraphy considering the goals and research questions of the research, I discussed the core values and key concepts of the theory – multimodality and social semiotics, mode, sign, and meaning-making – and the several branches of social semiotics, specifically the branch that I apply to analyze calligraphic signs, which is based on Halliday’s (1978) social semiotics theory of communication. More specifically, in the section “Semiotics: signs – form and meaning – in Nastaliq calligraphy,” I discussed semiotics as a main concept of the theory of multimodal social semiotics. To define sign and meaning in Nastaliq calligraphic forms, I used the trihedral perspective of semiosis, multimodality, and mode proposed by Kress (2010). In short, in defining sign and meaning-making, I used a combination of Halliday’s (1978) semiotic theory of communication and Kress’s (2010) theorization of meaning. The section “Semiotics/semiosis of meaning-making” engaged with two main strands in semiotics, the semiotics of Peirce’s and de Saussure’s theory of sign. Moreover, in this section, I compared these two models of sign and defined their specificities and contrasts. Thereafter, I defined and examined

144 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy Nastaliq signs from the view of Peirce and de Saussure. In addition, I demonstrated the footprints and effects of Peirce and de Saussure’s models as the basis of Western theories of semiotics in the theory of multimodal social semiotics. Considering the foundational models of sign in semiotics and their traces in social semiotics theory of multimodality, in the section “Sign in Nastaliq calligraphy,” I particularly defined sign in Nastaliq calligraphy. To fulfill the description of sign in Nastaliq – as a merger of form and meaning – I considered social and cultural practices in Nastaliq, resources, and material substances involved in the production of calligraphic forms. Therefore, to examine the form as one essential part of each sign, I considered traditional principles used in creating forms in Nastaliq and the social, historical, religious, and even theosophical background of their use. To describe meaning – as another essential part of each sign – I used the three perspectives of semiosis of meaning-making, multimodality, and specific mode proposed by Kress (2010); without considering all three views, meaning cannot be properly realized in Nastaliq. I argued that to realize signs through multimodal social semiotics, a specific mode must be defined as a context in which the signs are nested; this means that defining Nastaliq as a specific mode is a precondition to reach a proper understanding of calligraphic signs of Nastaliq. So, stepwise, in the section “Nastaliq calligraphy as a semiotic mode,” I described Nastaliq based on the perquisites of a mode in social semiotics theory of multimodality; in this section, first I examined Nastaliq for its social and cultural context and then described it over time from its formation to its heyday. Afterward, semiotic resources of Nastaliq – those that are flexible and evolving and constantly transform the semiotic mode and make it anew according to social conditions and communicative modes – have been recognized and described. The last section of this chapter dealt with another key concept of multimodal social semiotics, multimodality, and the perspective needed to consider calligraphy as defining sign and meaning. In this section, I discussed how Nastaliq as a distinct mode cannot be isolated from other communicative modes and demonstrated how especially today Nastaliq is not exclusively about letterforms, but rather employs a wide range of principles and material substances, in combination and collaboration with other semitone modes. I demonstrated how such collaboration manifests in contemporary styles of calligraphy and painting.

Notes 1 This principle is part of the set of 12 principles enumerated and discussed in previous chapters, also called “non-educable” principles or non-visual qualities of calligraphy, such as tenet, satisfaction, and dignity. 2 It is worth mentioning that one cannot disregard the original root-context of Nastaliq, the several hundred years of old history of this type of calligraphy, which was formed and developed as the national calligraphy specifically for writing and

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 145

3

4 5

6

7 8

9 10 11

penmanship of Persian scripts in Iran for the first time. It has passed the stages of growth and prosperity in Iran, so that its evolved, developed, and advanced form is only found in Iran. Therefore, disregarding social conditions and the stages of development of Nastaliq in comparing different kinds of calligraphies used in different areas for different scripts, though they have the same root of formation and are labeled with the same name, might be a fundamental mistake. Taliq is the first style of calligraphy that was formed specifically for Persian scripts. This type of calligraphy was rooted in two types of calligraphy, Tawqi and Reqa, and it was enacted in the ninth century AH. Taliq is full of circular and spiral forms so that it has potential to take on various compositions. Due to the complexity of this type of calligraphy, it had a low level of legibility and thus was not common or popular among laypeople but rather among official scribers of government. Due to its low level of legibility, it gradually lost its applicability and was abolished after the emergence of Nastaliq (Ghelichkhani, 2008, 1993; Irani, 1983). According to Kress (2010), a sign is a combination of form and meaning, and a complex sign is defined as a multimodal text including various signs each of which is made of form and meaning (see Figure 4.3). This does not mean that the emphasis is on the form – as one of the dual components of sign – of calligraphic letters, but rather the emphasis is on the visual configuration of letterforms and the attempt is to make them free of being subordinate to linguistic practices. In essence, to understand the process in which visual calligraphic forms can be signs in their own right – signs that reach their entity through their own visual existence as form and potential meanings which are not affiliated and attached to conventional and arbitrary meanings defined in language. The meanings are derived not from conventional meanings through linguistic practices embedded in the Persian language, but through visual image of letters, considering the social and cultural contexts in which they are made. Although the extensive use of Nastaliq calligraphy in different areas of work – from text writing, lithography, painting, architecture, fine industry like carpet, and poetry to graphic works and computer graphics – and diversity and variation in use of such kind of calligraphy along with other modes such as image, color, writing, graphics, and computer screen present it as multifunctional, the principles and basic traditional rules in this calligraphy are the same as before and do not change in different works. In other words, this feature of Nastaliq, namely, being multifunctional or having different uses, is not a reason to change basic principles used in the implementation of calligraphic forms; the performance and implementation of Nastaliq is still based on the 12 principles of Nastaliq enacted by protagonists of this calligraphy and, despite a variety of applications, these principles are constant and still at work. A type of calligraphy especially for Arabic scripts attributed to Ibn-MuqlaShirazi in the early third century AH. Mir Ali Tabrizi, a famous Persian calligrapher well known as the inventor of Nastaliq calligraphy (or the first person who enacted Nastaliq as a disciplined and distinct style of calligraphy) in the eighth century AH/the fourteenth century AD. Also called the Jaffer and Azhar style (Fazaeli, 1983[1973]). Perhaps this naming refers to name of calligraphers who were using a specific method in their Nastaliq calligraphy. “This style was enacted by Abd-al-Rahman Jami in the reign of King Yaqub Ag Qoyunlu (884–894 AH)” (Fazaeli, 1983[1973]). The old style of Nastaliq as a whole is known as calligrapher Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvini’s )961–1024 AH/1554–1615 AD) style. In fact, Mir-Emad’s calligraphy works are representative of the old style.

146 Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy 12 The 12 principles of implementation in Nastaliq calligraphy are composition, baseline, proportion, thickness and thinness, circle and plane, realistic rise/ ascent, virtual rise/ascent, rhythm, tenet, and dignity. 13 The term affordance has always been controversial in multimodal research and is particularly common in multimodal social semiotics. As mentioned in the previous chapter, “affordance” was derived from Gibson’s (1986[1979]) works on cognitive perception, then it was used by Norman (2002[1988], 2004) in connection with design. According to Norman, “affordance” refers to the material/substance and social aspects of design (in Jewitt, 2009, p. 24). Continuing Gibson’s (1986[1979]) works, Van Leeuwen also uses “affordance” and the term “meaning potential” to refer to material and social aspects of modes. However, as Jewitt (2009) mentions, Kress’s perspective on the word “affordance” is a bit different, as he instead uses the term “modal affordance” to refer to the set of possibilities that exist to express or represent through mode. In other words, he considers “affordance” to be a complex concept related to both material and social, cultural, and historical usages of a mode; each of these is closely related and connected to each other. Jewitt (2009) argues that neither Gibson’s nor Norman’s concept of “affordance” equally acknowledges how “conceptual and material objects” are shaped/formed by people in a specific social and cultural condition (Jewitt, 2009, p. 24). However, “affordance” in Kress and “meaning potential” in Van Leeuwen are used to refer to the ways of using semiotic resources, or using a semiotic mode to make meaning in a specific context; in the words of Kress and Van Leeuwen, “a meaning potential derives from what it is we do when we articulate them” (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2001, p. 22). In using “affordance,” they consider the ways of creating/forming material objects by people in a given context. In other words, they include the role of people in shaping means and materials and semiotic resources as a whole in a specific context.

5

Holliday’s triple metafunctions As requisite of any semiotic mode – in Nastaliq calligraphy

After enumerating semiotic resources in Nastaliq calligraphy and before specifying their distinct characteristics and properties and determining their meaning potentials, the three metafunctions proposed by Halliday (1978) must be described as another requisite of a semiotic mode through which meanings are explained. In essence, another necessary condition for considering Nastaliq calligraphy a semiotic mode is having three metafunctions (i.e., ideational, interpersonal, and textual) through which three layers of meaning are realized. The ideational or experiential metafunction, as Halliday (1978) argues, is related to the part of the meaning – of the clause in language – that is the result of people’s relationship with the outside world and experience of that world. Interpersonal metafunction represents the interactions between people, and textual metafunction is especially related to the ways of ordering and the placement of different parts of the clause in language. In essence, here I try to describe how these three metafunctions of meanings are realized through different resources in Nastaliq calligraphy as a mode. As mentioned earlier, Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006 [1996]) use Halliday’s (1978) model to demonstrate how image can be a distinct semiotic mode like language. In essence, they use the trihedral model of Halliday as a criterion to examine image to acknowledge how image subordinates and displays specific metafunctions which are matched to the grammatical resources of an image (Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2006 [1996], pp. 56–71; Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 142). As a result, based on Halliday’s (1978) social semiotics theory of communication and according to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006 [1996]), to assume something as a semiotic mode, or for something to constitute a semiotic mode or a known system of meanings like language, it must “realize” the three meanings or metafunctions defined in Halliday’s systemic functional model. Therefore, to understand whether Nastaliq can be considered a distinct semiotic mode as an image in its own right, it is necessary to examine how the three groups of meaning or metafunction manifest in Nastaliq and fulfill the third requisite of mode in multimodal social semiotics. Here, the three functional dimensions in the proposed model will be examined in calligraphic forms of Nastaliq.

148 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Ideational metafunctions in Nastaliq mode Overall, Halliday’s metafunction theory of language places a crucial emphasis on text and context and their interrelation. In essence, Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics “combines text with context” (Nørgaard, 2003, p. 11). This theory considers text to be a social action and the basic unit of meaning. This interrelation between text and social factors makes it a fluid and flexible theory. In essence, the radical nature of Halliday’s theory depends on two interrelated steps; the first step is that the clause or the basic unit of grammar is made not of one structure but of three, each of which reflects the others but has different kinds of meaning or metafunction (Halliday, 1978, 1985). These three kinds of meaning or metafunction include ideational structure, interpersonal structure, and textual structure. These three structures, respectively, represent events/occurrences, express negotiations/debates and agreements on social relations, and create textures and interlock/interweave strings of experiential and interpersonal meanings. The second step related to Halliday’s perspective is that each metafunction and the special grammar that provides possibilities to create such metafunctions are in an integrative relation with each other and with the aspects of the given context. In other words, this is language that creates context. In the systemic functional linguistics theory of Halliday, this relationship between language and context is described by using the word “realization”; this is what distinguishes this theory or approach from other linguistic approaches that use the word “expression” and assume that what is outside of language exists independent of language (Johannessen, 2010; Nørgaard, 2003). According to Halliday (1978), the ideational or experiential metafunction refers to the function or operation of what is happening in the world and in our mind (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 142). In essence, according to Halliday (1978), the ideational or experiential metafunction is “the capacity of language to let us communicate about people, things, actions, events, thoughts, feeling” (in Nørgaard, 2003, p. 29). In other words, ideational metafunction is a result of people’s relationship with the outside world and their experience of it. As “the most obvious function of language,” experiential metafunction comprises six basic types of process, including “Material processes,1 Mental processes,2 Behavioural processes,3 Verbal processes,4 Existential processes,5 and Relational processes6” (Nørgaard, 2003, p. 29) and the most important parts of language that realize them are “lexicon” and “grammar of transitivity”7 (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 142; Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996, pp. 56–71, 79–89). In an image, as Kress and Van Leeuwen state, this metafunction is realized through “composition” and “vectoriality” (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996, pp. 56–71, 79–89). This metafunction, in fact, provides possibilities to create different expressions of a phenomenon that should be expressed.

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 149 Ideational resources in Nastaliq Ideational metafunction manifests in Nastaliq through different resources to ideationally express actions, qualities, and values. For example, in Figure 5.1, regardless of the use of color in this poster and the visual effects made by graphic tools/software in the background, considering only its mental, material, and relational aspects, one can see how the form of the letter alone can express ideational meanings. The poster is designed under the theme of Ashura, entitled Hurr8 (‫ )ﺣﺮ‬one of the commanders in the event of Ashura, as

Figure 5.1 Created by Fatemeh Mortezayi (2013), retrieved from the collection of “Ashura Posters with a Look at Traditional Calligraphy.” Presented in the third session of the Circle of Art

150 Holliday’s triple metafunctions a symbol of strength, courage, bravery, resistance, and martyrdom in the Shia religious culture. Regardless of choosing the word Hurr – writing the letter scripts of the word Hurr – and the concept and notion of Hurr, regardless of the color, effects, and shadows used, one can see how the form of the letter individually works to imply the theme of Ashura. In other words, regardless of the reddish color and visual effects, penumbras, lighting, and the thick border around the calligraphic form to convey the desired meaning, the form of letters (the word Hurr,‫ )ﺣﺮ‬is individually used to express the whole idea, namely, Ashura. In this meaning, the calligraphic form of the word illustrates a pointed sharp object such as a sword that represents directly the idea of warfare, swordsmanship, and sharpness. In essence, the main theme of the poster – displayed in the festival entitled Ashura – is not Hurr but Ashura; the designer in this work efficiently uses the word Hurr to convey the idea of Ashura, whether ideationally implying the concept of Ashura or using the notion and conceptual meaning of Hurr as a symbol of warfare, bravery, and swordsmanship. In other words, the designer uses the metaphorical meaning of the word – referring to the identity of Hurr as a symbol of Ashura – and at the same time the visual form of the calligraphic letterform of the word to convey the desired idea ‒ the culture/concept of Ashura. However, the point to consider is that here the function of visual calligraphic forms used to convey the idea of Ashura outweighs the other modes (e.g., written language, color) used in this poster. Here, it seems that the design does not emphasize legibility of the written word and the word (Hurr) is apparently used for its visual form rather than its lexical meaning. In other words, as the word is an Arabic name, for greater readability, it should have been written as the full name (e.g., Hurr ibn Yazid al Riyahi) with its own concrete upside marks or prefix used in Arabic names so as to be more straightforward and prevent viewers’ misunderstanding rather than being written in its diminutive form. Another reason for the claim that the designer deliberately uses or targets the visual calligraphic form of the word Hurr to convey the given idea ideationally is that this word can be written in different forms in Nastaliq (see Figure 5.2) – whether in connection to the two letters of ‫ح‬/H and ‫ر‬/R or each letter individually – but here the designer has purposely chosen this special form of connection between the letters ‫ح‬/H and ‫ر‬/R and the certain form of the letter ‫ – ر‬which is sharper and more pointed than its other forms – to imply a sense of warfare, sharpness, and sabre. The letter ‫ر‬/R in connection with ‫ح‬/H is performable in two ways; one way is that the letter ‫ﺭ‬/R is attached to the extensive form of letter ‫ح‬, and its tail-end is placed on the base line; this is called a tear form of R/‫ﺭ‬. The other way – which is used in the aforementioned poster – is that the letter ‫ر‬/R is sharper, its angles are steeper, and the curvature of the body/surface is less than the tear form of ‫ﺭ‬/R; this is called the ensiform form of ‫ر‬/R (Figure 5.2). Figure 5.3 shows examples comparing letterforms performed in different ways in Nastaliq with actual visual images. This has been the traditional

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 151

Figure 5.2 Two ways of connectivity of the letters ‫ﺡ‬/H and ‫ﺭ‬/R in Nastaliq calligraphy

Figure 5.3 Typical visual encoding of Nastaliq calligraphic forms for easy learning, retrieved and reproduced from the authors’ collection of calligraphic patterns (actual or mental)

use by teachers, especially in the past, to facilitate students’ learning and to perform calligraphic forms more conveniently and accurately. These examples – likening calligraphic forms to actual visual forms – indicate that calligraphic forms have potential to convey meaning in the real world. In essence, comparison of calligraphic forms with actual materials, objects, and real existence in the world indicates that the pioneers and veterans of Nastaliq are aware of and admit to such apparent similarities between calligraphic letters and physical/substance/mental phenomena in the external real world.

152 Holliday’s triple metafunctions This also displays an imagination to depict actual images/figurative images from the letterforms and attribute them to actual phenomena in the real world (derived from the world). In other words, correlating calligraphic forms to actual objects or mental concepts in the real world eventually demonstrates that Nastaliq calligraphy does not comprise purely abstract and rigid forms without regard to the outside world, but rather forms with potential to evoke an imagination or an image related to a mental concept or physical object existing in the actual outside world. In fact, it has potential to ideationally express a physical or mental phenomenon as a result of material, mental, and relational processes. In other words, this kind of correlating calligraphic forms with actual things in the material world can recall the ideational/experiential metafunction that refers to the processes through which we experience and present what is doing in the material world and in our mind, the processes through which we encode things for their states of being in terms of existence or relation, as Nørgaard (2003) mentions. In essence, “ideational resources of a mode,” as Jewitt (2009) points out, refer to how and in what ways a mode expresses or represents the world and displays information. The ideational metafunction, in fact, refers to “representational meaning,” which is also called “experiential meaning” or “logical meaning” (Jewitt, 2009, p. 24). In this sense, ideational meaning/ metafunction relates to the resources in a mode or the set of functions, efficiencies, or proficiencies – such as different forms and the ways of composition – used to represent things (like people, place, sense, and concept) in the world or expresses the experiences of the material world (Halliday, 1985). In language as a distinct semiotic mode, as Nørgaard states, this function is fulfilled “lexicogrammatically through the system of Transitivity” (2003, p. 29). For instance, words fulfill this function and are chosen (by people) to present the things existing in the world. While, in image, according to Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996, pp. 56–71, 79–89), different aspects of composition and the system of vectoriality can actualize this metafunction. In Nastaliq calligraphy, the ways of configuring a letter, or figure of letters, different features in composition such as orientation and position, and the ways of connecting the letters, as well as the aspects related to the baseline can realize or carry ideational function. In Figure 5.1, a specific configuration of letters, as well as a particular form of connection between the letters (‫ر‬/R and ‫ح‬/H), has been chosen to carry a specific kind of concept (e.g., event of Ashura). The figure of the word that has different sharp and steep angles (regardless of the lexical/literal meaning of the word Hurr, that is not a priority in terms of conveying the main concept/theme) has been purposely selected to ideationally convey the sense of bravery, strength, war, and sharpness. Using a form with sharp angles, placing and stretching it from the upper-right corner to the lower-left corner, and orienting it in a way to create specific motion that crosses the page in an oblique way conveys a sense of incision, instability, intensity, strength, stiffness, rigidity, and

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 153 masculinity. These methods are all used to imply the main desired theme, the concepts of bravery, courage, and martyrdom in a specific culture (i.e., Shia culture). As shown in Figure 5.4, using a specific configuration of letters or selecting calligraphic forms based on their configuration, using appropriate ways in their connection and composition, and choosing a specific direction to place the given letterform on the page through turning/rotating the assumptive baseline and accordingly the letterform in the direction of the large diameter of the page all function to imply a sense of instability, a kind of rush, violation, challenge, and inconstancy. In essence, by using a specific form of the given letters that dominates other factors, such as color and visual effect in the background, the designer creates a kind of illustration with calligraphic forms so that the viewer most likely receives the desired theme, or the general sense of the work, from the representative and figurative part of the letters, regardless of the literal/lexical sense of the word (Hurr). In other words, the visual configuration of the letter and its position in the page function to express or represent the desired idea. Such ideational use of calligraphic forms, employing different form/configuration of letters, using different conventions and facilities in composition, such as dividing the page into different areas, and illustratively using letterforms in creating a pictorial space that ideationally depicts the main theme (Ashura event and its values and features) can refer to fading boundaries between letters/words and image. In essence, simulation of the form of letters to the actual image (see Figure 5.3), whether used for easy understanding of

Figure 5.4 An analogic sample from the poster in Figure 5.1

154 Holliday’s triple metafunctions calligraphic forms or creating illustrative artifacts from past to present, demonstrates a kind of fragile border between letterform and visual image. This quality and analogizing of letterforms with actual images has been used by calligraphers not only to perform letters in an accurate and perfect way, but also to illustrate and create illustrative works depicting sense and meaning in the world. Another example of ideational function in Nastaliq that explicitly manifests a fading boundary between image and letterforms is seen in Figures 5.5 and 5.6 The examples show how calligraphic forms of Nastaliq can be ideationally used to express actions, qualities, and ideas and how this fulfills the processes of ideational/experiential metafunction in Halliday’s model. The ideational metafunction, through the processes of material, relational, and mental, as well as behavioral, verbal, and existential, results in different expressions of a given phenomenon in the world, as well as people’s mental experience of what is going on in the world. In Figure 5.5, for instance, the poster entitled “The Dance” uses calligraphic forms of Nastaliq to portray Sufi whirling dance. Here the configuration of forms is employed to ideationally depict the idea of the dance, presenting physical actions and circular motions in Sama Dance. Although the written text – a hemistich selected from lyric poem 441 by Rumi – contains words related to dance and to some extent conveys the desired concept in its literal meaning, its expressive power is almost negligible in comparison to the qualities of visual configuration of the letters used to express the feeling of dance. Figure 5.6 was

Figure 5.5 Created by Mohammad Salehi Figure 5.6 Created by Mahdi Saeeidi (in 2007), retrieved from the collec(2005), retrieved from The tion of Oriental Design TypogIndependent Cultural News raphy Posters in Resist-art Center of Nematollahi Gonabadi Dervishes

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 155 designed for the art festival of Shams Tabrizi,9 with the theme of music, theater, and visual arts, in honor of Rumi10 and Shams Tabrizi. As can be seen, here also the boundary between word and image is not palpable. In this meaning, the calligraphic forms fully serve to illustrate an event containing actions, practices, values, and qualities that express the whole concept of dance and music. Both images use the configuration of letters in a specific way as individual or extensive forms – with various sizes of pen – and create various nuances of darkness through pen traces/effects. Both also use the quality of overlapping forms, with minimum use of angular forms instead of maximum use of circular and spiral forms, as tools to ideationally depict the concept of music, dance, and lyric poem, or the idea of Shams and Rumi as a whole. The overall direction of the calligraphic forms – starting from the right side and ending in the left – creates a weave of motion, spin, and twirl and subsequently realizes the main desired idea regardless of the literal information of the written text. Two Nastaliq images demonstrate how Nastaliq functions independently through specific resources to represent people’s experience of the world. In other words, through resources such as the configuration of letters or their figurative forms, and rules related to composition and vectoriality, it realizes the function through which different expressions of different phenomena and people’s mental experience of what is happening in the world can be presented. In the two images, regardless of the lexical meaning of the text calligraphed, the designers select appropriate forms of letters only to illustrate the intended meaning. In other words, the letterforms are selected not based on their lexical meanings and poetic or literal meanings, but rather relying on their form, configuration, and construction to express objects and ideas. The calligraphic forms (whether as extensive or individual forms, circular or angular), the ways of orientation, direction, and vectoriality as a whole, and their specific function or affordance are all used to create the image and express the intended information. The specific kind of composition results from using a specific kind of vectoriality: various sizes of pen, and overlapping letters do not function toward readability of the written text. Moreover, the information related to time and date of the event has been written in typical letters (based on the typographical rules in layout) around the figurative image of letters. This shows that the designer purposely uses the calligraphic forms as distinctly visual forms of letters to depict an integrated visual figure and convey the main idea of dance and music in general and Shams and Rumi as a symbol of Sufism, Sufi rituals, folklore music, and customary dance in particular. In Figure 5.6, although the designer writes exact information about the subject of the poster (i.e., a music festival) as typical words, in the white areas around the figurative image created with the calligraphic forms, Nastaliq forms seem to outweigh the typical texts in terms of functionality and capturing the audience’s eyes; they function autonomously to convey the

156 Holliday’s triple metafunctions given sense. In other words, the calligraphic forms have been ideationally used to convey the desired idea. In essence, the calligraphy works to imply a sense of motion, rotation, dance, rhythm, and music, even though it is an illustrative design – using a sketch to depict a Sufi dancer – that is, Nastaliq calligraphic resources and their qualities and affordances that most effectively work to fulfill this idea (Figure 5.6). Figure 5.5 is a handwritten calligraphy performed in the traditional way using handy tools – reed pen and ink – and not computer tools and graphic software. The calligrapher in this work has used Shekasteh Nastaliq or “broken Nastaliq,” considered a branch of Nastaliq, in which the conventions and rules related to hand movement are more relaxed than in Nastaliq. It is not stable and firmly regulated like Nastaliq calligraphy and the motions and movements are unconstrained so that the dynamics and activity in forms are greater than in Nastaliq. In this work, visual representative forms of letters function to express the idea of dance and music. Here, as in Figure 5.6, the designer has used calligraphic resources to depict a figurative image of a Sufi dancer to directly convey the idea of dance. The designer has used different sizes of reed pen and accordingly produced various and different thicknesses of line and plane, selected appropriate calligraphic forms to illustrate different parts of the figure of the dancer (e.g., hands) and the position of fingers with the letter ‫ح‬/H, and depicted movement in the dancer’s skirt with the specific forms of letters ‫ر‬/R and the extensive form of ‫ ص‬/S and ‫ ن‬/N. These elements all represent a timely and appropriate use of calligraphic forms to illustrate or express an action or value that exists in the material and mental world. Although the letters/text/poem used to illustrate the Sufi figure and depict the idea of the dance is readable and the selected text fits the intended idea of the whole work (i.e., dance), the efficacy of the relevant text – and indeed its lexical meaning – cannot reach the level of efficacy of the representative part of the letters. Rather, it is appropriate forms of letters and compositions that create an actual image and dominate linguistic texts in terms of functionality and efficacy. In fact, here, visual calligraphic forms, regardless of their lexical meaning, function in their own right along with the mode of image; the border between image and letterforms is unclear and the image and letterforms cannot be distinguished from each other. Thus, the letters are analogous to image, while the image is created by the letterforms. In essence, although the text selected to be calligraphed is readable and its literal meaning is relevant to the intended theme of dance, and the designer uses a figurative image of a dancer to convey the idea, it is the calligraphic resources and their affordance that convey the overall concept of the work. In other words, the given concept is realized through use of the conventions and resources of Nastaliq calligraphy, even though the designer benefits from the appropriate linguistic meanings of a text or a pictorial sketch of a Sufi dancer.

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 157 From another perspective, Figures 5.5 and 5.6 can be considered multimodal works using two main modes of image (in the depiction of a dancer) and calligraphy y)through using specific forms of letters). In other words, although the specific calligraphic forms used in these works distinctly convey a sense of motion, movement, dynamism, tipping, tilting, and rhythm and rotation, sketching a realistic figure of a dancer as a template filled by calligraphic forms presents a specific correlation between image and calligraphy, a fusion of two distinct modes of image – in the format of drawing/sketching – and calligraphy. In essence, Nastaliq with its resources and facilities and a high level of dynamism invigorates the given figure to be more related and appropriate to the desired idea. Figure 5.7 entitled “Flight” is another instance that more explicitly demonstrates how the calligraphic forms in written words with a specific way of composition, without sketching any explicit figurative image individually, function to realize the desired idea. In this work, Shekasteh Nastaliq/broken Nastaliq is used to imply the idea of flight. Apart from miniature ornaments around the letters, and using the black and white, the calligraphic forms solely afford a sense lightness and freedom or the mental experience of

Figure 5.7 Created by Mohammad-Saeid Naghashian, retrieved from Iranian Art Gallery – The Collection of Calligraphy and Illumination (2009)

158 Holliday’s triple metafunctions flying. Selecting appropriate forms of letters and their repetition in different sizes and composing them in an abstract figurative template potentially conveys a kind of repetition, rhythm, and time. Using different sizes of pen tip, and accordingly creating different thickness and thinness of letter shapes, induces a sense of frequency in which different communicative events occur in different ranges of time and are alternated with each other. In this sense, a movement starts from a specific point, then extends in a specific range of time from thick to thin. This alternating process continues and eventually creates an integrated abstract form, oriented upward, to convey the sensation of flight. In other words, the starting point and the ending point in all parts of this composition are bottom-up, and each form ends in a point, not a shape. Unlike Figures 5.5 and 5.6, the body of the work as an integrated whole creates an abstract incorporeal image rather than a realistic figurative image. This image as a whole can induce different images in the mind of the reader, depending on his or her past experience in relation to the real world. As a matter of fact, it realizes an experiential meaning through evoking an experience which is already in the mind of the reader. In essence, by referring to the reader’s mental archive – which exists as a result of his or her relationship with the real world – the reader forms a sense or meaning related to the given work. For instance, the overall composition of Figure 5.7 might recall the face of a fictitious bird – like Simorgh11 and phoenix12 – as depicted in mythical and legendary stories in Persian and Greek mythology. It might also remind of relevant stories – such as the creation of Simorgh/phoenix from fire in mythical stories of Shahnameh,13 and relevant stories in Manteq-ut-Tayr14 (The Conference of the Birds), or in the Zoroastrian Avesta15 and Pahlavi16 scripts. In another vision, the combination of the individual letters used potentially recall a flock of birds flying or moving upward, or it might evoke a fanciful scene in which the alternate flapping of birds’ wings at a regular interval is depicted to convey a sense of flight and movement. Overall, what this work potentially conveys and what seems to be generally conceived then received by the audience is a sense of movement and flight. As a matter of fact, here, Nastaliq depicts a stereotyped behavior in flight through its ideational resources so that despite all possible subjective perceptions, the reader can receive the given idea of flight. According to the examples above, Nastaliq calligraphy, whether in combination with other modes such as image or individually as a distinct mode relying on its own forms and their corresponding rules, is used to realize experiential meanings which are correlated to different things, places, events, values, and qualities in the world. In other words, in Nastaliq, the ideational function in Halliday’s theory can potentially be achieved through a number of calligraphic resources especially related to the conventions used in performing letterforms, and the principles of composition and vectoriality can be considered Nastaliq ideational resources.

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 159

Interpersonal metafunction in Nastaliq mode Another metafunction embedded in semiotic modes, as cited by Halliday (1978), especially related to language as a semiotic system of meaning is interpersonal metafunction, which refers to the interaction people have with each other. This metafunction has two main components of mood – comprising two subsidiary components of subject and finite – and residue – containing three secondary ingredients: predicator, complement, and adjunct (Nørgaard, 2003, pp. 47–51). In interpersonal metafunction in language, the subject contains a nominal group which is responsible for accuracy of the statement raised in the given clause; it “functions as the constituent … in conjunction with the Finite” (Nørgaard, 2003, pp. 47–51). The finite is basically considered the first part of a verb phrase – either a primary verb or a modal verb; therefore, it shows the tense, negation, and proof/demonstration, or modality, in a clause. The predicator also manifests itself in a verb phrase or a verbal group, and the complement is everything that can be represented as subject in a new version of a given clause; adjunct is manifested in the framework of the adverbial phrase or propositional phrases (Nørgaard, 2003, pp. 48–52). According to Van Leeuwen (2006), the interpersonal metafunction in the semiotic mode as a whole “constitute[s] social interactions and express[es] attitudes towards what is being represented” (p. 142). This feature, especially in language, includes components such as mood and modality that contain a grammar that allows people to do different things with language and use different expressions for various actions, such as “making statements, asking questions” (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 142). In essence, the metafunction of interpersonal in language is fulfilled by resources available in grammar, thus letting people express attitudes and opinions. In the mode of image, as Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) state, the interpersonal metafunction is fulfilled through “the systems of gaze, sizes of frames and angle” (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 142; Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996, pp. 56–71, 79–89). Interpersonal resources in Nastaliq mode In Nastaliq, the resources that fulfill this function include the conventions related to composition and framing, ways of punctuation, filler elements used between letterforms in row lines, miniature ornaments and embellishments, and different reed pen point sizes, which are all formulated in the 12 principles of Nastaliq and offer forms to present various expressions. It is worth mentioning that the participants and elements available in Nastaliq are not limited only in the configuration of letters but the tiny ornaments and titles – whether used for embellishing or filling empty spaces between letterforms or balloons and frames drawn around the rows of letters, as well as spot-writings – are also included as participants of Nastaliq or resources through which each is potentially able to convey interpersonal meanings or

160 Holliday’s triple metafunctions fulfill the interpersonal metafunction. Here, to demonstrate how and in what ways Nastaliq can cause different modalities in a work, I enumerate and offer examples of resources that carry specific functions to convey different sensations, statements, moods, and attitudes. In other words, I detail the resources by which the interpersonal metafunction manifests itself in Nastaliq, realizes interpersonal meanings, and accordingly causes a specific modality in a calligraphic work.

Size as interpersonal resource in Nastaliq calligraphy One of the most important systems in Nastaliq calligraphy through which this metafunction can be realized is the different sizes of reed pen points that result in various styles of writing in Nastaliq calligraphy and the distinction between these styles presents different attitudes; each format can be tight to the specific attitude. This system is identified with the concept of “dang” or pitch17 of plane in a letter shape. The concept of dang or pitch in Nastaliq calligraphy refers to the point or size of pen and the quality of a letterform that is governed by the measure of the nib pen (or the field between the right side and the left side of the nib of the given pen), the measure of the angle made between the two nibs, and the size of the dot diameter (also considered a standard or yardstick to analyze letterforms) made by the given pen of a specific size. As explained in the graphetics chapter, in examining the tools and substance, the nib of the pen dictates the distance between the wild-nip and concise-nip pen and the edge made between them with a rough angle of 30° to 45° (Figure 5.8). According to the principles of performance in Nastaliq, six types or sizes are classified as the main points used in Nastaliq calligraphy, from smallest to largest, and each enacts a specific format or style of writing. In this meaning, each format or style of writing entails a specific size of pen or specific dang or pitch of the pen. According to the 12 principles enacted as general conventions and rules in the Nastaliq tradition, dang or pitch has two meanings. One is related to the size of pen, and the other refers to the measure of the plane and circle in letter shapes based on a 5:1 ratio in circular forms to plane. Thus, if a calligraphic form is divided into six sections, five sections are represented by circles and only one by plane (see also the result of the corpus analysis of letterforms in Chapter 2, the ratio of the un-straight shapes to straight shapes). This ratio applies in all calligraphic forms whether individual or in combination with other forms in a composition. In fact, this is a constant and stable quality embedded in Nastaliq from its enactment as a kind of calligraphy. In general, dang/pitch can be used in Nastaliq to refer to (1) the ratio of circular and angular forms in letterforms and (2) the size of the pen or the width or edge between the two nibs of the given pen. In general, through dividing the diameter of the pen, which can be from approximately 2.5 mm to 6 mm, into six portions, six sizes of pen are achieved, each referring to

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 161

Figure 5.8 Different parts of a reed pen used in Nastaliq calligraphy

one type of writing that is classified from small to large: (1) Ghobar/Particle, (2) Khafi/Hidden, (3) Ketabat/Scribe, (4) Sarfasli/Rubric, (5) Mashqi/Practice or Ghate/Piece/Segment, and (6) Jali/Glorious/Splendid/Majestic. The measure of each category of writing based on its size is as follows: (1) from the smallest size to a half millimeter (Khafi), (2) from a half millimeter to 3/ 4 mm (Khafi), (3) from 3/4 mm to 1.5 mm (Ketabat), (4) from 1.5 mm to 2 mm (Sarfasli), (5) from 2 mm to 6 mm (Mashqi), and (6) from 6 mm to 2 cm (Jali). This classification can be determined by dividing the circumference of a practice/Mashqi pen and by drawing the diameter of the circumference of the pen, as in Figure 5.9. Each of these sizes is used for a specific style or format and each has a specific function with potential to evoke specific attitudes and interactions toward what is being performed as calligraphy. For instance, the style of Ghobar/Particle – in which the smallest size of pen is employed – is most often used, from past to present, to write lengthy texts such as books. This style, as the smallest size of writing, is considered a format in Nastaliq to economize in using space and paper, especially for descriptive and explanatory texts and the margins of books. In old calligraphic works, Ghobar/Particle was commonly used in margins (principally to place interpretations and translations of verses or footnotes and incorporations attached to literature

162 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.9 The classification of different sizes of pen that cause six types of calligraphy writing

for more detail) of pages in religious books like the Quran (see Figure 5.10). In essence, this format/style using the smallest size of nib pen can make the given text descriptive and explanatory or characterize the text as adjunct and descriptive. In other words, this size or format of writing usually presents the given text written as additional to the main text – which is normally written with a larger size of pen and placed in the center of the frame of the page. This is well explained with another example. Figure 5.10 presents a work in which some margins are written in oblique/diagonal rows around the main text. The marginal texts are created with a Ghobar/Particle pen and are smaller than the main text. The main text is surrounded by the margins and adjunct texts, which have been written in the format of Ghobar/Particle. However, in some books, marginal texts are part of the main text and because of space limitations they are placed in a subsidiary place around the main text. The margins sometimes have served in layout to create better composition and save spaces on the page (Figure 5.11). Another example, as seen in Figure 5.12, is a piece of the treatise of Ghadirieh18 calligraphed by Kalhor (1277 AH), in which annotations containing diagonal rows separate the main text from the sub-text in the margin. This means that this composition attributes a kind of adjunct property to the texts placed in the margins – a value like a footnote – while expressing the text placed in the center of the page as the main informational text. Such

Figure 5.10 A piece of Quran with center and margin; the center written in Naskh calligraphy by Mohammad Hashem and the margins written in Broken Nastaliq by Abdol-Majid Taleghani in the twelfth century AH, retrieved from Anthropology Encyclopedia Center, Museum of Manuscripts and Art Cultural Works by Dr. Mohammad Sadegh Mahfouzi

164 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.11 A piece from the book of Criticism and Interpretation of the Elm-al-Olum from Qazali. Calligraphed in Naskh and Nastaliq by Ali ibn Soltan Mohhamad Qari in 1192 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

composition recalls a kind of framing system defined in visual composition as new and given,19 as proposed by Lorestani (1996, pp. 186–192). Using different sizes of pen in the oblique rows of the margins and the central text – the margins written with the Ghobar/Particle pen, and the central text written using Ketabat size of pen – creates a kind of link between the central or primary text and the secondary or subsidiary one, presenting a given-new composition which gives different values of information to the right (margin text) and left (main text) sides of the page. In this sense, with respect to this visual composition, the margin in the right side displays the given and the left side can be a representation of the new information, as explained in interrelated systems in visual communications.20 Size in calligraphy can also affect the importance of the written text; it can reduce the significance and value of a given text or display it as more significant and valuable. Ghobar/Particle size is also commonly used in Shekasteh Nastaliq/broken Nastaliq pieces, especially pieces used for poetic and literary texts in which readability is not prioritized, rather than formal texts such as official letters or educational books that are less demanding of decorative and aesthetic aspects and in which legibility is an essential factor. As mentioned earlier, in general, Ghobar/Particle writing is most often

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 165

Figure 5.12 A leaf from the treatise of Ghadirieh, calligraphed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor and published in 1277 AH, retrieved from Arasteh and Ferasati (2009, p. 9)

applied in writing annotations, usually as margins around a page. This style generally makes the given text informal and presents it as a descriptive appendant and unessential part of the given page. Figure 5.10 shows the left page of a double page of the Quran, calligraphed by Abdol-Majid Taleghani in the twelfth century AH, in which Ghobar/Particle writing is used for the descriptive part of the text, the interpretation of the Arabic text, which is calligraphed in Naskh calligraphy. The text in the margins which is calligraphed in Persian Shekasteh/broken Nastaliq presents commentary and interpretation of the main text (Arabic text in center of the page). The descriptive annotations in the margins calligraphed by Ghobar/Particle pen point with diagonal rows in different directions do not follow a static and rigid alignment but rather a dynamic one. Unlike the tight and correlated rows in the margins of the previous example – also calligraphed by Kalhor – the margins in this work are more dynamic and moving. Using multiple directions in making rows and subsequently creating different

166 Holliday’s triple metafunctions spaces between calligraphic forms presents the marginal text as free and dynamic text, which is largely supplementary, and subsidiary text at a lower level of importance than the main text. Using the Ghobar/Particle style of writing, as well as specific layout and skew alignment along with Shekasteh/ broken Nastaliq in the margins, creates an explicit and potent contrast between the main text and the subsidiary text and accordingly attributes different values and characteristics to each part, so that the main text in the center appears more rigid, constant, and important, while the given text written in Ghobar/Particle and Shekasteh Nastaliq is freer, more active, descriptive, and subsidiary, attached to the main text. In fact, the size of the reed pen is a resource in Nastaliq – in this example, Ghobar/Particle which creates a specific style of writing entitled Ghobar/Particle – that inures the specific function that enacts interactions and expresses specific meanings. The resource of size – from smallest to largest, Ghobar/Particle to Jali/Glorious – can cause various configurations of letters that subsequently endow specific different properties to the given text and change it into, for example, a serious/non-serious, expressive, descriptive, racy, or free dynamic text or into a complementary, adjunct subsidiary, or main essential text. Therefore, choosing a specific size of pen in Nastaliq is considered a resource in the Nastaliq system that has potential to represent the given text/calligraphic forms as injunctive, serious, casual, playful, gentle, soft, hard, or stiff. Another example in a work performed by Abdol-Majid Taleghani (1150–1185 AH), seen in Figure 5.13, demonstrates how the pen size can depict a specific ambiguous or obscure space in the page and, along with a decentralized and untidy composition and a tangled layout, display a kind of ambiguity and vagueness in the text and endow it with a kind of freedom, audacity, and impetuosity. Here, the calligraphic forms of Shekasteh/ broken Nastaliq, through the use of Ghobar/Particle writing along with a free and unregulated composition, create an interwoven pattern of letterforms that gives the written text and the whole work a sense of nonseriousness, intimacy, and monotony. Decentralization and lack of focus on a specific spot in the page, uniform distribution of the letterforms on the page, use of multi-directional rows and diffusing forms in different directions, plus using the quality of black and white21 in an invariable and monotonous way, suggest the written text as something casual that potentially carries a sense of delight and humor, along with a kind of ambiguity and uncertainty. Among the calligraphy works performed in the Ghobar/Particle style of writing, inherited from the past, most are assigned to present poetic and literary contents, such as Divan-e-Hafez, which depicts poetry and a fancy image. Most of the works calligraphed in the Ghobar/Particle style (Figures 5.13 and 5.14) have been performed with a small size of paper and ostensibly the readability of the written texts is not considered. Rather, the creation and depiction of an immaterial and poetic, or intimate and informal, space has been considered, for

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 167

Figure 5.13 A piece of broken Nastaliq created in 1384 AH by Abdol-Majid Taleghani, retrieved from Gholam-Reza Moshashaei (2012, p. 170)

example, through making decentralized compositions, setting letters in different directions, or placing them into cloud-like boxes and balloon spots. The Ghobar/ Particle style has been mostly used in Shekasteh/broken Nastaliq. This means that in comparison to other sizes of pen, this size is more suitable for performing this branch of Nastaliq. In other words, Shekasteh Nastaliq/broken Nastaliq is more compatible with the Ghobar/Particle writing to express the dynamism and motions existing in the calligraphic forms that go further than the standard Nastaliq. Although different factors in composition, framing, color, and cloud-like tracing all are effective in creation of a specific space and subsequently an integrative meaningful work, here, choosing the Ghobar size/writing style is a substantial factor as it is adhered to a function that expresses attitudes such as freedom, versatility, smoothness, and flow toward the text being presented. Different sizes of pen (as categorized earlier) interpersonally realize different meanings. Each size that causes a specific style of writing carries out a specific function to express attitudes toward what is being calligraphed. I consider this function an interpersonal function according to the definition of interpersonal metafunction in language and other semiotic modes such as image and typography (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996). For instance, in comparing Kalhor’s calligraphy works (e.g., in Figure 5.15) with the works in Figures 5.13 and 5.14, one can see that using the Ketabat/Scribe nib pen size (considered the third category in the classification of pen sizes), which is larger than the Ghobar size, along with regulated rows and static composition expresses different attitudes toward the presented text and the work as a whole. For example, in Figure 5.12, the nib size used in the middle of the page is the Ketabat/Scribe size with regular and horizontal rows, which

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Figure 5.14 A piece of broken Nastaliq created between 1179 and 1185 AH by Abdol-Majid Taleghani, retrieved from Gholam-Reza Moshashaei (2012, p. 170)

allows for a high level of readability, importance, and seriousness. The text in the margins that is calligraphed with a smaller size of the pen – namely, Khafi/Hidden – which is considered the second size of the pen based on the category mentioned earlier – is set on oblique rows and expresses more freedom and flow than the central text but with a low level of legibility. These attitudes and expressions which are expressed toward the written text are caused by the function derived from different resources, especially the nib size of the pen. With the small size of pen, the sphere of hand movement to perform calligraphic forms is smaller; in other words, as much as the selected nib pen is smaller, the range/span of hand movement, during writing, is limited/smaller

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 169 and the writing speed goes up. Different sizes of pen afford different properties that cause differences in performance and subsequently endow different senses and attitudes to the given text. For purposes of this study, mention of all styles of writings and properties would be superfluous; here, it will suffice to only mention the interactions and attitudes that are enacted by different sizes of pen as an interpersonal resource in Nastaliq calligraphy. As mentioned earlier, Nastaliq uses the six main sizes of reed pen or six dang, derived from the cross-section of the pen which can be shaved from the tiniest to the largest size. The pen with smallest cross section is called Ghobar/particle. The next sizes, in order, are (2) Khafi/Hidden, (3) Ketabat/ scribe, (4) Sarfasli/Rubric, (5) Mashqi/Practice or Ghate/Piece/Segment, and (6) Jali/Glorious/Majestic. The size of the pen (or dang) is an interpersonal resource in Nastaliq calligraphy by which different attitudes and trends are expressed. The tiniest size, depending on the format of the work, can present the written text as an additional, supplementary, adjunct, or descriptive/interpretive section in the work or express senses such as freedom/ liberation, dynamism, irregularity, and humor toward the presented text. In contrast, as much as the size of the cross-section in the pen becomes larger, the dynamism and movements in the calligraphic forms decrease, while the firmness, seriousness, legibility, and strictness increase. For instance, in Figure 5.15, which is performed with the Mashqi/Practice size, one can see that the calligraphic forms are more readable, and the whole work appears more serious and stronger than the work calligraphed with a Sarfasli/Rubric pen, shown in Figure 5.16. Figure 5.15, a piece of the Quran performed with the Mashqi/Practice size, shows that using an appropriate size of pen can place the given text with a high level of legibility and seriousness by creating shapes with more density and thickness that occupy more space than shown in Figure 5.16, which was performed with a small size. In old calligraphy pieces, the Mashqi/Practice pen – as a medium and ordinary pen size in Nastaliq – is mostly used for presenting texts and contents which are more formal and need to be more readable than other subjects such as poems and literary texts. To write historical contents of religious books in which legibility, formality, seriousness, and clarity are more considered to prevent forgery of the content, the Mashqi/Practice size is more appropriate than other pen sizes. As seen in Figure 5.15, in a leaf of the Quran, different sizes of pen are used; Mashqi/Practice is used to write the central text (main text, verses of the Quran), while the smaller Ketabat/Scribe is used in margins to write the interpretation of the main text. Size can function as a resource to fulfill interpersonal meaning potential as it expresses different attitudes toward the written text; as in the last examples, the central text is represented as the main part of the text, while the text written with the small size of pen, in a vertical direction in the balloons, expresses the text as an incorporation, or a descriptive, supplementary section attached to the main part of the text in the center of the page.

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Figure 5.15 A piece of Nastaliq, calligraphed with Mashqi/Practice pen, in the eleventh century AH, by Mir-EmadHassani Qazvini, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Figure 5.16 A piece of Nastaliq calligraphed in with Sarfasli/ Rubric pen, in the thirteenth century AH, by Mirza-Fathali-Hejab Shirazi, retrieved from Golestan Palace Museum

Another example is shown in Figure 5.17, which is calligraphed in the Jali/Glorious majestic size – considered the largest size in the pen category in Nastaliq; the example demonstrates how the size of the pen functions as a resource to attribute specific senses and attitudes to the given calligraphic forms. Attributes such as certainty, strength, and thickness can be presented in the written calligraphic forms by using the large size of pen. Doing this can potentially present a sense of authenticity, confidence, and a kind of trust as opposed to notions such as hesitation and uncertainty. The Jali/ Glorious/Splendid/Majestic, as the largest size of reed pen in Nastaliq, is most often used for presenting written text such as a momentous, serious, or obligatory statement, including substantial verses of holy books, Hadith(s), outstanding citations/quotations, or literature offered by poets. Figure 5.17 shows a substantial verse of the Quran performed using the Jali/Glorious/Majestic pen. This size can also indicate the text as a declaration or

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Figure 5.17 A verse of Quran (Qalam.4) in Nastaliq calligraphed with Jali/Majestic pen by Gholam-Hossein Amir-Khani, retrieved from Maktab e Kalhor, The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraph, Tehran

statement, as a motto, advice, or even a monition that presents a sense of seriousness, confidence, and assurance. Figures 5.17 and 5.18 show how the calligrapher uses the function of Jali/Glorious/Majestic to bestow a sense of reliability and certainty to the written text and present it as something great, esteemed, and to some extent magisterial. The nib pen size can give more value to a written text or present it as unimportant and less valuable. Overall, different sizes can potentially bestow different values to the given calligraphy text. As a result, size or scale can be considered an agentive resource in Nastaliq that affords various properties and functions; each endows specific moods to the given text (and what is presented) so that it can express various senses and attitudes. Size as a calligraphic resource has potential to represent a kind of contrast in a work through interacting different values, represented by use of different sizes and scales in the given work. For example, values such as lightness, heaviness, softness, and roughness, expressed together in the same work through applying different sizes of pen, can induce a sense of contrast in the whole work. In essence, the small sizes and large sizes whether alone, together, or in contrast to each other – can signify ideational and interpersonal meaning potentials and cause different modalities in a work. Size or scale by itself is a basic visual element and here it is also a calligraphic resource to express different attitudes and moods and various accents toward the written text and the calligraphy work as a whole. Using a specific size of pen represents the given text as a carrier of specific moods by creating differences in the given work – whether in performance/implementation of calligraphic forms, hand movements and writing/tracing speed, or readability/legibility. In this sense,

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Figure 5.18 Two verses of Quran (Alaq, 6 & 7) in Nastaliq calligraphed with Jali/ Majestic pen by Abolfazl Sorur, retrieved from Maktab e Kalhor, The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraph, Tehran

one effective resource in expressing different moods and accents or dialects in Nastaliq is the scale or size of the pen. As described earlier, various sizes (or dang) of pen in Nastaliq – as classified in traditions from Ghobar/Particle dang to Jali/Glorious dang – have enacted a sextet style of writing in Nastaliq in which each has its own properties and functions to express specific moods and attitudes toward the text. From the Ghobar writing style (based on the smallest size of pen) to the Jali writing style (enacted based on the largest size of pen), various moods, senses, and attitudes can be interpersonally endowed to calligraphic forms or the whole work. Each size creates particular ways of writing with its own specific features and facilities in Nastaliq; in addition, the use of different size pens in a single work can create different moods in a single work and change the mood of the whole work into diversity or multi-accentuality instead of neutrality or monotony.

Overall composition or framing as a distinct interpersonal resource Another interpersonal resource in Nastaliq calligraphy that functions to express different modalities and attitudes toward the calligraphic form is framing or overall composition. The composition system itself is one of the 12 principles of implementation in Nastaliq calligraphy (described in the previous chapter). This regulated system itself – as the subset of the 12 principles of Nastaliq – has two distinct subsets: detailed composition and overall composition. Detailed composition refers to the interconnections of small components (i.e., letters of a word and other tiny visual elements), the intervals between calligraphic forms (i.e., words), and the ways of placing them in a row, as well as the set of rules, principles, and conventions related to the

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 173 interpersonal and interconnections between small characters in a row. In essence, detailed composition suggests ways of connecting precise minutia in Nastaliq – from dots to small shapes of letters – or in short micro-relations and internal relations of calligraphic forms. Overall composition, however, refers to the overall structure of the composition. In this level, one can look at Nastaliq from a long distance. In other words, in overall composition, the relation between rows, ways of arranging them in relation to each other and to the page as a whole, and the total framing is considered. In short, detailed composition implies the relation of calligraphic forms to each other, while overall composition refers to the relationship of components to the total frame (or background) of the whole work. Overall composition – the relationship of rows to each other and to the whole frame of the page – provides multiple formats of writing in terms of framing, each of which can cause different moods and attitudes in the writing and the text of calligraphy. In fact, different formats of writing in terms of framing and linage or layout can interpersonally express different statuses, poses/postures, and attitudes toward the written text. The common main formats of writing derived from overall composition, apart from the formats classified based on scale/size of pen, are (1) scribing, (2) microwriting or micro scribing, (3) double row scribing, (4) Chalipa, or cross scribing or four-diagonal hemistich, (5) inscription/epigraph/frontispiece or aphorism writing, and (6) Siyah-Mashq or black practice (see Figures 5.19 through 5.25). Each of these six formats in essence serves as a pattern that casts an arrangement for calligraphic forms in rows and the rows on the page. Each displays differences in the relation between forms and rows on a page or a calligraphy piece as a whole and evidently expresses specific senses and moods through its own functions; accordingly, each acts as a specific resource in Nastaliq to realize interpersonal functions in calligraphy. Therefore, in addition to the size of the pen, framing and its related principles are considered distinct resources that function to realize interpersonal meanings in Nastaliq calligraphy. Ketabat/scribing framing Among the formats classified based on the framing resource in Nastaliq, the most often used format is scribing – frequently coordinated with small pen sizes such as Ketabat/scribe dang, although different sizes of pen can be used in this type of framing; the page is most often used vertically, and the rows are placed at the same distance from each other (approximate distance between rows is 11–12 points/dots created by the pen used). In this format, the first calligraphic form in each row is placed slightly higher than the baseline – approximately one or two dots higher – and the last form is also placed slightly higher than the baseline – roughly two or three dots higher – so that eventually a regular smooth row – without any fluctuation that slightly tends upward by its end – can be seen. As shown in Figure 5.19,

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Figure 5.19 Ketabat/Scribing framing, a leaf from a book entitled The Travelogue of Nasreddin Shah Qajar to Europe, calligraphed by Mohammad Reza Kalhor and published in1296 AH (Tehran), retrieved from Arasteh and Ferasati (2009, p. 18)

this format of writing or layout puts the written text in a specific expressive position or, in other words, gives it a specific sort of sense and mood and expresses the written text as something descriptive and narrative. This framing, in fact, leads to more discipline and thus creates a kind of homogeneity, uniformity, and readability on the page. This style of framing puts the written text and its content, the calligraphic forms and techniques, the beauty of the forms, and the power in the skills used in the calligraphy at the same level of importance and forces the reader to consider the lexical meaning of the written text in addition to being attracted to the visual representative part of the calligraphy, the calligraphic form’s concinnity, and the calligrapher’s skilled hand in performance. In other words, in this kind of framing, neither the calligraphy nor the lexical meaning prevails over the other. Neither is the center of attention, but both act at the same level of importance and in parallel to each other. This way of framing displays the implementation of calligraphy in a good and readable way and also gives the written text the value of descriptive or narrative text. In another sense, through using this type of framing, the given

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 175 text will be more readable, and the calligraphy will serve the text and linguistic content and, in fact, put the representative part of the calligraphy (visual calligraphic forms) in a neutral position toward the linguistic content. At first glance, the reader is not attracted to the beauty of the calligraphic forms, but the goal of such framing is to create regularity in the layout to attract the audience toward the text rather than amuse the audience with the beauty and concinnity of the visual forms. In other words, this framing does not divert the audience’s attention from the written text but through creating a regular, simple, and typical layout expresses a state of tranquility, uniformity, balance, symmetry, and simplicity and depicts a neutral, flat, and yet understandable space in the work as a whole. Thus, it values the visual forms and linguistic content of the given text at the same level to fascinate the viewer with the linguistic content as much as the visual calligraphic form. Therefore, the Ketabat/Scribing style of framing does not create any superiority between the written text (content) and the visual calligraphic forms. This type of framing leads the written text toward trends and attitudes such as continuity, stability, accuracy, smoothness, and legibility and represents it as an interpretation, description, or narration. Various subsidiary/secondary types of framing Among the six main types of framing in Nastaliq are various subsidiary/secondary types and each has specific characteristics and functions and subsequently expresses specific moods or attitudes. Figure 5.20 shows one page of a poetry book in which the calligrapher uses different framing to calligraph hemistichs and verses of poetry. As seen in the figure, the rows are arranged not only in central columns – unlike with the scribing type of framing – but the text is distributed in different columns set in different areas of the page ‒ from right to left side, top to bottom, and middle of the page. In fact, in this type of framing, the page is divided into different segments that have their own value of information. The diagonal rows set in the margins are continuous to the main text set in the double columns in the middle. The framing or overall composition as a whole represents the text not as neutral and indifferent but rather dynamic derived from specific discipline based on the specific array and rhyme in the Persian poem. In other words, here, using this specific type of framing depicts a mood and an attitude which is analogous to the typical visual form of classical Persian poems. In essence, this type of framing represents an overall arrangement that recalls the general figure of different classical styles of Persian poetry, including odes/Qasideh, refrains/Tarji-band, sonnets/Qazal, Masnavi, and quatrains/ Ruba’i in terms of visual appearance.22 Cutting the rows into two different columns in the middle of the page or, in other words, dividing the main text (at the middle of the page) into two columns tied to each other represents the two hemistichs of a couplet or verse in classical Persian poetry (see Figure 5.20). The rhyme, verse, and discipline available in this type of framing as a whole

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Figure 5.20 A leaf from the collection of poems by Habibollah Qaani (1223–1270 AH), calligraphed and published by Mohammad-Reza Kalhor in 1274 AH, retrieved from Arasteh and Ferasati (2009, p. 7)

implies specific attitudes and states, which is consistent with the general discipline existing in the configuration of classical Persian poetry; a certain order ties hemistichs together to make couplets/verses and arranges verses and couplets, ties them together, and subsequently makes a special rhythm in creating an integrated text. As a result, the specific type of framing and layout of rows in Figure 5.20 represents the classical configuration of Persian poetry as a whole, so that each row represents one verse, including two hemistichs, in traditional Persian poetry. The diagonal rows placed in the margins around the central columns in the middle of the page that have created a column – as thick as the central columns – imply different values in terms of importance of their information. In other words, as mentioned in earlier sections about the size of the nib pen, different framings also create different interactions and contrasts and thus express different attitudes toward the given work; for example, the horizontal rows in the center of the page and the oblique rows in margins create a kind of contrast to each other that attributes different values of information to each part (e.g., central rows, margins, marginal titles). In this type of framing, the central rows laid out in two columns

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 177 horizontally and tied to each other (two by two in front of each other) constitute the salient part of the work and, in fact, this way of ordering the rows gives more value to the written texts than the way used to order the rows in the margins. In addition to the importance of the central area of the page, the way of arranging rows – simple and horizontal, based on the forms and the rhythm in poetry patterns – makes the text legible, and solemn, and thus gives it value and importance. The way of arranging rows in the margins, the invisible vectors which are created between columns in the center, the rows in the margins that connect them to the central rows, and the central area of the page as a whole represent the text not as a readable text in a simple position, but as complex and something considered supplementary or complementary in comparison to the text placed horizontally in the center of the page. Overall, the ways of framing in margins express specific attitudes and trends toward the given text (in the margins) which differs from the sense expressed through the text in the middle/central area of the page. In essence, this way represents the margins as non-dominant and non-preferred text, something that is supplementary and placed at the second level of importance in the text that is simply arranged in horizontal columns in the middle of the page. In the center and right of the page (the twin column), there is a kind of proportional and symmetrical sense; that is, in the identical columns, the rows are connected symmetrically. In contrast, the diagonal rows are not symmetrical, though there is an interconnection and harmony between them. The rows in the margins are linked together and create an integrated column and vectors that imply a kind of unity and coherency, but unlike the central rows they are not symmetrical in the way of their arrangement. Therefore, in comparison to the main text placed in the central horizontal columns, they induce a sense of rebellion, disobedience, and freedom toward the given text.

Three interrelated systems of visual composition in Nastaliq overall composition/framing As mentioned earlier, composition in Nastaliq adheres to the two interrelated systems of detailed composition and framing or overall composition, each with its own sub-systems and principles with specific functions. Detailed composition is related to small components and particles of Nastaliq calligraphy and their relationship, and the ways of connecting letters and words, and overall composition or framing is related to the relationship between words and the ways of connecting them in a row, their position toward the baseline, and the relations of rows to each other and to the overall frame of the page as a whole. The overall system of composition or framing in Nastaliq calligraphy that is considered a main calligraphic resource to realize the interpersonal function and thus interpersonal meaning is analogous to, and comparable to,

178 Holliday’s triple metafunctions the three interrelated systems of visual composition in the proposed model of Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) for the visual image. In Kress and Van Leeuwen’s model, visual composition adheres to three interrelated principles by which it integrates representational and interactive meanings to create a complex, meaningful image. These three rules, or the triplet principles, apply not only to a single image or one-dimensional visual image, but also to composites of all visual forms that comprise text and image, triptych images, and the two-page spreads of newspapers; the rules can also be applied to other graphical elements such as letterforms and indeed calligraphic forms. The three interrelated systems in visual composition, as defined in Kress and Van Leeuwen’s (2006[1996]) model, which includes “information value,” consist of the three proper subsets of given and new (information value of left and right), ideal and real (information value of top and bottom), and center and margin; “salience” and “framing” (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996, p. 223) are compatible with the principles and rules of overall composition or framing in Nastaliq. In other words, one can extract the equivalent of these principles in principles of framing in Nastaliq calligraphy. What must be considered is that all three principles in visual composition as defined in this model must be harmonized and proportionate based on the domestic and native principles, conventions, and limitations of the given visual system. In this meaning, when one applies the three interrelated principles to Nastaliq as a distinct visual system, one must consider all domestic, native, and specific traditional principles, conventions, specific tools, substance, and materials (i.e., all calligraphic resources), as well as the socio-cultural context. Thus, the three interrelated principles in Kress and Van Leeuwen’s model of visual composition are appropriate and convenient in accordance with Nastaliq calligraphic resources and, of course, the social and cultural context. Information value The first principle in the triplet interrelated systems in visual composition, according to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2006[1996]), is information value, which refers to the placement of elements, participants, and syntagms that endow them with specific informational value attached to various zones of the images: left and right, top and bottom, central and margin. In other words, different areas of the page have different values, which means that each area in the overall frame of the page endows specific value and meaning to the given participants and visual elements placed in that area. In this sense, in visual communication, each area in the page has its own function and, thus, can represent a specific characteristic or attitude toward the visual elements placed in it. In the principle defined in Kress and Van Leeuwen’s model of visual composition, different areas of the page from right to left, top to bottom, and center and margin are evaluated, so specific informational values attach to various areas of the page. Therefore, according to the principle of information value, the given text, visual element, or

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 179 calligraphic form can be evaluated based on its placement in the page, which means that its specific place can express a specific and distinct attitude and characteristic, thus fulfilling the interpersonal function in the definition of semiotic mode. Information value as the first principle of the compositional system of visual image adheres to three sub-principles, each of which is attached to a specific place in the page: given–new, ideal–real, and center–margin (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996, pp. 181–229). Given and new According to Kress and Van Leeuwen’s model, the information value of left and right is more common in two-page spreads in magazines (where the left page normally has a large photograph to attract the viewer’s eye). Based on this principle, the right part of the image is usually dominated by salient visual elements that engage the viewer. In essence, the right part of the image is the side with the key information of the message, the part to which the reader must pay specific attention to get new information or a total impression of the image as a whole. In other words, the right part is the side where the viewer is expected to understand a new message or perceive an unprecedented image (something that has not previously existed). This part of the image is considered the salient part, which implies new information (the salient goal of the image) to the viewer. In other words, the right side suggests the final message to the viewer. In essence, the right side presents something unknown or at least not yet agreed upon by the viewer. The left part of the image offers something the reader is assumed to understand (given) as a part of social norms and culture, or perhaps because most people can relate to it. The left side of the image in this model of visual composition, which is considered a given, shows something that the viewer already knows, a familiar and agreed upon point of the message (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996, pp. 186–192). The given–new, in general, can be applied to all types of visual image, including graphic forms, three-dimensional visual images, letterforms, and Nastaliq calligraphic forms, but its principles and rules are not static and fixed; they change depending on the context in which the given visual image has been created. In other words, the principle of given–new in different contexts can change in accordance with the distinct characteristics of the context, such as differences in writing systems. For instance, in Persian visual works (e.g., Nastaliq calligraphy and some other visual works with Middle Eastern origin related to the Persian and Arabic languages), the writing system is right to left. The right area of the image or the right-side page (e.g., in a two-page spread) is tied to the given, and the left side adheres to the new. In this sense, in Nastaliq calligraphy works (e.g., Persian websites, Persian two-page spreads in magazines created in a right–left system of writing), the given–new is different from what is defined in Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996): the left as given and the right as new. Instead, in

180 Holliday’s triple metafunctions this case, the placement tied to the given and new change in accordance with the writing direction; a general rule for given–new in visual composition is that the given is always attached to the side where the text starts, according to the writing system of the given context. In this sense, the given and new in left to right writing systems differ from those in right to left systems (e.g., Persian, Arabic, Hebrew); therefore, the interrelated system of given and new in visual composition is affiliated with the social and cultural context and in many cases the writing direction of the given context; thus, the system does not have lasting and fixed rules that apply in the same way to all types of visual images in different contexts. For instance, in a Persian book, a two-page spread written in the right to left system, or an image created in a Persian context that follows a right to left layout, the information value of the right side is considered given, and the left side is considered new, which is a salient part of the given image or page. The given and new principle is more readily applied to vertical compositions in which the page is divided into two parts of left and right – though with a vertical axis – rather than other types of composition such as central composition or horizontal composition in which the page is divided into two parts of top and bottom through a horizontal axis. According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), in a two-page spread in a magazine, the right page usually engages the viewer to attract his or her attention with what is called a “demand picture”; the left page is called the “offer picture” and contains mostly verbal text, with salient photographs that do not acknowledge the presence of the photographer or viewer. In such pages, there is the sense of a complementary eye leading by a kind of vector movement from the left to the right. In short, according to this principle, when visual elements in an image employ significant use of the horizontal axis, putting some elements in the left part and others in the right, the elements placed in the left are assumed to be given, and the elements in the right part are considered new (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996, pp. 123–129). The given–new principle in Nastaliq calligraphy is considered an interpersonal resource through which different attitudes and meanings are created toward the written text/calligraphic forms. Considering that the given–new principle is more related to vertical compositions and works in which the page is divided into two sides of left and right, this principle is mostly applied in works calligraphed in styles such as Ketabat/Scribing, Khafi, and Ghobar writings, in which a one-side margin divides the page into two parts of left and right. For example, Figure 5.21, a page of a book calligraphed by Kalhor entitled Makhzanol Enshae on the subject of letter writing in Persian prose, has one-side margins in every single page that divide the page into two parts of left and right. This is the right page of a double page (with the even number 174) in this book, in which the margin – that comprises oblique rows – is set in the right side of the page. In the page with the odd number 175, the one-side margin is set on the right side of the page and here also divides the page into two parts (see Figure 5.22).

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Figure 5.21 A right-hand page from a double page from the book Makhzanol Enshae, calligraphed by Mohammad-Reza Kalhor in 1286 AH, retrieved and reproduced from Arasteh and Ferasati (2009, pp. 10–11)

Figure 5.22 The schematic image of the binding page of a double page, with an odd number that is bound to the right page (e.g., in Figure 5.24)

Examining each single page demonstrates differences in terms of placement in the given–new principle; that is, the place of given is different in each single page of the double page. In Figure 5.21, the given is placed in the right side of the page as the margin, and the new is placed in the left side as the main and salient part of the page. While in the left page of this double-page (Figure 5.22), the placement of given and new is different from its binding page (in Figure 5.21), in this single page, the margin is placed in the left side and represents the given – as something supplementary and additional – and the right side of the page is dedicated to the new information value of the text that represents the main and important part of the text as a whole. In essence, the oblique texts placed in margins act as motion vectors or navigators that design a kind of eye movement leading the audience’s eye toward the main text, namely, the new (in the right side of the page in Figure 5.22 and the left side in Figure 5.21). In addition, these diagonal rows in the margin function together to create a kind of invisible vector that binds different parts of the text together. In other words, the oblique rows in the margin not only represent specific informational value (given) but they also function as vectors to bind the right and left sides of the page together.

182 Holliday’s triple metafunctions Figure 5.23, a page from a poetry collection of Habibollah Qaani (1223–1270 AH), which was calligraphed by Kalhor in 1274 AH, also demonstrates how the principle of given–new works in Nastaliq calligraphy. This page is the left page (with the odd number 43) of two pages of a doublebinding page in the book; it has marginal texts around the main text (as the two columns in the right and center of the page) and mini-titles (in the circular and oval forms) inside the marginal rows. Together, these are considered to be given based on the interrelated system of given–new. This means that the margins around oblique rows, in addition to the mini-titles in the left side of the page, “offer image” (according to Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996) that presents the sense of a complementary eye leading by a kind of vector movement from the left to the right. In short, the visual calligraphic elements in this calligraphy work employ significant use of the horizontal axis to divide the image as a whole into different parts and value different places of the work from left to right and top to bottom.

Figure 5.23 A page from Habibollah Qaani’s poetry collection, calligraphed by Mohammad-Reza Kalhor in 1274 AH, retrieved from Arasteh and Ferasati (2009, p. 7)

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 183 The integrated margin – stretching from the top half to the bottom half of the page – associated with the mini-titles inside creates a sense of continuous movement that leads the eye from left to right, so that one can regard these parts as an offer picture that creates a vector to lead the eye from the left to the right where the main characters or the most important parts of the image are placed, that is, new (see also Figure 5.24). Respectively, the right and the middle areas containing the horizontal rows in two separate columns side by side are considered the most important part of the text, and the marginal text in the left and top and bottom of the page has a secondary level of importance; the mini-titles are at the third level in this classification. In essence, in this page, the significance of the information or the text is reduced from right to left – from new to given. From a detailed view, we can consider the two horizontal columns and their relation to each other in terms of their informational value in the page (i.e., placement and position to each other), based on the given–new principle. In this respect, the right column – containing the first hemistichs of verses in the poetry – is assumed to be given, and the left column –

Figure 5.24 Given and new applied in two hemistichs of a piece of poem

184 Holliday’s triple metafunctions containing the second hemistichs – is considered new, the salient part which implies new information and suggests the final message of the verse. The two columns represent the two hemistichs or the two parts of a verse in Parisian poetry. In essence, this is also a principle in the typical style of Persian poetry in that the first line or the first hemistich of a verse – which includes two hemistichs – is considered to be given in that the start point of the given verse, the part in which the message of the verse is not yet complete, leads the reader’s attention toward the second hemistich in the left side, which seems to carry key information and present the final message of the given verse. In this sense, the given–new principle can be applied in Persian poetry as the first hemistich or line of the verse (placed in the right column) functions as an offer picture that presents the salient part of the text in the verse, but leads the eye toward the left side; a demand picture that engages the viewer to attract the viewer’s attention is the salient part of the content and where the final message of the verse is assumed to be found. This means that the ultimate goal of the content is presented in the second part of the verse, the part which is placed in the left side (the left column). Another example to clarify the given–new principle is usually seen in doublerow compositions (style of double-row writing) in Nastaliq, in which through vectors the page is divided into two parts of left and right. Figure 5.25 shows how equal and symmetrical spaces between rows in the right side and the left side create vectors that lead the eye from right to left. Here, the right side is dedicated to the given and the left side to the new. In fact, the style of doublerow writing or two-part writing, or works calligraphed in the format of two sheets with the two distinct parts, is created in the two sides of right and left. This compositional style, first, expresses a poetic attitude toward the text

Figure 5.25 A piece from Hafez’s poetry collection, Qazal 009, along with a schematic image of its setting rows, retrieved from The Divan Hafez (published in 1996)

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 185 (which means that the way of composing lines/rows is a kind of collaboration between calligraphy composition and configuration of classical Persian poetry) and gives the text a specific attitude or modality which is consistent with the configuration of classical Persian poetry. Second, the specific framing in such work – including double-row and two-sheet writings – that creates regular spaces between different sections of right and left, plus the spaces around the main text or alongside the margins and borders, make vectors that lead the eye from right to left and by and large express a meaningful rhythm to present an attitude toward the text (i.e., a poetry order or the sense of rhymed poetry). Considering that the right part is given, and the left part is new, one can relate the placement to the informational value – or the importance of the two hemistichs or two right and left lines in relation to each other – in classical Persian poetry in that the first right line in Persian poetry (as given) presents something which is assumed to be known by the reader, or something assumed to be agreed upon. In essence, the right line/first hemistich in Persian poetry is considered a prelude to the second part as new, which is considered an unprecedented idea or content that suggests the final message of the verse and offers new information. Therefore, in such framing (or overall composition) in Nastaliq, the right part/sheet/line/row/hemistich is attributed to the offer picture part (subordinating the principle of information value of the left and right), and the left one is consistent with the demand picture that carries key information or new information. As a result, the value of information in different images changes in accordance with the different social and cultural contexts and, indeed, different writing systems from which they are derived. I demonstrate how the position of given and new is reversed in accordance with the right to left direction in the Persian system of writing. Although the principle of given–new is generalized in all types of visual images (that make significant use of the horizontal axis to compose pictures and layouts), the placement and position of given and new are somewhat problematic and contestable. Such inconsistency is seen not only in Eastern contexts or right to left writing systems, but also in Western social and cultural contexts, in which the original principle of given–new/ informational value has ostensibly been enacted. Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) demonstrate such inconsistencies using a famous painting of Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that depicts God on the right side as new. In this painting, the movement is not from God (as an already proven existence) to man (as new), but from man to God (Figure 5.26). Man here is presented as a given, aspiring to achieve God-like or divine status (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996. If one applies the basic principle of the given–new relationship within a relief depicted in the fourteenth century, “Creation of Eve” (Figure 5.27), we see that God is placed in the left as given, reflecting a consensus about the origin of everything that exists, and Eve is on the right side of God, as something new; in the context of Genesis, this is somehow problematic as she leads Adam into sin.

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Figure 5.26 The creation of Adam; detail of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, created by Michelangelo Buonarroti, Vatican City, Rome, Italy, 1511–1512, retrieved from Gardner’s Art Through the Ages (4th edition, Kleiner, 2015, p. 260)

Figure 5.27 The Creation of Eve (1310–1330). Marble relief by Lorenzo Maitani, Orvieto Cathedral, Italy. Photographed by Mary Ann Sullivan (2005), retrieved from Bluffton University

Ideal and real (the informational value of top and bottom) Another subset of informational value in visual composition is ideal and real, which correlates to the information value of the top and bottom of the page. The information value of the top and bottom, according to Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), is defined in images with a vertical axis. In this sense, in visual images and any kind of multimodal texts, and especially in magazine advertising, the upper section presents idealized information regarding the promise of the product, or an ideal presentation of the product. In this meaning, what is placed at the top of the image tends to make a kind of emotive appeal to show viewers “‘what might be’” (Kress and Van

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 187 Leeuwen, 1996, p. 188). In contrast, the lower section and what is placed in the bottom of the image depicts the product itself and more or less tries to present actual information about the real world. Thus, the lower section is prone toward reality, tending to be more informative and practical. Double-row and Chalipa This principle in visual composition can be applied in common formats of writing in Nastaliq such as double-row and Chalipa writing in which the two rows/lines (in a double row) and four lines (in Chalipa) follow each other from top to bottom, and the page as a whole is divided into top and bottom sections, meaning that the visual elements/calligraphic forms are placed in the sections as up and down. Although the meaning of ideal and real (i.e., information value of top and bottom) in Nastaliq calligraphy like the principle of given and new seems problematic, it applies in some specific formats/styles of writing in Nastaliq, such as Chalipa, double-row, and calligraphy in combination with miniature paintings (fusion of calligraphy and miniature) performed on poetry, especially with romantic and epic stories such as Shahnameh/the epic of a king in which there is a vertical horizontal axis through which the page is divided into two parts of top and bottom. With respect to the principle of ideal and real, the visual elements and characters in the upper part of the page as a whole are considered the ideal. This section is the most salient and assumed to be the most attractive part among the different parts of the visual composition. Figure 5.28 demonstrates that the concept of ideal and real as explained in Kress and Van Leeuwen’s model of visual composition cannot be meaningful in Nastaliq calligraphy. In other words, the concept of ideal – presenting an ideal and significant desire – and real – presenting factual information – does not make sense in accordance with Kress and Van Leeuwen’s model. According to this principle, in visual composition with a vertical orientation, there is less connection and less ongoing movement between the two parts of the composition (top and bottom) than in horizontal compositions in which the eye naturally connects left and right. In Figure 5.28, written in Chalipa format, one can see certain characteristics of ideal–real, as the page is divided into two sections of top and bottom, although the disconnection between two parts as defined in the ideal–real principle cannot be applied in this work. In Figure 5.29 (a double-row), the disconnection between the two parts of top and bottom seems to be stronger through lineation of potent streaks/borders around each written row, so that one sees a significant contrast and division between the two sections of top and bottom. Therefore, despite apparent similarities in these calligraphy works – in terms of using horizontal axis and top and bottom division of the image as a whole – to ideal and real principles explained in the Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) model of visual composition, a question remains about how the concepts of ideal and real

Figure 5.28 A piece of Nastaliq calligraphed in the format of Chalipa by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvini, in the eleventh century AH, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraph, alongside a schematic image of the Chalipa format

Figure 5.29 A double-row line in Nastaliq calligraphed in 1277 AH, calligrapher: unknown, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 189 can be explained in these compositions. In other words, how in Figure 5.29, for instance, can one explain and attribute the calligraphic forms placed in the upper section to the ideal, as something which presents idealized information and a kind of desire, or how can such attribution be possible between the characters in the lower section and the concept of real in the visual compositional model, as something which is prone toward reality? Although in Figure 5.28, written in Chalipa format, calligraphic elements are set into the top and bottom parts, there is still a suggestion that there is no difference between the elements of top and bottom in terms of their value of information (presenting the ideal or real). There is no dominance or salience regarding the information at the top and bottom in these works; thus, the logic defined as given–new or ideal–real is problematic despite its ostensible generalizability to all kinds of visuals. However, despite all contradictions and problematic issues in the information value of top and bottom, especially with respect to Nastaliq calligraphy, one can say that the concept of ideal and real in general can be applied in Nastaliq, as the concept of ideal and real – as enacted and defined in the model of visual composition as a general principle – is consistent with the concepts of top and bottom in the social and cultural context of Nastaliq as a whole. This means that in the tradition and the culture (i.e., the context in which Nastaliq has emerged and formed) the concepts of top and up tend to be high and all are compatible with the notions of divinity, spirituality, immateriality, freedom, and extraterritoriality and, accordingly, imply a sense of being ideal. The concepts of low, down, and bottom and downward trends in Nastaliq calligraphy refer to something terrestrial, material and corporeal, and underneath that finally conveys the notion of objectivity and reality as means in the principle of real in the Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) model of visual composition. These concepts can be demonstrated in a calligraphic row as, according to basic principles of Nastaliq calligraphy, the beginning and end of rows should tend upward; the first and last calligraphic element in a row is placed higher than the baseline. These concepts can also be implied in calligraphic forms – whether single forms or combined forms – that have an upward tendency in all their movements in Nastaliq, starting from down to up (Figures 5.30–5.32 show schematic images of moving words and rows). The principle of ideal and real can be seen in some fusion works, such as combinations of painting and calligraphy (e.g., the miniature paintings illustrated based on literature and poetic stories) that are usually used with Nastaliq texts. Figure 5.33 shows how the quality of ideal and real – as defined in the model of visual composition – functions to place the calligraphy text in the page. The work depicts the Prophet’s Ascension in a spiral composition that starts from the bottom right of the page and ends by a shiny angel on the top left. The calligrapher and painter in this masterpiece place the poetic part of each poetic verse – all of which are calligraphed in Nastaliq – according to its content. In other words, the verses of poetry that

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Figure 5.30 A piece of Shekasteh-Nastaliq/broken Nastaliq, calligraphed in the fifteenth century AH by Mojtaba Malek-Zadeh, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution, along with a schematic image

describe a heavenly space and the extra-terrestrial happenings on the night of the Ascension are placed at the top of the image and the verses with terrestrial content – which narrate the Prophet’s preparation from the earth toward the sky – are placed at the bottom of the image; thus, here, the information value of the top texts is attributed to the quality of ideal, presenting idealized information regarding the promise of the Ascension, while the written texts below – which contribute with the visual elements placed in the bottom – are consistent with the concept of real, tending to be more informative and narrating the preparation and goal of the Prophet to proceed from ground to sky (Figure 5.33). Another example in which the work is divided into parts of top and bottom is one leaf from the romantic poem Shirin and Farhad23 written by Vahshi Bafqi (1263 AH) (Figure 5.34). This piece also is a combination of Iranian miniature and calligraphy, an illustration in which the painting and calligraphy contribute together to depict and narrate the given story. In this work, one can consider the placement of the given calligraphic text and use such top and bottom composition as intentional based on the content of the texts placed in the top and bottom. The content of the text in the bottom presents an actual narration regarding what is going to be done by Farhad – the main character of the story – at the moment. The most used word in this part of the text is related to rock (Sang) and ingeminates

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 191

Figure 5.31 A piece of Nastaliq (Chalipa), calligraphed by Gholamhossein Amirkhani, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Figure 5.32 A combined form of letters ‫ﺱ‬/s and ‫ﺁ‬/A

Farhad’s way – what is done in the real, or the path he has taken, digging the cliff to achieve his mistress, Shirin – toward his love. The part of the poem calligraphed on the top of the page presents a devotional and emotive dialogue by Farhad expressing his hope, wish, and desire to achieve Shirin, presenting “what might be” (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996, p. 188).

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Figure 5.33 The Ascension, attributed to Sultan Mohammad, a page from Khamseh Nezami, Tabriz (949 AH), London, British Museum, (Azhand, 2005, p. 169)

Overall, what can be derived from the top and bottom system of visual composition and applied in Nastaliq calligraphy and its special context is something that refers to traditional principles of Nastaliq – especially used in performing – based on which all rows, and forms – whether single or combined – are biased upward. This notion is implicit in all movements from right to left, clockwise, and pointing upward. However, it is rare in Nastaliq to use a kind of framing by which the page (and the frame as a whole) is divided into two distinctive parts of top and bottom or even left and right, but the overwhelming majority of framing in Nastaliq is subordinate to the nature of Nastaliq calligraphy in particular and calligraphy in general. That is, the framing is a kind of nature based on which calligraphic forms are configured in a dynamic way, and usually composed along two sides of the center and margin, so that vertical and horizontal compositions are less common. Center and margin Most of the compositions used in Nastaliq subordinate a kind of central and margin system of composition. In this respect, most formats of writing in Nastaliq in terms of compositional system conform to the information value of

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 193

Figure 5.34 A piece from Vahshi Bafqi’s poetry collection (1263 Malek National Library and Museum Institution

AH),

retrieved from

center and margin in the proposed schema of Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) for visual composition. In other words, the principles and ways used in the overall composition of calligraphic forms, or framing in Nastaliq, can be explained through the principles of the interrelated system of center and margin defined in the schema of visual composition. According to this schema, visual composition can also be structured along the dimensions of center and margin. The most typical manifestations of such composition in Nastaliq calligraphy are found in writing formats such as Ghobar/Particle writing, inscription/ epigraph writing, and even in some types of Siyah-Mashq/black practice.24 Figure 5.35 shows an example in which text written by Jali dang (the largest size of pen), in the middle of the page, is considered the central element of the whole frame and is surrounded by a number of subordinate rows written by a small size of pen. The crucial visual elements in terms of value of information are placed in the center of the page and other associated elements around it are in a lower level of importance of information.

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Figure 5.35 Calligraphed by Gholamhossein Amirkhani (2001) with a large size pen (Jali), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

The same structure is followed by the work calligraphed by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvini shown in Figure 5.36. In this figure, the most significant part of the text is written with a large size of nib pen and placed in the middle of the frame, while the supplementary and additional descriptive texts that are performed by a small size of pen – and seem to be more arbitrary and free in their movements – are placed in margins around the large central text. The central location endows the text with a high degree of importance. The marginal location in turn gives the given text a specific sense, features, and attitude of a descriptive or interpretative, expository, or periphrastic text and then presents it as a non-significant element of the whole page – in comparison with the central element. When visual communication creates significant use of the center through placing one element in the middle of the frame and other elements around it, the central element is considered the center and the elements around it the margins. Central composition is not common in contemporary Western visualizations; instead, horizontal and vertical compositions, or top–bottom/ ideal–real, and left–right/given–new interrelated systems, are most often used in Western visualizations based on a left to right system of writing; the central-margin structure is seen more frequently in Asian visualizations that usually employ a right to left system of writing, such as Farsi, Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu.25 Central composition is also used in the structural style of typography and calligraphy in such systems of writing. For instance, Figure 5.35 shows texts distributed along a circular system in the composition. The salient part is in the center of the frame and the other relevant texts are placed around the center as margins. The central composition plays an important role in Asian designs, perhaps going back to Confucian thinking, the notion of Pantheism in the East and Middle East, and the role of circle, swirl, and

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Figure 5.36 A piece from Quran calligraphed by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvini in the eleventh century AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution, along with a schematic of its image

twirl in Persian mysticism which emphasizes hierarchy, harmony, and continuity rather than distinction, polarization, contrast, and division (e.g., dividing the page into two distinct parts of left and right or top and bottom), which are more often seen in Western visual composition. This kind of composition, in essence, presents a unity and integration toward the whole work, rather than a sense of separation, distinction, and segregation, enacted in vertical and horizontal composition as defined in the principles of information value of left and right and top and bottom. In other words, there is no sense of division or bipolarity between the given and new or ideal and real elements; instead, this compositional style implies a sense of integration and mobilization. Most of the compositions in Nastaliq calligraphy conform to the system of center and margin. For example, in the Ketabat/scribing format of writing, the central part and margins are separated from each other through visible lines and invisible vectors and thus specific spaces exist between the two parts (center and margin) and between row-lines and frames. Figure 5.37 presents the use of this type of composition or framing, and the values of centrality in calligraphic forms, and presents it as serious, formal, anecdotal, traditional, and storied text, while expressing a sense of commentary, additional, redundancy, subsidiary, and supplementary toward the calligraphic forms placed in margins. This type of framing presents the elements and forms placed in the

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Figure 5.37 Nastaliq piece, using the center and margin system of composition, calligraphed by Gholami, 2008, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

margins as something additional and coherent to the forms placed in the middle of the frame ‒ as something descriptive and supplementary but not essential and significant. In essence, the margins define a position in the overall page that expresses specific attitudes and senses toward the given text. In other words, the overall composition or framing in Nastaliq determines the informational value of different places in the page; for example, the marginal texts – usually written by a small size of nib pen and set in oblique rows – are presented as free, unserious texts with a low level of legibility in comparison to the main text located in the center of the page. In fact, in terms of shape and configuration, the marginal texts are usually performed by a small size of pen and arranged more freely, most often along skewed lines that function together to reduce the seriousness and significance of the given text.

Inscription or epigraph Another style of framing or overall composition in Nastaliq is inscription or epigraph, which is usually written by Jali dang – the large size of pen. The common and conventional form of an inscription or epigraph – usually seen

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 197 on the facade or entrance of libraries, schools, and religious places such as mosques – is a single row/line located at the middle of the page, without any marginal annotation, but sometimes surrounded by tiny balloons and dentate and jagged/serrated lines as embellishment. In this format of writing, calligraphic forms are arranged in a single row – or sometimes in two following lines/rows – not in a straight and direct line and they are not uniform with identical or equal spaces between the forms. However, they are uniform in that the forms are set regularly so that they present a static yet dynamic order. In other words, the given forms together function to create an integrated whole that synchronically presents two senses of dynamism or mobility and stability or solidity (Figure 5.38). This format or way of writing gives a sense of authenticity to the written text and in turn presents the information/concept/subject as credible and reliable. Thus, the inscription or epigraph as a distinct style of framing provides a sense of certitude toward the given text and gives it the modality of a command, decree/sentence, or law (Figure 5.39). In the compositional way of the epigraph in general, the whole frame is usually filled with text, so that other agents and effects such as margins, different regions around the main text, or empty spaces are less commonly or never seen and play no noticeable role in the composition. In general, the space around the given calligraphic forms is filled with ornamental illuminations and specific gildings, which create a bound whole in which all elements are tight to each other and help make the text more prominent. The epigraph has had different places and various platforms for exposition from past to present; it has been written in different types of calligraphy26 and used in various places from religious places to public places, the facades of schools, books, panels, carpet

Figure 5.38 Nastaliq written in the format of inscription/epigraph calligraphed by Abd-al Rahom Isfahani, in the fourteenth century AH, Malek National Library and Museum Institution

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Figure 5.39 A hemistich from a poem of Kamal-al Din Mohtasham Kashani, calligraphed in epigraph format with Jali size of the pen, in the thirteenth century AH, Malek National Library and Museum Institution

panels, and other ornamental objects. Prominent examples of the Nastaliq epigraph can be found in historical architecture and monuments created in the late Safavid era, such as the epigraphs of Charbagh in Isfahan – that were calligraphed by Mohammad Saleh Isfahani in the twelfth century AH – and the central mosque and cove gate of Qazvin (Figures 5.40–5.43).

Figure 5.40 Parts of the Nastaliq epigraph of Charbagh school in Isfahan, calligraphed by Mohammad Saleh Isfahani in the twelfth century AH (Sahragard, 2007, p. 96)

Figure 5.41 Parts of Nastaliq epigraph of mosque of Ali-Gholi Agha in Isfahan, created by Mohammad Saleh Isfahani in the twelfth century AH (Sahragard, 2007, p. 117)

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Figure 5.42 Parts of Nastaliq epigraph on one of the altars of the old part of the central mosque of Qazvin, related to the thirteenth century AH. Photographed by the author

As another instance, one can refer to the famous epigraphs calligraphed by Gholamreza Isfahani in the mosque and school of Sepahsalar in Tehran as well as colorful tiled inscriptions in Salehieh School in Qazvin (Figures 5.44 and 5.45). The Nastaliq epigraph has also been used in headstones and tombs, for instance, a beautiful headstone belonging to Malek-Soltan which is calligraphed in Nastaliq (Figure 5.46). The epigraph/inscription as a distinct format or style of writing in Nastaliq cannot specifically take place in the three compositional systems – information value of given–new, top–bottom, and center and margin – proposed by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) because this kind of composition or style of framing is not consistent with the horizontal and vertical compositional system, in which the given page is divided into two parts of left and right or top and bottom. Although in a single-line inscription, the page or frame as a whole is divided into top and bottom parts, in this kind of inscription, the authority and importance of the work is summarized in the given text, not in the spaces around the text or framing, and the framing in such composition follows a kind of closed model in which the text and calligraphic forms are precedent and significant rather than the other factors, such as ornaments or spaces around the text. Even so, one can say that the given text/calligraphic forms can to some extent follow the center and margin model of visual composition, so that all elements and factors are considered as subordinates and appurtenances of the given text or as marginal elements that follow the main central text; the additional elements such as ornamental plants and other embellishments are considered to be margin.

200 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.43 The Nastaliq epigraph of cove gate of Qazvin, related to the Qajar era (between the twelfth and fourteenth century AH). Photographed by the author

In epigraphs/inscriptions, usually there is no visible division or bipolarity between elements as seen in the compositional systems of given–new and top–bottom. In essence, what is explicitly emphasized is the text or the calligraphic forms used to write the desired text to be highlighted and glorified and, accordingly, endowed with a sense of integration and unity toward the work as a whole, rather than separating different parts of the frame. Overall, considering that there is no sense of division or bipolarity among elements in the compositional system of center and margin, one can to some extent relate the epigraph style to the center and margin composition.

Siyah-Mashq or black practice Another style in overall composition is Siyah-Mashq/black practice. As a subset of the overall composition I considered as a distinct interpersonal

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Figure 5.44 Mosque and school inscriptions of Sepahsalar, Tehran, calligraphed by Gholamreza Esfahani in the fourteenth century AH. Photographed by Reza Ahmadzadeh (2010)

resource in Nastaliq calligraphy, Siyah-Mashq has been a very common compositional style over time. Calligraphers have long considered Siyah-Mashq to be a distinct format, as well as a genre in writing and composing letters in Nastaliq. In the Qajar era (between the thirteenth and fourteenth century AH) with the emergence of great calligraphers such as Mir-Hossein Khoshnevis, Mirza-Kazem-Tehrani, and Mirza Gholamreza Isfahani, Siyah-Mashq/black practice flourished and was characterized as a distinct format in Nastaliq calligraphy. This format itself has its own subsets that have been classified and characterized based on various factors such as the calligrapher’s purpose and different types of audience. Siyah-Mashq as a form of Nastaliq calligraphy can be divided into types. The distinct characteristics of each type – which are usually displayed in details of composition – are identified based on the calligrapher’s purpose in creating the work and the type of audience. The common point or characteristic in all types of Siyah-Mashq is that, in addition to meticulous, detailed, and precise consideration of each component

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Figure 5.45 The colorful tiled inscriptions in Salehieh School in Qazvin. Created by Ali-Asqar Kashipaz-Qazvini, in the thirteenth century. Photographed by the author from Qazvin Museum of Stone and Pottery

and ingredient and each single part in performing calligraphic forms, the calligrapher pays specific attention to the overall composition of the work. In other words, although Siyah-Mashq is considered a kind of improvisation in Nastaliq calligraphy so that the calligrapher makes an offhand work in the moment, without any pre-sketch for its composition, the overall appearance and overall composition and the integration between single forms are more considerable and substantial than for each single form. In essence, in Siyah-Mashq, the overall final composition and the whole appearance of the frame are more significant than the small parts, though a Siyah-Mashq is formed from part to whole.

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 203

Figure 5.46 Headstone of Malek-Soltan (1348 AH), in Qazvin Museum of Stone and Pottery. Photographed by the author

In this respect, in this format of writing, each single letter may not be readable or even recognizable as a single letterform. However, the overall composition of the work, or the final appearance of the work – as a result of repeated letterforms getting together and wrapping and overlapping each other – gives meaning to the whole work and in fact characterizes a Siyah-Mashq/black practice (Figure 5.47). Calligraphic forms in the format of Siyah-Mashq are most often set on skewed lines though there is no constant and stable linage in this format and calligraphic forms and elements can be set in different sides. In essence, there is no written or enacted convention or constant rule for setting and ordering the letterforms through predetermined baselines and the page as a whole, but generally the calligraphic forms are freely set up to create a stable and beautiful integrated whole. In essence, regardless of any fixed conventional rules used in composing individual letters/forms, or specific conventions in spacing between letters and rows, in creating a Siyah-Mashq practice, the calligrapher creates a balanced and harmonized configuration including forms that are freely repeated and sometimes overlapping to thereby create harmony among the black and white spaces between letterforms. This genre or format of composition in Nastaliq cannot easily be included in the classified compositional systems in the Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) model. In general, the goal of Siyah-Mashq is improvising an overall harmony

204 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.47 A piece of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq/black practice, calligraphed by Mir-Hossein Khoshnevis in 1288 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

and a correlation between the empty spaces – white spaces and filled/black spaces – to create a stunning piece of work. In that the entire page is usually filled by calligraphic forms, most of the time there is no centrality to be explicitly recognized in such composition, and subsequently dividing the page into different areas in terms of informational value of left and right, top and bottom, or center and margin seems unlikely. In other words, in Siyah-Mashq as a genre of framing of overall composition, dividing the page into distinct areas and explaining them as in the Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) model is farfetched. Nevertheless, in some pieces of Siyah-Mashq, a specific correlation between black and white spaces in the page or sometimes high- or low-density letterforms on one side of the given page results in a sense of heaviness or lightness in various sides/ sections of the page, and the page is practically divided into different sections through invisible vectors made of calligraphic forms and their relation to the white space/background. Accordingly, the informational value of different sections is distinguished (Figure 5.48). Different types of Siyah-Mashq that are common and conventional models, based on categories proposed by calligraphers (e.g., in Zanjan Association of Calligraphers), can be categorized first as practice Siyah-Mashq in which the

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 205

Figure 5.48 Two pieces of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq, calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraph

main goal of writing is rehearsing letterforms through repeating and refining until sometimes no white or empty spot remains (Figure 5.49). This type of Siyah-Mashq emerged when, because of the rarity and soupcon of paper sheets, calligraphers had to use paper to the maximum so that in the end no white space remained. In some cases, even after several writings on a paper sheet, yet another Siyah-Mashq was written on the same paper, and the aim was entirely to practice to achieve a more complete model of the geometry of letters and words. The second category of Siyah-Mashq is no-theme or meaningless SiyahMashq, which is tied to works created regardless of any linguistic/literal sense or meaning in choosing the letters and words; only the conventions in performing and aesthetic rules are considered to make an integrated eyecatching configuration as a whole (Figure 5.50). Third is readable Siyah-Mashq that presents literary and poetic content (e.g., through repeating letterforms of a couplet or a distich in a free way and, accordingly, creating a specific composition which is knotty and complex, yet legible at the same time). The fourth category is related to works in which there is no specific order, arrangement, or clarity in composing different forms – whether single or compound forms/letters – so that they are placed in the page in different ways that create a kind of chaotic and amorphous composition as a whole. In such category, the shape and beauty of forms is not specifically considered so that each letterform is not recognizable as a distinctive

206 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.49 A piece of Siyah-Mashq calligraphed by Mohammad-Reza Kalhor (1829–1892 AD), retrieved from Maktab e Kalhor, The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraph

form. In other words, a letterform cannot be separately identified in its own right, but rather in relation to other letterforms in the page. Nevertheless, such irregularity brings a kind of integration to the work and thereby creates a kind of integration as a whole. A fifth category of Siyah-Mashq features a calm and disciplined modality, achieved by following a regular arrangement between forms so that no form inconsequently crosses/interrupts another form; in other words, the calligraphic forms do not randomly overlap each other, and the calligrapher refrains from a wasteful and irregular repetition of calligraphic forms. The sixth category of Siyah-Mashq is assigned to quiet and low-density works that are away from the crowd and bustle of letterforms. In such kind of Siyah-Mashq, the calligrapher emphasizes the empty spaces between calligraphic forms and thus evokes a kind of recess and respiration between forms. The seventh category is tied to frequent and diagonal black practices. Most of the Siyah-Mashqs remaining from great calligraphers of different centuries fall into this category. It seems that creation of

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 207

Figure 5.50 A piece of Siyah-Mashq calligraphed by Mohammad-Ali Sedighi, retrieved from Maktab e Kalhor, The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraph

such kind of Siyah-Mashq is retrieved from Chalipa as a typical format of writing in Nastaliq, which means that when a Chalipa work is impaired in terms of performing letterforms in a fine way, it has been converted into a black practice. In essence, to optimize the use of paper, a no-good, failed, or unfit Chalipa is transformed into a Siyah-Mashq through repeating and overlapping calligraphic forms in the direction of the Chalipa’s diagonal lines. This way of creating SiyahMashq is enacted as a conventional method in Siyah-Mashq writing. This method of writing makes meaning; in terms of visuality, when a frame includes two horizontal and vertical lines, the best and most appropriate way is setting up calligraphic forms through the diagonal lines that cross the mentioned horizontal and vertical lines of the frame and thus convey more energy, movement, and greater mobility in the work as a whole (Figure 5.51). Eighth, as opposed to the frequent and diagonal Siyah-Mashqs, there is horizontal Siyah-Mashq, more common in Qajar’s era, in which a horizontal line is considered as a base through which all calligraphic forms are set; that is, letterforms are repeated in a successive and consecutive way. In this category, the space between forms usually uses the spacing principles in two-row writing, which means that the spacing is not free but conforms to the relevant conventions – enacted in the 12 principles of Nastaliq calligraphy and used in, for example, double-row writing or other typical styles of writing (Figure 5.52).

Figure 5.51 Calligraphed by Gholam-Reza Isfahani (1300 National Library and Museum Institution

AH),

retrieved from Malek

Figure 5.52 Two pieces of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq, calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 209 The ninth category includes Siyah-Mashq works from the past. Some works have calligraphic forms written so that every side of the page has its own distinct composition and each can be considered a separate black practice or cut off as a separate and independent work in its own right. This type of Siyah-Mashq is called multidimensional Siyah-Mashq. It is evident that each face or side can imply a specific attitude or display a particular sense in accordance with a specific composition – used to configure calligraphic forms – based on the direction of the calligraphic form, size of the pen, and density of multiple forms as a whole (Figures 5.53 and 5.54). The tenth category of Siyah-Mashq is multi-dang or multi-size, in which different sizes/dangs or scales of nib pen are used to write and compose letterforms. This diversity in size causes a kind of concinnity, variability, and unevenness in the work and presents a slight depth of field. It is evident that using different sizes of pen results in different values of information in the work as a whole and varying degrees of importance toward the different visual calligraphic forms (Figures 5.55 and 5.56).

Figure 5.53 A piece of Siyah-Mashq (multidimensional form), created in 1240 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Figure 5.54 A piece of Siyah-Mashq (multidimensional form) in Shekasteh-Nastaliq, calligraphed by Abd-al-Majid Taleghani (in the twelfth century AH), retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

210 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure

5.55 Calligraphed by Reza Shekh-Pour, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Figure 5.56 Siyah-Mashq of Nastaliq in the multi-size form, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Another class in this format of Nastaliq that is seen among the works created by great calligraphers in different periods I call ensemble SiyahMashq. The focus of attention in such works is not on repetition and overlapping letterforms, but on relations between forms and their combination. In essence, the calligrapher in this type of black practice tries to assemble letterforms to create a masterpiece – in which each calligraphic element collaborates to make an integrated whole. In such works, the calligrapher pays precise attention to the placement of any form – even a dot – in the page. Thus, if one or more forms were removed, the piece would lose its integrity and completeness. Therefore, this category of Siyah-Mashq infracts the primary general rule in Siyah-Mashq that all letterforms are randomly repeated in a fortuitous way and create a premeditated and intentional work rather than a casual and accidental one (Figure 5.57). The twelfth category is corroborated or emphatic Siyah-Mashq, in which the calligrapher writes a specific word or letter in a specific area of the page that has a special value of information and emphasizes the given word or letter whether through repetition or the use of different sizes of pen to make the word/ letter bold, distinct from other elements, and preferred to other calligraphic

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 211

Figure 5.57 Created by Mirza Gholamreza Isfahani, in 1303 AH. Iran Decoration Arts Museum in Tehran, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

forms (Figure 5.58). In some cases, Siyah-Mashq/black practice has been used instead of gilding. This means that it can function as garnitures and embellishments to fill empty spaces in a given work. Such type of SiyahMashq that is not considered merely a calligraphic work but rather an adhered section to the whole work to embellish and gain a harmonic composition is called decorative Siyah-Mashq, the final category (Figure 5.59). Among the works written in the Siyah-Mashq format, one will encounter examples in which no point/dot has been used, so most of these works are meaningless in terms of literal or linguistic meaning. This means that the work takes meaning from its visuality or visual composition rather than from the conventional linguistic meanings embedded in the given letters. In some cases, Siyah-Mashqs are considered not as a distinct and independent calligraphic work but as a side-line used in, for example, the margin in a fusion of different styles of writing. For instance, the center of the page is assigned to a piece or a single row calligraphed with a large size of pen, another piece is written in Chalipa format with a smaller size of pen; then a piece of Ketabat/scribing is placed in the next level of significance and emphasis, and finally in the margin of the whole work is a piece of Siyah-

Figure 5.58 Siyah-Mashq/black practice created by Mohammad Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1868–1935), retrieved from ‫ﻃﺮﻓﻪ ﺍﯾﺎﻡ ﺯﻧﺪﺍﻥ ﻋﻤﺎﺩﺍﻟﮑﺘﺎﺏ‬, The National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Seifi Qazvini, 2004)

Figure 5.59 Using Siyah-Mashq as embellishment, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 213 Mashq, which is considered to be at a low level of importance, especially in terms of informational value (Figure 5.60). As a result of the classification of all kinds of common and conventional compounds in Siyah-Mashq – as a distinct format in the overall compositional system of Nastaliq – the common characteristics among the categories can be identified as a kind of release, freedom, and liberation, irregularity coupled with an internal regularity at the same time, a scattering and yet concentration in a bustling atmosphere with high density, a lack of centralization in the page as a whole, and low and high density of letterforms that sometimes leads to an emphasis on specific areas of the page. In total, a kind of rebellion and mutiny stem from non-conformity with the general conventional principles of overall composition – used in composing calligraphic forms – though the general principles of detailed composition – used in performing any individual calligraphic form – are followed. Siyah-Mashq/black practice as a format in overall composition of Nastaliq can imply different modalities and represent specific parts of the text as injunctive, imperative, or assertive through different facilities such as repetition, overlapping, and different sizes. In other words, through different affordances, different senses and values of information can be expressed toward different parts of the text. Thus, Siyah-Mashq as a type of Nastaliq composition can be considered a compact of different opposite senses seen at the same time: density and integration yet disintegration and irregularities, stress and emphasis and yet lack of concentration, centralization, and decentralization. In essence, as a compositional style, black practice comprises a set of contrasts and contradictions while at the same time demonstrating a kind of coordination, collaboration, and harmonic relation between calligraphic forms. The result of

Figure 5.60 Created by Hassan Ahangaran, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

214 Holliday’s triple metafunctions this integration of opposite qualities provides a sense of rebellion and movement and, at the same time, consistency and integration to the text and the work as a whole. This way of composition functions interpersonally to present an informal, casual, and non-serious attitude or mood toward the given text or the written letters. In essence, the major emphasis, and the main concern of Siyah-Mashq/black practice, is on the form and visual configuration of calligraphic letters as an integrated whole rather than the letters, text, and their legibility.

Detailed composition as interpersonal resource in Nastaliq mode A branch of composition in Nastaliq, as mentioned earlier, is detailed composition, which involves principles and conventions related to combining different bits and particles of calligraphy (i.e., small fragments and components that together make up the large elements). For example, detailed composition specifies the principles and rules used to combine letters that make words, as well as the ways to correlate words that make a row-line. Through the ways used for composing fragments or small components, Nastaliq calligraphy can imply interpersonal meanings. In other words, the set of conventions and principles in detailed composition causes different senses, attitudes, and moods. For an example, see Figure 5.61, in which the same words have been calligraphed in two different rows/lines, with different composition; the figure demonstrates how differences in combining letterforms and the segments of a word and composing words together suggest different senses and thereby cause different moods toward the same given text.

Figure 5.61 Two row-lines made of the same letters/words that are performed with two different detailed compositions

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 215

Ornamental styles as interpersonal resources in Nastaliq In addition to different compositional styles in Nastaliq – whether total composition or detailed composition – through which infinite forms and configurations can be created, Nastaliq employs decorative practices that are also common in other types of calligraphy – namely, the six scripts of Islamic calligraphy.27 These known decorative styles can be considered interpersonal resources that enact various interactions and give special moods and attitudes to the text and, in essence, each can incline the given text toward a specific orientation. These ornamental methods are not considered special types of formats for writing in calligraphy, but rather innovative mixes drawn to create exquisite and picturesque configurations so as to discover visual capacities in writing and calligraphy as a whole. In fact, along with the growth and formation of different styles of writing in calligraphy, the creative mind of calligraphers across different Muslim lands has created such decorative styles to display the visual qualifications of different calligraphies and use the capacities of calligraphic forms in making various configurations. Diverse examples of decorative styles in which letterforms are drawn as motifs can be found in old stamps, coins, miniatures, frontispieces, containers, and monuments and examining them requires a separate dedicated work and is beyond the scope of this study; furthermore, dealing with all ornamental styles here leads away from the main issue and subject matter. However, some of the styles used in such examples – which have been used as patterns in many works in contemporary graphic design – are described below. Toqra Toqra/‫ﻃﻐﺮﺍ‬, or monogram, as “the royal hand sign” (as quoted by Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 441), is writing the words and phrases and combining them usually into an arc form in which curved and intricate letterforms are performed with parallel movements (Figures 5.62 and 5.63). Such specific style of decoration has been used as a sign and endorsement on government letterheads and superscriptions of governmental orders/instructions and engraved on coins and signet rings. Toqra as a fancy and decorative style has been common in Iran since the Seljiq era (Saljuqiyan dynasty, 1037–1194) and presents a “fornicated form which has been used at the top commands of the kings between the name of Sultan and the name of Allah” (Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 256). This decorative style has been used in all types of calligraphy but mostly in three types: Thuluth, Reqa, and Diwani.28 Creating a Toqra or tracing a monogram involves assembling the name of sultan and titles of the reigning monarch in the form of a bow and arrow, and this custom goes back to the days of the Seljuq kings; because of illiteracy, they depict the form and figure of their bow and arrow over their commands rather than a signature or endorsement. (Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 256)

Figure 5.62 Two calligraphic pieces in Toqra and Reqa, calligraphed in 1325 AH, by Hassan Hosseini, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Figure 5.63 A piece of calligraphy in Toqra and Thuluth, created in the fourteenth century AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 217 Overall, Toqra as an ornamental style functions to present the given letterforms as injunctive, strict, emphatic, and forceful text that authenticates, labels, or endorses the content. In other words, this decorative style represents the given written text as a seal of approval and punctuates it while implying attitudes such as affirmation toward the given text. Muthanna or dyadic/bigeminal style The Muthanna or dyadic decorative style involves a symmetrical compound of calligraphic forms performed in all types of calligraphy – including the six main scripts or the doctrine types of calligraphy – especially in Kufic and Thuluth. Muthanna has often been used in architectural decoration, usually in geometric and figurative forms (see Figures 5.64 and 5.65). This ornamental composition potentially gives the written text or the given calligraphic forms a sense of harmony, compatibility, symmetry and parallelism, as well as synchrony and simplicity. In essence, the overall form of Muthanna implemented in a figurative and symmetrical form – so that calligraphic forms are placed in a format of a pictorial image – implies a sense of unity arising from an integrated whole. Muthalthal/Mosalsal, serial writing or concatenated style Mosalsal involves continuous writing and serial words, with no separation between them. In other words, Mosalsal is a style in which calligraphic forms are written unceasingly so that the written calligraphic forms (e.g., in a row) are

Figure 5.64 A calligraphic piece in Figure 5.65 A calligraphic piece in Muthanna calligraphed by Mustafa Halim/ Muthanna made by Turkey, retrieved from The Uthman Ozchay/Turkey, Center for the Promotion of retrieved from The Center Contemporary Calligraphy for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

218 Holliday’s triple metafunctions connected to each other without any disjunction or space between them. In fact, in such ornamental style, the calligrapher un-interruptedly performs calligraphic forms so that while writing the pen never leaves the paper and thus all calligraphic forms – from the beginning until the end – are linked to each other and create a kind of catenary or integrated whole (Figures 5.66 and 5.67). Serial writing has usually been performed in calligraphic types such as Thuluth, Toqi, and Reqa. Some Mosalsal writing is very hard to read and to some extent is illegible; these kinds of Mosalsal are called mystery or crux because they are composed of complex combinations of letterforms and words and make the written text knotty and complicated, requiring great precision to read. Although this type of Mosalsal/serial writing is not common in Nastaliq, many designers and Nastaliq calligraphers have been inspired by this style to create graphic works and calligrams.

Figure 5.66 Besmelah in Thuluth calligraphy in the format of Mosalsal, calligraphed by Ahmad Ghare-Hesari (Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 345)

Figure 5.67 Muthalthal/Mosalsal style of writing, calligraphed by Habibollah Fazaeli (1971), retrieved from The Artistic Reference of Ligheh

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 219 As a decorative method, the concatenated style can be compared to some methods of writing in Siyah-Mashq/black practice in which calligraphic forms and all elements are performed without spaces and thus are tightly joined; recognizing letterforms and individual components is difficult and the text as a whole is not readable (Figure 5.68). This style presents a steady rhythm in the given text, but it emphasizes the form and visual configuration rather than the content and readability. Although in the concatenated style all calligraphic elements are woven together, the overall composition provides a sense of the episodic toward the text. Morasae/cabochon-inlaying and floriated In Morasae/cabochon-inlaying and floriated methods of decoration, the surface of the main text and sometimes the negative/empty space around it are filled with tiny calligraphic elements or letterforms written by a smaller size of pen (e.g., Ghobar size of nip pen) and having various motifs so that the overall work has a textured and elaborate effect (Figure 5.69). In the floriated method of decoration, the main text is usually calligraphed in a large size of pen (e.g., Jali size) and then inside the letterforms, the surface of the letterform or inked part, especially the broad parts, are painted and decorated with flowers, blooms, leaves, and buds. Morasae or cabochon-inlaying literally means a piece which is “studded (or inlaid) with jewels” (Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 443) or, in gilding, it refers to a method of gilding in which “except gold, a solution of vermilion, azure, whiting, green rust, and saffron color is used” (Ghelichkhani, 2008). However, in calligraphy, it is an ornamental style which is furnished with various ornamental motifs and effects. In general, it comprises a combination of letters and words in different formats of animals, birds, and humans and objects and icons through which the names of God and the prophets, verses of the Quran, and Hadith are written (Figures 5.70–5.72). In terms of the meaning or attitude that these specific decorative

Figure 5.68 Siyah-Mashq in Nastaliq calligraphed by Ali Shirazi, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Figure 5.69 Cabochon-inlaying/Morasae method, with a detail of its margin, created in 1007 AH by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvini, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Figure 5.70 Flourished method of decoration in Nastaliq, created in 1336 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Figure 5.71 Note the delicate elements used for embellishment

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 221

Figure 5.72 A page of Tohfat al-Moluk, calligraphed in 1019 AH, by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvin, from the library of the Golestan Palace, n. 678, retrieved from The Anthology of Iranian Masters of Calligraphy

styles present, it is evident that the given calligraphic forms and the given text as a whole are expressed through potential qualities, senses, meanings, and attitudes tied to, and presented by, the visual effects used in the work and the ornamental elements associated with the calligraphic letterforms. Overall, this way of decoration – whether used in Nastaliq or other types of calligraphy – has usually been applied with the aim of creating a pleasant and beautiful texture and generally to express a mood of greetings and felicitation toward the written texts. However, given that, according to social semiotics theory of multimodality, this section examines Nastaliq calligraphy as a distinctive semiotic mode for its different functions and metafunctions; the

222 Holliday’s triple metafunctions potential meanings related to the different functions – which are consistent with the different resources in Nastaliq – are realized based on the specific context in which Nastaliq – as a semiotic mode – is created and used. Because the theory of social semiotics concerns the signs and their meanings embedded in a specific context – and attached to a particular culture and community – they are carriers of a long history of practices, forms, and traditions of the specific society. Thus, interpersonal resources in Nastaliq calligraphy like any other semiotic mode constitute social relations between the person who creates the sign (i.e., the calligrapher) and the person who engages with it, as well as the pieces of calligraphy expressed as a sign. Communication and interaction between the three elements of the calligraphy working as sign, creator, or calligrapher, and audience are formed through interpersonal resources.

Non-letter calligraphic characters as resources to realize interpersonal senses However, not all interpersonal resources in Nastaliq calligraphy are calligraphic letterforms or rely on the principles and conventions related to the different compositional styles, but some non-letter visual elements commonly used for different intentions can be regarded as interpersonal resources that can actualize interpersonal meanings. For instance, small, tiny, or trivial but effective elements such as tenuous dentate balloons – commonly used around the words/rows to decorate, accentuate, or highlight a specific part of the text or to separate parts of the text from each other or from the main frame – can be considered interpersonal resources. Other such resources include tiny signs or visual characters of declension – which are used to vocalize letters and words and to bridge the gaps around

Figure 5.73 A piece of Shekasteh Nastaliq, using the curly balloons around the row-lines highlights the calligraphic forms (text) and helps them to be displayed as more dynamic, light, and rotational. Calligraphed in the fourteenth century AH by Mirza Abolghasem Farahani, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 223 rows and between calligraphic forms to maintain balance in the rows and the whole work; these are called non-letter calligraphic characters and are also considered among the interpersonal/orientational resources of Nastaliq calligraphy. Figures 5.73 and 5.74 demonstrate how the jagged balloon-shapes/“interlinear dentelle gilding” (Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 440) present the rows and the given text more freely and smoothly in terms of their motion. In this meaning, such calligraphic elements/characters help to maintain the rows as direct and straight and display their motion as smoother. In other words, if the letterforms are not aligned properly and smoothly on the baseline, tracing such balloons around the rows can fix this defect and present the rows as straight and direct. Drawing circular and curly, and sometimes dentate, lines – which are also considered resources and facilities of illumination –

Figure 5.74 Using jagged balloon-shapes around the lines levels the row-lines and creates a kind of uniformity all over the page. A page of book Tohfatol-Vozara, calligraphed in 1005 AH by Mir-Emad Hassani Qazvini, retrieved from The Anthology of Iranian Masters of Calligraphy

224 Holliday’s triple metafunctions not only highlights the written text and draws the audience’s attention toward the text but also is a resource to remove defects in a row-line and give it a straight, smooth, and flawless sense in terms of alignment of calligraphic forms. Note that although these non-letter characters and visual elements are considered resources and facilities of book layout and illumination, common visual characters such as balloons, indentations, and the signs of punctuation that are nearly always seen in calligraphy works can be included among constant resources of Nastaliq as a mode. As associated participants in Nastaliq, separately or in combination with calligraphic forms, these elements can cause different attitudes and interactions. In Figures 5.75 and 5.76, the balloon shapes, clouds, and rosette clouds (as labeled in Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 434) that are traced around the rows and joined together create a connection between the rows from top to bottom and divide the whole frame/page into two distinct spaces of text and background. In essence, the calligraphic forms and written text are placed in a specific dedicated space that is surrounded by the clouds/balloons that separate it from the outer space (i.e., the background of the whole piece of work). At the same time, these rosette clouds/tenuous balloons represent a kind of coordination and integration among all participants and rows, a kind of unification as opposed to fragmentation. However, in Figure 5.77, in contrast to previous images, the clouds and balloon lines that are drawn distinctly around each individual row express a sense of fragmentation, interruption, discontinuity, distance, and interval as opposed to unity. As seen in Figure 5.78, the clouds that are traced as closed shapes in

Figure 5.75 A piece of Shakaste-Nastaliq created in 12018 AH by Safi, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution. Using rosette clouds around the row-lines highlights calligraphic forms and creates a private territory specifically for the calligraphic text

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 225

Figure 5.76 A piece of Shakasteh Nastaliq created in 1290 AH by Habib Mashhadi, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution The rosette clouds connect calligraphic texts to each other and create two distinct domains in the page, the domain of calligraphic text and the domain of background

Figure 5.77 A piece of Shakasteh-Nastaliq created in 1192 AH by Mohammad Shafi Heravi, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution. The clouds and balloons traced around every individual phrase of the text represent a sense of segmentation, as well as lightness and suspension, rather than connection

different directions around each individual row, phrase, or word and detach the different parts of the text from each other interrupt the total configuration of the given text and cut it into various sequences that may not be the same size. As interpersonal resources, these non-letterform characters also can provide

Figure 5.78 A piece of Shekasteh-Nastaliq, created in 1192 AH by Mohammad Shafi Heravi, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Figure 5.79 A piece of a poem written in Shekasteh-Nastaliq, created in 1342 retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

AH,

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 227 a quality of episodicity, or a sequential modality to the text. In Figure 5.79, the dentate rosette clouds are drawn (e.g., around each hemistich in a given piece of a poem) in the same direction and they are all connected to each other to express modalities of continuity and ordinal sequence.

Signs of declension and embellishment as interpersonal resources in Nastaliq Among non-lettered resources that are able to cooperate with other resources in developing interpersonal resources to fulfill and realize interpersonal meanings, one can refer to tiny customizable forms that are used above and below the letter; their presence can give the text a specific attitude and orientation. Although some of these signs are particularly defined to vocalize letters and words, in Nastaliq calligraphy they are not used for that aim. Persian scripts – except in special conditions to distinguish similar letters and words from each other – are not vocalized through using declension signs as in Arabic scripts. In fact, using signs of declension with the aim of vocalization is more common in the kinds of calligraphies specific to Arabic scripts, such as Thuluth and Naskh. However, in Nastaliq calligraphy, which was specifically created for the Persian language, these tiny signs are normally used to decorate and embellish parts of the text, to fill empty spaces, and sometimes to make conjunctions and connections between words and rows to present the text in a more proportionate and balanced manner. These tiny signs in Nastaliq generally function to characterize a work through expressing different senses and attitudes toward the calligraphic forms. For instance, as shown in Figure 5.80, using different tiny signs of declension – regardless of linguistic meaning and overall content of the written text – conveys a sense of archaism and antiquity and recalls archaic and obsolete versions of Persian scripts, in which signs of declension were most commonly used. Using declension signs and the tiny characters of decoration among the letterforms in Nastaliq can adhere a kind of accent and dialect to the written text; in this meaning, if one compares the two images shown in Figure 5.80, one can see that both Nastaliq pieces are written in the same text, with the first one using declension signs and the second not using them. Thus, one realizes that using the signs in the first image gives the text a religious feeling and although the text is written in Nastaliq it recalls the religious or benedictory texts in Arabic or Quran verses. The elements of declension and embellishment have a specific function in the visual configuration of the text and can endow the text with a specific accent, state, or mood. In Figure 5.81, a page of the Quran is written in Nastaliq calligraphy using common declension signs in Arabic scripts. Comparing with Figure 5.80 – in which Persian scripts are calligraphed using the same declension signs – gives the senses that these signs endow to the given texts in both pages and their function in changing dialect or accent of the given scripts.

Figure 5.80 A page of Nastaliq calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani, reproduced by adding declension signs in the original page. The original page retrieved from Heravi (2008, p. 13)

Figure 5.81 A page of the Quran, calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Karimi Noureyni Goodarzi, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 229

Punctuation and dot tracing as interpersonal resources Other resources in Nastaliq that afford interpersonal metafunctions and realize interpersonal or orientational meanings include the characters and visual elements of punctuation. The dot and visual signs of punctuation do not involve only the matter of punctuation and vocalization; in other words, the dot and secondary visual characters are not inherently adhered to the letterforms only to vocalize and punctuate, but they are also used in different cases. For example, the dot is used as a criterion or yardstick to proportionally perform the letterforms in that the scale of any letter or word (and their relation to each other) is measurable through the scale of the dot made with the given nib pen. For instance, Figure 5.82 shows how the proper scale of letterforms in relation to each other and to the baseline is estimated with hypothetical dots – based on principles of Nastaliq – to maintain proportionality and analogy among forms while performing them. Another application of the dot in Nastaliq calligraphy – and in all the six main types of calligraphy enacted by Ibn Muqla Shirazi – is measuring and finding the proper distance between rows and finding and arranging baselines. Note that the dot can be considered an infrastructural basis of calligraphy – no matter in which type or style – so that with a simple determination of the dot one can examine different calligraphic forms, complex shapes, and compound forms in Nastaliq. The dot in Nastaliq calligraphy is formed through motion of the pen toward the direction of the angle of the nib pen and along the baseline (Figure 5.83). The dot as a unit of measurement in calligraphy is created when the pen is moved on the paper at an angle of approximately 90° to the nib of the given pen to create a square shape, with each side equal to the width of the nib pen. According to Sultan-Ali-Mashahdi (1437–1520), as cited in Ghelichkhani (2008), “after carving a reed-pen, it must be examined through writing a dot in order to determine if it is appropriate for calligraphy” (p. 406). Punctuation, or dot tracing, is one of the most basic principles in Nastaliq calligraphy. In teaching Nastaliq, the length and width of the letterforms, the distance from each other, and the distance from the baseline are measured through tracing a dot – sometimes a half-dot – or a hollow circle. However, the dot is not applied solely as an inherent part of letters and words that plays only a complementary role. Punctuation itself is a distinct technique with its own principles intended to maintain balance and represents a specific posture toward the text in accordance with the specific content of the text. Therefore, a specific text with specific content may be calligraphed without even a single dot. In essence, punctuation in Nastaliq calligraphy is regarded as a distinct resource to create interpersonal senses, attitudes, or orientational meanings. In other words, punctuation as an identified technique in Nastaliq affords different resources and accordingly various senses: harmony versus contrast, symmetry versus asymmetry, simplicity versus complexity, boldness versus subtlety, or accentuality versus neutrality and bias (see Figure 5.84). Sometimes the calligrapher – based on his or her feeling and sensibility at the moment or on

230 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.82 Scaling/measuring the letterforms in Nastaliq with the dot as a criterion/ yardstick

a predetermined plan – may add extra dots in a specific place with the aim of maintaining the balance or coordination in the calligraphic forms and between the rows. The additional dots are considered additional or complementary dots rather than dots that are essentially attached to the letters and words.

Baseline setting as interpersonal resource in Nastaliq calligraphy Other interpersonal resources in Nastaliq include the baseline and the ways and principles used to erect it, all of which cause different tendencies and attitudes. One of the essential requirements in calligraphy is the baseline, which literally

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 231

Figure 5.83 Form of dot in Nastaliq diagramed with its trace movement

means a seat and the place of sitting. The term “having seat” in calligraphy, as Ghelichkhani (2008) mentions, means “being steady and uniform” (pp. 313–315). In a simple definition, the baseline in calligraphy is a horizontal straight line over which the letterforms are placed. In fact, the letterforms can sit on, above, or below the baseline. Although such definition is to some extent acceptable in teaching and performing individual letterforms, it is not an efficient definition with respect to row-scribing, cross-scribing, and other complex compositional formats or the different formats of scribing enacted based on different sizes of pen/dang. Thus, for a comprehensive definition of baseline, one must consider its close relationship with composition. In other words, the baseline setting and its principles are tied to the principles of composition so that both can be categorized as subsets of a large collection of dispositions29 in Nastaliq. In general, the baseline setting includes a set of complex principles and strict compliance with them makes the letterforms and rows look more beautiful and proportionate. Baseline based on its angle is divided into two main categories of horizontal, and vertical baseline. The first category as horizontal baseline itself includes five subsets of 1) axial baseline, 2) first baseline, 3) second baseline, 4) third baseline, and 5) bottom or downward baseline. Each of these has its own definition, and all are horizontally traced apart from one another and parallel to each other . (Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 314) Using different baselines in the same work causes different expressions; for instance, in Figure 5.85, the different calligraphic forms that are set in different baselines represent a sense of variation and bustle in the work.

232 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.84 Examples of Nastaliq calligraphic forms with and without using the dot, reproduced from the calligraphic works by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

In fact, setting calligraphic forms in various directions can convert the given text from serious to casual and non-serious or present an ironic attitude toward the calligraphic forms. The use of various baselines in different directions also creates various dimensions and, accordingly, a kind of flat texture, as well as a greater sense of motion in the work. In another example, one can see that the baseline and its different use create a depth of field or perspective through the calligraphic forms and rows, as opposed to flatness (Figures 5.86–5.89).

Figure 5.85 Using different baseline in the same work. Nastaliq pieces calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Figure 5.86 Using different baseline in a Nastaliq Siyah-Mashq, calligraphed by GholamHossein Amirkhani, retrieved from The Center Figure 5.87 A piece of Shekasteh Nastaliq, for the Promotion of Concalligraphed in the thirteenth temporary Calligraphy century AH by MohammadGhasem Najafi Isfahani, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

234 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.88 Using baselines in different directions in Shekasteh Nastaliq. Calligraphed by Abdolmajid Taleghani in 1179 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Textual metafunction in Nastaliq calligraphy The third kind of metafunction involved in language, as defined in Halliday’s (1994) systemic functional model, is textual metafunction, which is related to the organization of texts, the ways of ordering and placing theme and rheme, and their cohesion.30 31 In essence, textual metafunction refers to a function in language, and indeed any semiotic mode, that comprises many different resources to organize ideation (or experiential) and interpersonal (orientational) meaning into texts and to provide a kind of cohesion and structure in the given text. In other words, textual metafunction refers to the ways of arranging elements and resources related to the two other metafunctions (i.e., ideational and interpersonal metafunction). In a distinct mode such as language, image, or any other semiotic mode, ideational or experiential meanings, as well as interpersonal or

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 235

Figure 5.89 A piece of Nastaliq using different baselines. Calligraphed by Gholamreza Isfahani in 1342 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

orientational meanings, are organized into texts through textual resources, “sometimes called organizational meaning” (Jewitt, 2009, p. 24). In fact, textual resources in modes provide facilities to realize structure and cohesion in the text. In Nastaliq calligraphy, these facilities are provided through systems of overall composition, detailed composition, as well as framing and salience – as proposed in the compositional model of Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996); their three systems of visual composition include information value, salience, and framing. Among the resources through which textual meanings are realized in Nastaliq, the resources that textually function to maintain structure and cohesion with other resources and, accordingly, other meanings – such as ideational and interpersonal meanings – one can refer to the set of rules and principles in detailed composition, and especially overall composition, in Nastaliq. These principles correlate with the interrelated systems of visual composition defined in the schema suggested by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), including information value, salience, and framing. The principles, conventions, and resources of Nastaliq composition, as well as those which have been considered interpersonal resources in the previous section, overlap with textual resources in that they can be used to realize textual meanings as well. The resources, including the different facilities, principles, and conventions contained in composition to express different attitudes and realize different senses and meanings, provide cohesion, integration, and structure in Nastaliq. Salience As a result, in addition to the systems of composition examined in the section on interpersonal resources, two other substantial resources in Kress and Van Leeuwen’s (1996) schema apply. Salience and framing, which are interrelated systems of visual composition, are also considered subsets of textual resources

236 Holliday’s triple metafunctions that can demarcate calligraphic forms in a piece of calligraphy; through resources and affordances in salience and framing systems, calligraphic forms can be highlighted, or embossed, rather than being expressed as nonsignificant or banal. In Van Leeuwen’s (2006) words, the salience system “can foreground key elements of a text and background less important elements” (p. 143) or cause connection and disconnection in different parts of the text. According to the schema, visual composition comprises different degrees of salience to its elements and the participants of an integrated text or image. Regardless of where visual elements are placed, salience creates a hierarchy of importance among the elements. In this sense, some elements in a picture are more important and demand more attention than others. Salience is not a measurable object (like new–given or central–margin); instead, it depends on the complex interaction and relationships among all elements and factors in a picture. Thus, in a visual image, “the given may be more salient than the new, or the new more salient than the given, or both equally salient. And the same applies to ideal and real, and central and margin” (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996, p. 202). Although salience is not objectively measurable, some visual factors, principles, and conventions with specific affordance in Nastaliq create more salience in parts of the frame of the work. These include, for instance, different sizes of calligraphic forms in a piece of Nastaliq – through using different sizes of nib pen in the same work, foregrounding or downgrading calligraphic forms in different formats of writing such as Siyah-Mashq/black practice that create a kind of depth of field, as well as tonal contrasts (between black and white) and sometimes color contrasts through using different tones of ink. Sometimes different colors also create differences in the importance or newsworthiness of different elements, provide variety of value, sharpness, and focus, boldness or lack thereof (i.e., subtlety of calligraphic forms of the given written text), and finally inure a hierarchy of salience among the different parts of the text. For instance, in Figures 5.90 and 5.91, size or scale plays an important role to downplay or highlight the calligraphic forms; all elements and participants in the page are at the same level of importance in terms of value of placement, and no hierarchy is explicitly realized among them through informational value of placement because elements are mostly placed in the center of the page, so there is not much difference in terms of value of place. Thus, the substantial resource through which salience is explicitly realized is size of the nib pen; that is, the large and small sizes can relatively highlight or downplay a specific part of the text. Figure 5.92 also demonstrates how the differences in tonality of ink between performed calligraphic forms inure to boldness or subtlety of the given text. In this Nastaliq piece of work, the contrast of darkness – different tonalities of ink from saturated black to white – in letterforms and the contrast between empty spaces and full spaces in the page as a whole also make the meaning of salience tangible. In essence, the function of contrast of darkness and light created by the use of diverse tones of ink – whether

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 237

Figure 5.91 A Nastaliq piece using different sizes of pen, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy Figure 5.90 Using different sizes of pen in a Nastaliq piece, calligraphed by Mir-Ali Heravi (939 AH), retrieved from Chanting Letters of Imam Ali, calligraphed with Mir-Ali Heravi (939 AH) published in 2008

intentionally or naturally – creates different communicative events among calligraphic forms and imbues them with different levels of salience. Framing Another key system in visual composition is framing, in which different units of information are disconnected or connected. Framing can be considered a key resource of textual metafunction in Nastaliq. This system is presented by the existence or absence of junctures that connect or disconnect elements in an integrated text or image. In a visual composition – and indeed calligraphic work – different units are disconnected or separated from each other or connected and joined together by vectors, borders, lines, colors, and graphical elements that

238 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.92 Nastaliq using different tonalities of ink, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

lead the eye from one element to another and one side to another, beginning with the more important element – the element that first catches the viewer’s attention. Strong framing can also present a separate unit of information. As shown in Figure 5.93, different parts of the text are marked off by borders that separate them from each other. This separation is done through the lines around the main text and the lines that make the main frame, as well as the lines around different parts of the text, including central and marginal parts of the page. The framing expresses a high level of disconnection through demarcation lines and the use of high-contrast colors (tonality of black and white). Each element and each part of the text implies a sense of detachment from the other parts (elements) and the background. In another example (Figure 5.94), balloons and jagged and soft lines drawn around each section of the text function as separators and imply a sense of isolation and detachment and also present the text with a high level of contrast. In Figure 5.94, balloons and jagged lines around the rows are connected to each other so that the whole informational area (i.e., the spaces assigned to the text and around it) is presented as integrated and distinctly separated from the background of the work. Figure 5.95 shows the coordination between Nastaliq forms and pictorial images (here a miniature) that creates a composition appropriate to the given pictorial space. In this work, which is a piece from (Farhad and Shirin), the framing creates invisible vectors or invisible connections that lead the eyes from one element to another – in order of the importance designated for any given element, from right to left and top to bottom or vice versa. In another Persian miniature shown in Figure 5.96, the calligraphic text is framed into different sections based on the framing used in the

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 239

Figure

5.94 Calligraphed by Mir-Ali Heravi (939 AH), retrieved from Chanting letters of Imam Ali, calligraphed with Mir-Ali Heravi (939 AH) published in 2008

Figure 5.93 A page from Arbaein-e-Jami (Chehel Hadith) (817–898 AH/ 1414–1492), calligraphed by Sultan Ali Mashhadi

miniature, which resembles architecture. Such framing leads the eyes from right to left in accordance with the storyline that flows through the pictorial images and, thereafter, attracts attention to the bottom of the work. Such collaboration and coordination between Nastaliq and pictorial images in miniature causes the Nastaliq composition to dissolve in miniature composition. Creating high contrast through different tonalities of ink color can be also effective in creating a sense of separation and opposition. Darkness and brightness, saturation and the lack of saturation created through different calligraphic events can cause many opposite senses and different adverse qualities such as variation, fragmentation, exaggeration, boldness, distortion, or sharpness, as

240 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure

5.95 A piece from Vahshi Bafqi’s poetry collection (1263 AH), retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Figure 5.96 A Persian miniature retrieved from The Artistic Reference of Ligheh

opposed to unity, consistency, understatement, stasis, subtlety, and accuracy. However, in general, the main textual resources in Nastaliq are those that subordinate the system of composition, especially overall composition in Nastaliq calligraphy. In other words, the main and most significant textual resources of Nastaliq are derived from conventions, principles, and subsets of Nastaliq composition, which are under the interrelated systems of Nastaliq composition and also, to a great extent, comply with the three interrelated systems of visual composition. These resources function as tools to identify the elements and participants and prioritize them in terms of their value and newsworthiness, to capture the viewer’s attention by highlighting or foregrounding them as significant or unimportant, and by separating them from each other or from the background. The three types of resource in Nastaliq, thus, are inextricably tied to the principles, the set of conventions, and the enacted set of principles – whether used to perform calligraphic letterforms or composing and arranging them in

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 241 Visual form/ configure of letter Ways/principles of configuration of letters

Ideational Metafunction

Ideational Resources

Features of orientation and position Ways/principles of connectivity Scribing/Ketabat

Baseline characteristics Size

Micro scribing

Overall Composition

Nastaliq Mode

Composition

Double-row scribing Chalipa/cross scribing

Detailed composition

Inscription

Toqra

Siyah-Mashq

Muthanna/ Dyadic/Bigeminal

Interpersonal Metafunction

Interpersonal resources

Ornamental styles Non-letter characters Signs of declension, embellishment

style

Mosalsal/ Concatenated style Cabochoninlaying,Floriated

Punctuation, dot tracing Baseline setting Overall composition

Textual Metafunction

Textual resources

Detailed composition Interrelated systems of visual composition

Information value

Salience Framing

Figure 5.97 Classification of the three types of resources in Nastaliq calligraphy: ideational, interpersonal, and textual resources

coordination with other non-letter elements – and imply different qualities, senses, and meanings. All three types of resource (i.e., ideational, interpersonal, and textual) in Nastaliq are identified in Figure 5.97.

Summary After discussing the social and cultural background of calligraphy and defining and enumerating Nastaliq resources in the last chapter, here to consider

242 Holliday’s triple metafunctions and describe Nastaliq as a semiotic mode, I followed the way through which Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) demonstrate how image can be a distinct semiotic mode. In essence, relying on the trihedral model of Halliday (1978), I examined how the three groups of meaning or metafunction – ideational, interpersonal, textual – manifest in Nastaliq and fulfill the third requisite of mode in multimodal social semiotics. Each of the three metafunctions, ideational, interpersonal, and textual, has been generally discussed and then particularly examined in relation to the Nastaliq mode. Then the resources tied to each metafunction have been separately characterized and described as ideational, interpersonal, and textual resources that create ideational, interpersonal, and textual functions in Nastaliq calligraphy. The three types of resource that contribute to realizing the three types of metafunction have been characterized as having the following order: (a) Ideational meta-function {Ideational resources => (1) Visual form of letter/shape or figure of letter, (2) Ways/principles of configuration of letter, (3) Features of orientation and position in composition, (4) Ways/ principles of connectivity, and (5) Baseline’s characteristics. (b) Interpersonal meta-functions {Interpersonal resources => (1) Size, (2) Composition {a. Overall composition/framing (1. Scribing/Ketabat, 2. Micro-scribing, 3. Double-row scribing, 4. Chalipa/cross scribing, 5. Inscription/epigraph, 6. Siyah-Mashq/black practice), b. Detailed composition} (3) Decorative/ornamental styles in Nastaliq {a. Toqra, b. Muthanna or Dyadic/Bigeminal style, c. Muthalthal/Mosalsal, Serial writing, or Concatenated style, d. Cabochon-inlaying/Morasae, and Floriated} (4) Non-letter calligraphic characters (5) Signs of declension and embellishment (6) Punctuation and dot tracing (7) Baseline setting (c) Textual metafunction {Textual resources => (1) Systems of overall composition, (2) Detailed composition. The three interrelated systems of visual composition, including the three places of informational value as given and new, ideal and real, and center and margin, and the salience and framing proposed by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), have been applied in the compositional system of Nastaliq calligraphy, particularly in the sub-branches of overall composition/framing. Figure 5.98 illustrates how this chapter as the sequel of the last chapter approaches Nastaliq through multimodal social semiotics and demonstrates it as a distinctive mode of semiotics.

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 243

Multimodal Social Semiotics

Social Semiotics

Semiosis of Meaning -Making

Social/Cultural/Historic al Context

Sign

Multimodality

Meaning

Form

Perspectives in theorizing meaning

Semiosis of Meaningmaking

Peirce

Specific Mode

Three requisites of any semiotic mode

De saussure

Interposition of social/cultural issues

Actions (Technical, physiological)

Multimodality

Semiotic resources

Materials, Tools

Halliday's triple metafunctions

Principles of organization

Ideational metafunction

Interpersonal metafunction

Textual metafunction

Figure 5.98 A schematic recapitulation of the pathway – based on multimodal social semiotics – through which I approached Nastaliq calligraphy

Notes 1 The Material processes refer to what is “doing in the material world” and can often be recognized through “asking ‘What did x do?’” (Nørgaard, 2003, p. 29). 2 The Mental processes refer to the “processes of cognition, affection and perception.” In other words, they express mental reactions (Nørgaard, 2003, p. 31). 3 Behavioural processes, as Halliday states, are “the least distinct of all of the six process types because they have no clearly defined characteristics of their own; rather, they are partly like the material and partly like the mental” (Halliday, 1994, p. 139 in Nørgaard, 2003, p. 34). 4 The verbal processes are related to “all types of verbal action” that includes actual and symbolic processes of saying (Nørgaard, 2003, p. 33).

244 Holliday’s triple metafunctions 5 Existential processes refer to express “states of being in terms of existence,” for example, to express “that something is or happens” (Nørgaard, 2003, p. 35). 6 Relational processes express “being in terms of some kind of relation.” Also, these processes “encode meanings of being in terms of attribution and identification” and are identified with “verbs such as ‘be’, ‘seem’, ‘appear’, ‘become’, ‘sound’” (Nørgaard, 2003, p. 35). 7 According to Nørgaard (2003), the system of transitivity is “a system of processes and associated participants and circumstances. When examining Transitivity patterns, we thus examine how the world is represented, or construed, in terms of who is doing what to whom under what circumstances” (Nørgaard, 2003, p. 29). 8 According to Shia, he joined the advocates of Hussein Ibn Ali (the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, offered as the third Imam of Shia Muslims) in the battle of Karbala, at the day of Ashura in 61 AH. His name is commemorated as the myth of courage and martyrdom, and he is also known as a man skilled in swordsmanship. 9 Mohammad ibn Ali ibn Malik Dad, nicknamed Shams al Din, is the famous Persian mystic (582–645 AH) (Dehkhoda Dictionary Encyclopedia, 1958). 10 Jalal al Din Mohammad Balkhi, known as Rumi or Molavi, a Persian mystic and poet (604–672 AH) (Dehkhoda Dictionary Encyclopedia, 1958). 11 According to Dehkhoda and Moein Persian Encyclopedia, Simorgh is a famous fictional and imaginative chicken (Dehkhoda, 1958; Moein, 2002). 12 Phoenix (‫ )ﻗﻘﻨﻮﺱ‬in Persian mythology is a legendary chicken whose beak has many holes and makes strange songs. He lives a thousand years, and when he comes to death, he will gather a lot of firewood and sit on top of it with wings up so that the fire can burn and burn, and a new Phoenix comes from his ashes (Dehkhoda, 1958; Moein, 2002). 13 A book that describes the life and battle of the kings and their champions. The name of the greatest literary masterpiece of Iran from Ferdowsi Tusi (329–416 AH) (Dehkhoda, 1958). 14 The book of mystical poems by Farid al Din Attar Neyshabouri (540–618 AH), the famous Iranian poet and mystic in the sixth century and the beginning of the seventh century AH (Dehkhoda, 1958). 15 The Zoroastrian Religious Book (Dehkhoda, 1958; Moein, 2002). 16 Pahlavi is the common language of Persians for the Parthians and Sassanians (in Dehkhoda, 1958; Moein, 2002). 17 I used pitch to label it, as pitch in music; it refers to the quality of shapes in terms of thickness and thinness, and their modulation as a whole. In essence, each dang offers a specific pitch of shape. 18 The book entitled Ghadiriyeh treatise, calligraphed by Kalhor (1277 AH), expresses practices and virtues of the event of al-Ghadir and honor actions by Ali (the first Shia Imam/leader). In fact, this book with a compilation theme includes a set of specific religious practices and describes historical events of that time. 19 The given-new is one of the three interrelated systems adhered to visual composition suggested by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) upon which the right part of the visual image is usually dominated by salient visual elements that engage the viewer or, in other words, the right part is the side where the viewer is expected to understand a new message or perceive an unprecedented image (something that has not previously existed) (pp. 186–192). 20 Considering that the Middle Eastern writing system and particularly the Persian writing system is right to left, the given (left) and new (right) definition in the visual compositional system suggested by Kress and Van Leeuwen can be

Holliday’s triple metafunctions 245

21

22

23 24

25

reversed. This means that here the given information value is placed in the right side (margin) and the new as the main and substantial part of the text is located on the left side of the page. Note that attribution of given–new to the calligraphy work such as shown in Figure 5.12 cannot be used to relate the left and right sides to, for example, something the reader is assumed to understand or as a part of social/cultural norms (given) or something unknown or not yet agreed upon by the viewer (new), but here the given–new system to some extent can be related to these calligraphy works in terms of different values of information in different parts of the text, namely, distinguishing the salient part (the main text written larger, placed in the left side of the page) of the text from the adjunct and subsidiary part (e.g., here in the margin). It is also worth mentioning that sometimes, especially in double pages of such calligraphy books, the margin in the right page (of a double page) is placed in right side, and in the left page (of a double page) it is placed in the left side (Figure 5.11). In this case, the interrelated system of given and new cannot be applied because given implies something the viewer already knows, and the new part is considered new information for the viewer, but here the given–new can only be used to distinguish the main salient part of the text as new (usually placed apart from the margin) and the given (usually placed in the margins) as subsidiary or inferior in terms of value and importance of information. Savad and Bayaz, or black and white, refer to a quality in calligraphy in general and Nastaliq calligraphy in particular that describes the balance between black and white (stuffed and empty spaces created in a page as caused by the interrelation between elements in the page) and correlation between positive (black) and negative (white) spaces in the work. The most common forms of classical Persian poetry are classified based on the ways of making up the rhymes and verses. In classical Persian poetry, poetry is composed of a number of equiponderant/symmetric lines (hemistich, verse), subordinates of a certain system that imposes a specific rhyme, and rhythm toward the lines. Therefore, each form or style of poem is determined by its system of rhyming. From the infinite forms that can be used to rhyme hemistichs and verses, 10 to 12 forms of poem have emerged. The simplest form of Persian poetry is a single verse which comprises only two lines (two hemistichs which are tied together and, of course, have the same rhyme). Although the verse or couplet has not been used much as an independent form in Persian poetry, it is itself used as the unit of other large forms of Persian poetry. In general, the simple configuration and the appearance of classical Persian poetry is as follows: the number of rows of the same size that is called verse/Beyt which are interconnected in terms of their content, rhyme, and rhythm. Each verse/Beyt comprises two hemistichs (small lines) which are connected to each other and used in conjunction with other hemistichs in other verses. A simple definition of the overall figure and a superficial look at the visual form of classical Persian poetry is illustrated in Figure 5.99. Farhad and Shirin is the name of a romance masnavi (poetry) collection by Vahshi Bafqi, a poet in the Safavid era (the tenth to eleventh century AH), Dehkhoda (1958). The composition of center and margin in its typical manifestation is also seen in Persian miniatures, Byzantine art, Buddhist paintings, and children’s drawings. See Figure 5.100, a Buddhist painting from the fourteenth century, in which the central element is surrounded by a circle of subordinate elements. Examples of the right-left system of writing are Arabic and Hebrew writings, seen in Figures 5.101 and 5.102; two pages of the Talmud and Manzume Shatebi, in Hebrew and Arabic, follow a center-margin structure, though there is no

246 Holliday’s triple metafunctions

Figure 5.99 A schematic of classical Persian poetry

Figure 5.100 Buddhist Painting, Fourteenth Century, Tibet, retrieved from Metropolitan Museum of Art

obvious circular structure in them. In these types of writing, one sees how a core text is presented as the central information and its dependent elements as margins. 26 Here, this means the six main scripts – known as the sextet items, or principles – in Islamic calligraphy, namely, Muhaqqaq, Reyhan, Thuluth, Naskh, Reqa, and Tawqi. The invention and introduction of these types of calligraphy is attributed to Ibn Muqla Beyzavi Shirazi (272–328 AH).

Figure 5.101 A page from Talmud in Hebrew, retrieved from Tehran Jewish Committee (Iran)

Figure 5.102 A page from Manzoome Shatebi, written by Mohammad-Ghqsem Shatebi in Arabic, calligraphed in Naskh by Mahmud-al Nasir Tusi in 772 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

248 Holliday’s triple metafunctions 27 The six scripts -‫( ﺍﻗﻼﻡ ﺳﺘﻪ‬al aqlam al Sitta) – or the six main types of calligraphy, also known as Doctrine-lines or Doctrine-types in Islamic calligraphy -‫ﺧﻄﻮﻁ ﺍﺻﻮﻝ‬-, and as “seven hands” (in Ghelichkhani, 2008), include Naskh, Thuluth, Muhaqqaq, Rayhan, Tawqi, and Reqa, which have been codified and enacted by Ibn Muqla Shirazi (886–940 AH). 28 Diwani is the same as the Taliq calligraphy that has been developed and manipulated by Ottoman secretaries and converted to a specific script or style of calligraphy, specifically for use in affairs related to a Diwan/government official, minister, or ruler. According to Ghelichkhani (2008), although Taliq is a combination of some styles of calligraphy or a mix of some types of calligraphy that display a kind of elegance and subtlety in their general movements, this delicacy and adroitness in Diwani scripts has been turned into a kind of severity and crassitude so that it cannot be classified as a distinct type of calligraphy (p. 192). 29 Hosne vaze/ ‫ ﺣﺲ ﻭﺿﻊ‬or wellness of position/posture refers to a set of principles in calligraphy that relates to arranging and composing rows, the juxtaposition and moderation of words, as well as baseline setting, and extensive forms (Ghelichkhani, 2008, p. 134). 30 In Halliday’s words, theme is considered “the starting-point for the message; it is ground from which the clause is taking off” (1994, p. 38) while the rest of the clause is considered to be rheme. In other words, after separating the theme or the starting-point, what remains is the rheme. According to Halliday, theme is often tied to given information, that is, the part of the message which is expected to be already known by audiences, whereas rheme is connected to the new, which correlates to the new information in the text. Given this, one can say that not all rhemes can be new for audiences. Fries (1994, cited in Nørgaard, 2003) resolves this problem by using the term “newsworthy” rather than “new” (58). 31 As Fries (1994, cited in Nørgaard, 2003) demonstrates, in the following sentences, “‘the book’ is not new information, but newsworthy in the sense that Betty wants the book rather than the newspaper.” Alice: “I have a book and a newspaper. Which one do you want?” Betty: “Could you give me the book?” (Fries, 1994, p. 230, cited in Nørgaard, 2003, p. 58).

6

Toward a distinct feature analysis

In the last two chapters – which were based on Halliday’s (1978) social semiotics theory of communication and the theory of systemic metafunctions, with the three steps of semiotics, multimodality, and specific mode suggested by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) – I demonstrate Nastaliq as a distinct mode of semiotics and identify then classify its semiotic resources. In this chapter, I characterize the distinctive features of these semiotic resources of Nastaliq calligraphy to look for their meaning potentials. I specify characteristics of minimal units of Nastaliq and identify features of semiotic resources to outline their potentials in meaning-making. Moreover, this chapter also deals with the principles of a medium (i.e., connotation and metaphor) and the ways through which these principles can be applied in Nastaliq resources.

Nastaliq Calligraphy as a medium? Before proceeding to identify distinctive characteristics of Nastaliq as a semiotic mode, it is necessary to illuminate the concept of medium and its correspondence and distinction with mode and semiotic resources and examine the extent of and the conditions under which semiotic resources in Nastaliq function as a medium. According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2001, 2002), “semiotic resources can be organized as a medium or as a mode” (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 145). Also, “if a semiotics resource is organized as a mode, it has both a grammar and a ‘lexis’. If it is organized as medium, it has only lexis” (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 145). Based on this principle, if one can define both grammar and lexis for a semiotic resource, then one can specify it as a mode. There are two ways or two levels for a semiotic resource in its organization: the level of the medium and the level of the mode. In other words, if a semiotic resource has a set of rules and principles for its construction, it has potential to be organized as a mode; otherwise, it is considered a medium. Inasmuch as the semiotic resources of Nastaliq – as analyzed in the previous chapters – have both grammar and lexis, Nastaliq calligraphy is seen as a mode rather than a medium. In this case, Nastaliq calligraphy is not conceived of as a collection of distinct and individual visual elements or letterforms, each

250 Toward a distinct feature analysis having its own value; rather – like a language system – it is constructed using a combinatory system with different, yet finite distinct visual forms/ elements from which an infinite variety of forms and compositions are produced. In this sense, the Nastaliq semiotic resource is not limited to its defined existence with a coherent value but instead has systematic principles or grammar by which different semiotic resources are mixed together to create infinite compositional forms. Semiotic resources in Nastaliq calligraphy are subordinated by a systematic grammar, a set of principles that itself is included as a semiotic resource through which varied, plentiful, and complex compounds or compositions are made. These resources are not confined to distinct abstract letterforms and their individual concrete value, but they are a collection of principles – whether as traditional or new, applicable in implementation or tool and substance preparation – combined to create infinite complex compositions and thereby infinite meaning potentials. However, although Nastaliq is considered a mode with defined principles and systematic grammar through which semiotic resources are organized, whether it can be seen as a medium is in doubt. In essence, the question is whether the same semiotic resource can be organized at the levels of both medium and mode in different conditions. In other words, can Nastaliq fulfill the preconditions of medium as it fulfills the prerequisites to be considered a mode? According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2002), a semiotic resource can be organized as a medium through “one of two principles of connotation or experimental metaphor” (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2002; Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 146). In other words, “when a semiotic resource is organized as a medium, meaning comes about in a relatively ad hoc, unsystematic way, through one of the two principles, connotation or experiential metaphor” (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 146). A semiotic resource in Nastaliq (e.g., the punctuation or compositional styles as two distinct semiotic resources) must carry out either connotation or metaphor. Therefore, to approach an appropriate reply to the question, one must examine the two principles of connotation and metaphor. Connotation Kress and Van Leeuwen (2001, 2002) use connotation in a specific sense to refer to when signs are imported from one context (a specific group of people, culture, era) to another. In other words, connotation is realized when a semiotic resource – which is adhered to or derived from a specific context – implies a specific sense or concept associated with another context and, thus, recalls a specific group of people or culture or a specific historical time. Although Nastaliq semiotic resources are classified and structured in a systematic, extensive, and non-ad hoc way and, in addition to lexis, they undertake a set of systematic principles, each resource separately can be considered a medium that can potentially connote a meaning or metaphorically

Toward a distinct feature analysis 251 imply a kind of experience. This is well explained through means of an example; each punctuation and composition specified as a distinct and separate semiotic resource of Nastaliq – as categorized in the previous chapters can be constructed as a medium in which meaning is created through relative and ad hoc principles of connotation or experiential metaphor. As a distinct semiotic resource in Nastaliq, punctuation functions as a medium that adheres specific ideas and values that are associated with other types of calligraphy (e.g., Naskh, Thuluth, or Arabic scripts). In Figure 6.1, punctuation/declension element as a semiotic resource is used to import one of the specific apparent characteristics of Arabic scripts to another context, namely, the Persian calligraphy of Nastaliq.

Figure 6.1 A piece of Quran written in Nastaliq calligraphy; note the punctuation elements. Regardless of the content of the text written, the specific punctuation used in Arabic scripts is imported into Persian Nastaliq calligraphic forms. If we drop all declension elements/punctuation which characterize Arabic scripts, we would to a great extent wipe out the explicit distinctive characteristic of Arabic script for the written text, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

252 Toward a distinct feature analysis Such importation through a medium carries a connotation through which the ideas of Arabic manuscripts or religious writings (such as Quran verses, Hadiths, or supplication texts) are imported into Nastaliq calligraphic forms and connote ideas and meanings that are associated with Arabic scripts. As discussed in the previous chapters, framing as a subset of overall composition is another instance of a distinct semiotic resource in Nastaliq. A specific type of framing can adhere specific features of another context or borrow them for the domain of Nastaliq calligraphy. In other words, different kinds of framing have potential to separately function as a medium that conveys distinctive characteristics from a given particular context into another context and thereby associates different contexts with each other. Thus, it can suggest a specific group, culture, or period of time. Figure 6.2 shows a particular and irregular framing that suggests a sense of ancient Persian scripts and connotes a specific period of time in which old genealogy or pedigree texts were common (Figure 6.3); thus, it functions as a medium that associates two historical and cultural contexts with each other (see also Figure 6.4). Figures 6.5 and 6.6 employ specific types of linage (i.e., Ketabat and double-row writing in Nastaliq calligraphy) that have potential to enter special characteristics of two traditional forms of Persian literature namely, Nasr and Nazm (as the two distinct formats in Persian literature and poetry) into Nastaliq calligraphy. Accordingly, they can cause a synthesis between the two contexts of literature or poetry and calligraphy. Hence, the two contexts of literature and calligraphy (in Figure 6.5) and poetry and calligraphy in

Figure 6.2 A piece of Nastaliq calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani; note the composition and the way of framing that recalls the framing and compositional style used in old genealogy and pedigree texts, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

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Figure 6.3 A genealogy piece calligraphed in Reqa calligraphy in accordance with the commandment of Shah Suleiman Safavi (in the eleventh century AH), retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution. With schematic of its specific framing

(Figure 6.6) are associated through particular semiotic resources of linage and framing which function as a medium, and subsequently the two pieces of calligraphy connote visual-physical properties, values, and features that are associated with ancient literature and traditional Persian poetry. Experiential metaphor As mentioned earlier, another principle through which a semiotic resource can be organized as a medium is experiential metaphor, which refers to the idea of meaning potential derived from Lakoff and Johnson (1980). In this idea, a material signifier finds meaning through “what we do when we articulate it, and from our ability to extend our physical experience metaphorically, to turn action into knowledge” (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, in Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 146). For instance, a distinctive style of writing in

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Figure 6.4 A piece of Nastaliq calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani; note the way of framing that connotes the compositional style used in old genealogy and pedigree texts, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Nastaliq is Siyah-Mashq/black practice, which can be used as a medium in which meaning comes through the principle of experiential metaphor. The main characteristics of Siyah-Mashq, which is indeed a distinct semiotic resource in Nastaliq, its diversity, and unique bustle, as well as its individual freedom and unconventionality, let the calligraphic forms be distributed freely regardless of any particular convention or barrier and, therefore, refute being legible and cause a kind of illegibility. Figure 6.7 and Figure 6.8 show how to apply Siyah-Mashq characteristics in creating specific meanings. The lack of legibility and convention in the distribution of weight in the page, as well as the lack of balance and stability resulting from a free and asymmetric dissemination of calligraphic forms in the whole frame of the page, has potential to metaphorically signify objection to and rebellion against the norms, values, and conventions existing in typical writing. From another perspective, one finds potential in Figure 6.8 that signifies and recalls a sense of confinement or lockout. In essence, the irregular dispersion of calligraphic forms, which creates dark and light areas with differences in density, implies a kind of contradiction, incoherence, and inconsistency and can potentially recall intense shades and lights. This may refer to an experience people have in backlit images of nature as a result of light hitting

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Figure 6.5 A piece of Persian literature (in format of Nasr) calligraphed in Nastaliq by Mohammadreza Kalhor (thirteenth century AH), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

the bars (of the prison) or a collision of extreme brightness and darkness. In addition, the image has potential to metaphorically signify a tendency toward rebellion against norms and restrictions and, at the same time, imply a deterrent and repression against that tendency, an experience from inconsistent and imbalanced circumstance, or a potential protest that tends to cause an outburst. Overall, one point that must be noted is that the meaning and sense which are implied through principles of connotation or experiential metaphor – as ad hoc and unsystematic ways – are not fixed but rather changeable and associative and vary from instance to instance (Van Leeuwen, 2005b, p. 117). As a result, considering that Nastaliq comprises multiple and diverse semiotic resources and bears systematic principles and conventions through which the resources are constructed, it cannot be examined in an unsystematic and ad hoc way. In this meaning, although from an outwardlooking perspective, Nastaliq calligraphy as a whole can be considered an

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Figure 6.6 A piece of Persian Poetry (in format of Nazm), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

intervening vehicle/tool through which signs can be imported between different contexts and physical or sensory experiences can be conveyed, it is based on or formed by socially and culturally shared resources and is adhered to a specific set of principles. In other words, in addition to different modal resources, which each can be fractured into small resources, Nastaliq also has grammatical resources through which modal resources are systematically constructed. That is, it has syntactic principles based on which the lexis is constructed. Therefore, according to analysis and results, one can fairly say that Nastaliq calligraphy is a distinct mode of semiotics rather than a medium because it consists of a lexis or set of “distinct, individual calligraphic forms with distinct provenances” (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 145). In essence, each of the enumerated semiotic resources in Nastaliq – such as the collection of calligraphic characters, composition, framing, and different styles of decoration/embellishment – can be individually identified as a medium or a substance of organized individual resources that can realize meaning through one of the two ad hoc and unsystematic ways of connotation or experiential metaphor. However, the totality of Nastaliq as an integration of various resources all associated together cannot be considered a medium; regardless of social and cultural factors in the specific context, one can regard it as multi-medium that comprises various distinct mediums, each with its own subsets and separate provenance.

Figure 6.7 Using Siyah-Mashq/black practice to create poster entitled the body, created by Reza Abedini (Abedini, 2015)

Figure 6.8 Two pieces of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq, calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD), from his collection entitled The Works of the Days of Prison, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

258 Toward a distinct feature analysis In short, from a sophisticated perspective, Nastaliq calligraphy is considered a semiotic mode consisting of different semiotic resources, with each resource able to separately function metaphorically or connotatively in realizing meaning. Nastaliq can also be considered a semiotic mode with various semiotic resources, each of which can be considered a medium in which interactive or communicative events are shaped.

Distinctive characteristics in Nastaliq semiotic mode In phonology, Jakobson and Halle (1956, in Van Leeuwen, 2006) describe phonemes differently from the way in which phonemes are generally considered as minimal units of speech; they regard phonemes as packs – or in the words of Van Leeuwen (2006) bundles – of distinctive characteristics that each has its own potential in meaning-making. This description of phonemes is later used by Van Leeuwen (1999) and Kress and Van Leeuwen (2002) in analyzing units and components of sound and color as two distinct semiotic modes. In essence, they apply Jakobson and Halle’s theory of phoneme (i.e., a compound/pack of “distinctive features”) to challenge sound and color and express that each distinctive feature in the package/bundle of phonemes has its own potential in meaning-making. In other words, each can potentially connote something or be a metaphor of a specific experience. In this sense, a phoneme in speech, and its equivalent in color and sound as distinctive modes, is a bundle of meaning potentials. Here, I attempt to identify and characterize these distinctive features from semiotic resources of Nastaliq calligraphy to look for their meaning potentials. In essence, in this chapter, the classified semiotic resources – which can be considered mediums with different potential to signify meaning through either connotation or experiential metaphor – are explored to specify and analyze their distinctive characteristics. I explore semiotic resources to identify units or callies which are placed as packages, then I unfold these packages for their content, namely, different features with various semiotic potentials. Proceeding in this way, I consider the 12 basic principles in the tradition of Nastaliq, and the semiotic resources classified in the previous chapter, based on the graphic conventions of graphetics and the three factors of affordance, as well as the primary techniques and general qualities used in visual communication (e.g. in Dondis, 1973; Kandinsky, 1947[1929]) (see Figure 6.9 for elucidation of how the previous and present chapters are tied to each other). Note that this list of characteristics is neither exhaustive nor definitive. In essence, it is not a lexicon through which the meanings of different forms of calligraphy are realized in a pure and exclusive way, but rather an openended inventory as a starting place to specify semiotic bundles of Nastaliq and their potentials in meaning-making; it also works to semiotize the visual form of Nastaliq calligraphy and separate it from its lexical and linguistic meanings. Semiotizing physical/material and visual forms, it does not authorize a conclusive and ultimate lexicon for them.

Toward a distinct feature analysis 259

Nastaliq calligraphy as a distinct semiotic mode

consists of different semiotic resources

Each semiotic resource comprises callies/units or modules that each consists different features and characteristics with semiotic potentials

Each callie/unit/module is a package of characteristics with potentials in meaningmaking

Each semiotic resource can also be considered a medium with different potentials to signify meanings through connotation or experiential metaphor

Figure 6.9 The relation and association of the different concepts of the chapters

Equivalency/equilibrium vs. instability There is a contrast between the concepts of equivalency and the lack thereof, namely, instability; equilibrium causes a kind of harmony while instability entails a contrast. These features can be considered in Nastaliq calligraphy from the five perspectives of individual calligraphic forms, syntactic compositional styles, framing, scale, and density of ink or various color tones. Choosing different calligraphic forms (including individual and compound letterforms, plus non-letter calligraphic forms) and the ways of juxtaposing them can affect equilibrium and instability in different ways. Choosing specific calligraphic forms – whether individual, compound, or non-letter – and the kind of spaces and intervals between them and to the baseline can be effective in creating balance/stability or imbalance/instability in a calligraphy work. Note that the two characteristics in each pair discussed here are not absolutely and accurately measurable, and one cannot say that they are absolute opposites. In essence, they are in a comparative relationship rather than a decisive or binary relation; thus, one cannot definitively label a work as either balanced or imbalanced. Each feature finds meaning in comparison and in connection to its counterpart and each can gradually increase or decrease as compared to its counterpart. That is, its extent can be measured only in comparison to its associated feature. However, in Nastaliq, equilibrium can be achieved through various semiotic resources; for instance, principles such as baseline, composition, and proportion or ratio can contribute to maintain a kind of equilibrium in a given work. In fact, among the semiotic resources in Nastaliq, the principles affiliated with composition and proportion of forms play a greater role in creating equivalency or balance or the lack thereof. In addition, through their face/ appearance, specific calligraphic forms can provide a sense of equilibrium or

260 Toward a distinct feature analysis instability. For instance, the letterforms of ‫ا‬/‫[ آ‬a] and ‫[ د‬d] differ in the extent to which each maintains characteristics of balance/equilibrium in the given work (see Figure 6.10). Because of its vertical form and tangential ends siting on the baseline, the letterform ‫ا‬/‫ آ‬approaches stability; in other words, the figure of ‫ا‬/‫ آ‬is more stable than the figure of ‫د‬, which has a specific condition toward the baseline and can even be placed over other forms. See Figures 6.11 and 6.12, which show two compound forms; one achieves balance and equilibrium, and the other instability. Another resource that may cause or be

Figure 6.10 Individual forms of letters ‫ﺍ‬/‫[ ﺁ‬a] and ‫[ ﺩ‬d]. Compare the two letterforms in terms of the extent of their stability or equivalency and balance toward the baseline

Figure 6.11 The compound forms of two letters that achieve a great level of balance in comparison to the compound letter forms in Figure 6.12

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Figure 6.12 The compound forms of letters that achieve a low level of balance in comparison to the compound letter forms in Figure 6.11

effective in providing balance and stability is the way of using the dot or oneword punctuation. Punctuation – the way the dot is used in a work including its placement and its volume – can play a significant role in creating balance or the lack thereof (Figure 6.13, Figure 6.14). The two distinct opposite characteristics of stability and instability can manifest in various styles of overall composition (i.e., the ways of juxtaposing words in relation to each other and the baseline and the ways of laying out the rows in relation to each other) and framing. For example, in the fifth category of Siyah-Mashq in which there is a regular arrangement between forms and an ordered repetition, there is generally more stability and equilibrium, while the fourth category of Siyah-Mashq – with a chaotic and amorphous composition in which the forms are composed in a free way and no specific order or clarity is apparent – is used as a ground to manifest the feature of instability or imbalance (Figures 6.15 and 6.16). Among the different types of alignment of row-lines, double-row and single-row compositions are considered to be the most stable and balanced

Figure 6.13 The same compound letterforms with different kinds of punctuation, retrieved from Pakrad (2014, p. 40)

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Figure 6.14 Two rows written in the same words with different kinds of punctuation, retrieved from Pakrad (2014, p. 35)

Figure 6.15 Balance and equilibrium achieved in overall composition in a piece of Siyah-Mashq, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

compositional forms. The calligraphy works created in these styles of composition and alignment show differences in the amount of stability or instability and equilibrium or inconsistency; this means that, in principle, all these features are relative and make sense only in connection and compared to their

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Figure 6.16 Instability in overall composition of a piece of Siyah-Mashq created by Mohammad-Reza Kalhor, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

opposite equivalents. Therefore, they are not measurable in an absolute and accurate way. See Figure 6.17 (a double-row composition) and compare it with Figure 6.16 (Siyah-Mashq); then compare it with the example in Figure 6.18, which is also written in the same style of writing (both are aligned in the double-row format). Figure 6.17 is more stable and balanced than the example of Siyah-Mashq (Figure 6.16), but in comparison to Figure 6.18, it

Figure 6.17 A double-row composition, retrieved from Pakrad (2014, p. 55)

264 Toward a distinct feature analysis suggests relative instability through the choice of different kinds of letterforms, the intervals and spacing between them, the punctuation, and the placement of letterforms toward the baseline. Therefore, compared to Figure 6.18, the extent of stability and balance in this figure is reduced. In other words, while it is more harmonic than the example of Siyah-Mashq, it creates a contrast in comparison to the example shown in Figure 6.18. Each distinctive characteristic represents a pack of different semiotic potentials. For instance, when equilibrium and instability – as two distinctive and opposite characteristics – are opened, each will reveal a plate of various and specific facilities, properties, and specific conventions and principles, all based on Nastaliq calligraphy, that are used for visual expression of the given feature, namely, the meaning potentials of each given feature (e.g., equilibrium and instability and their potential meanings). These meanings can be ideational, interpersonal, or textual or even created by using principles of connotation or experiential metaphor. The meanings and the collection of facilities, principles, and conventions associated with and encapsulated in a specific given feature can overlap facilities and other contents of another feature. In other words, the same facilities and conventions can be used in different distinctive features and, sometimes, the same meaning potentials can be realized from different distinctive features. The balance or equilibrium in visual communication is considered to be the visual expression of a condition in which the same level of weight is equally divided between two or more spaces or objects so that all the spaces or objects are at the same level in terms of equipoise and harmony. In

Figure 6.18 A double-row composition, calligraphed by Karamali Shirazi, retrieved from A Selection of Daftar-e Danayi (The Lyrical Poems of Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh)

Toward a distinct feature analysis 265 contrast, instability suggests a condition in which different weights in the same place/space create conflicts and contrast; in essence, instability explains an unequal situation in weight, namely, the absence of equilibrium. Greater balance in a work causes higher harmony and can realize a sense of stillness, tranquility, solidification, discipline, regularity, strength, and stability; greater instability conveys a deficiency or absence of these senses. Each of these senses or meanings can be related to ideational or interpersonal meanings/ senses; this means that they can ideationally express a value or specific quality in a given visual expression or interpersonally signify a specific attitude or mood toward what is being visually represented. Equilibrium and its absence (i.e., instability) in Nastaliq calligraphy mostly manifests in syntaxes in that they are most often exposed through principles and conventions of combining and juxtaposing calligraphic forms, as well as framing and layout of the rows. Therefore, they can be considered syntactic characteristics in Nastaliq calligraphy. Although these distinctive features are not accurately measurable and are all relative, visual interpretation offers structural factors and techniques through which one can calculate the extent of equilibrium (e.g., a visual vertical axis with a secondary horizontal axis that is called the “felt axis” through which one can calculate the presence of balance or its extent in a visual work). However, an important point here is that these factors and referents are caused from humans’ unconscious, inherent, and intuitive understanding of balance. Because equilibrium, as Dondis (1973, p. 23) states, is the firmest of humans’ visual reference, humans can unconsciously perceive a sense of balance or its absence and automatically measure its extent faster and more accurately than with any other technique or method of measurement used in visual interpretation. Symmetry vs. asymmetry Symmetry and asymmetry can be realized in visual statements of Nastaliq calligraphy through various styles of composition and punctuation, as well as through specific decorating/ornamental styles, such as Muthanna or dyadic/bigeminal style. Figure 6.19 shows axial balance in a way that the same module of calligraphic forms is exactly replicated on both sides of a central axis; this represents a rational and static integrated whole. Symmetry, as shown in Figure 6.19, created in Muthanna/dyadic style, presents a kind of harmony and compatibility, as well as synchrony and simplicity toward the calligraphic forms. In contrast, the counterpart of symmetry, asymmetry, can be achieved through different ways of composition (whether detailed or total composition), variation in forms and their placement, and distribution of various weights in a work. Like most of the characteristics to be discussed here, symmetry and asymmetry are not absolutely binary but rather a gradual contrast.

266 Toward a distinct feature analysis

Figure 6.19 Symmetry in a calligraphic piece of Muthanna, calligraphed by Mustafa Halim/Turkey, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Symmetry and asymmetry can also be achieved through individual forms of calligraphy as well as compound and extensive forms. Figures 6.20 and 6.21 show two gradual contrasts of symmetry and asymmetry; the two pieces of Nastaliq have been written using the same letters and words, but in two different forms of letters, and structured in different ways toward the baseline. Although both achieve a kind of balance, their statement of equilibrium differs; one states equilibrium/balance in a symmetrical way through using a central axis and replicating forms in two sides, the other by using various calligraphic forms and counterpoising weights in different sides instead of two equivalent sides. Although Figure 6.21 shows an asymmetrical statement, it achieves equilibrium, though in an asymmetrical way. Symmetry can increase the sense of equilibrium, equivalency, and uniformity. However, sometimes it can cause a kind of boredom and ideationally suggest stagnation, resistance, and security. Symmetry can enhance uniformity and similarity, or order and arrangement, instead of variety and diversity and interpersonally suggests attitudes such as centrality, conformity, calmness, and regularity. In essence, symmetry as a feature presents the given text as steady, monotonous, and predictable. It proposes a dialect that expresses toleration, simplicity, and predictability rather than dynamism, ambivalence, and complexity.

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Figure 6.20 An example of symmetry in a double-row composition

Figure 6.21 An example of asymmetry feature in double-row composition

In contrast, asymmetry is a lack of the symmetry achieved through diversity in using calligraphic forms and their placement on the row-line and for counterweights in various sides of the work. Asymmetry does not necessarily indicate a lack of equilibrium, but rather an imperfect balance (or as Dondis (1973) says, “ill-balanced”) that suggests a second-rate balance. Compared to symmetry, asymmetry can be used to express postures such as dynamism,

268 Toward a distinct feature analysis activity, and vitality and attitudes or sentiments such as excitement, motivation, daring, and bravery. Regularity vs. irregularity Regularity emphasizes uniformity and accretion of calligraphic forms, the formation and expression of a discipline based on the set of principles and methods enacted in calligraphy. Regularity, in essence, is most available in traditional styles of Nastaliq calligraphy, the old calligraphy pieces (e.g., religious or historical books, letters, newspapers, or legislation) that conform to the 12 sets of principles of Nastaliq to ensure clarity and legibility of letterforms. In contrast, irregularity advocates an atypical, unusual, and random distribution of visual elements and expresses an uncontemplated and unpredictable structure rather than a clear and readable plan. Regularity and irregularity can manifest in different types of composition and scale of pen. Sometimes, deliberate irregularities can be also exposed in letterforms through extending/lengthening the letterforms or the intentional use of a large number of extensive letterforms in a row in a non-conventional, unusual, or unexpected way. Figures 6.22 and 6.23 show irregularity through infringement of the traditional conventions of juxtaposition in Nastaliq. In Figures 6.22 and 6.23, differing sizes of pen create intense discord between elements and, hence, metaphorically represent temerity and, to some extent, impetuosity, obtuseness, and boldness. Many letterforms in the corpus analyzed in Chapter 2 have been combined regardless of conventional rules of juxtaposition and represent irregularity through infringement of conventions (Figure 6.24). In addition, irregularity can appear in new, innovative, and unique total compositions and framings, mostly in Siyah-Mashq and

Figure 6.22 Irregularity appears in a piece of Nastaliq, retrieved from Pakrad (2014, p. 57)

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Figure 6.23 Piece of Siyah-Mashq/black practice presenting a kind of irregularity in Nastaliq. Calligraphed by Hassan Ahangaran, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Figure 6.24 Two compound letterforms combined regardless of conventional rules of juxtaposition in Nastaliq

inscriptions (e.g., those that do not fit any of the categories specified) (Figure 6.16). In contrast, regularity appears in Figure 6.25; the elements are prone toward uniformity and have metaphoric potentials that express attitudes such as solidarity, stability, lawfulness, and discipline. Regularity can be seen in detailed composition – the conventions used to juxtapose letterforms, whether individual or compound forms. Unification vs. fragmentation The feature of unification and fragmentation to some extent overlaps characteristics like simplicity and complexity and regularity and irregularity; as

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Figure 6.25 Piece of Chalipa/cross scribing based on regular principles of juxtaposition and composition in Nastaliq, retrieved from Pakrad (2014, p. 65)

mentioned earlier, none of the characteristics discussed here can be absolutely separate but their relation is comparative. Unification presents a special balance through juxtaposing various calligraphic forms into an integrated whole. Unification is achieved when different modules or calligraphic forms – whether as individual or compound forms or non-letter elements – completely integrate as one whole so that the final outcome is considered to be an individual form. As opposed to unification, fragmentation can be achieved through the breakdown and segregation of visual calligraphic forms into single and detached segments that, although related to each other, maintain their own individual feature and function. Unification can be manifested in both detailed composition (i.e., set of conventions to juxtapose individual and compounded forms) and overall composition (i.e., collection of principles to compose rows in a page and framing). Unification can be also considered in an individual form in that a single calligraphic letterform as an interconnected and integrated unit can be performed through several hand movements and remediation of the pen. In essence, diverse movements and actions incorporate to provide integrity in a unified visual calligraphic form. Figure 6.26 shows various movements and pen remediations that are highlighted and considered as separate units that

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Figure 6.26 Extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b]. Note various fragments/movements created during performance

contribute to make a total unification. In another example (Figure 6.27), diverse single forms or individual letters are integrated into one compound form or word that expresses a sense of unification and a proper balance. However, unification is applied more frequently in overall composition and framing and its different styles. For instance, in Figure 6.27, various elements dovetail into a coherent and single form having specific metaphoric potentials: solidarity and integration, potency and power, balance and harmony. Unification can also be considered in terms of different intensity or density of ink. Figure 6.26 shows diverse tones of black and white during the run of pen/hand over paper. Different tones of darkness and lightness in various segments – created through changing the density of ink during hand movement – each recall a single range of time in an overall interval, but merge

Figure 6.27 Piece of Nastaliq with diverse individual and compound forms making an integrated whole, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

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Figure 6.28 Piece of Shekasteh-Nastaliq by Mohammad-Shafi Heravi, in 1192 retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

AH,

into a complete form. In other words, juxtaposition of various tones of black and white creates a totality that is visually considered to be a single unit. Fragmentation in Nastaliq calligraphy is mostly seen in different styles of composition. In Figure 6.28 (a Siyah-Mashq in which different and detached segments are created through non-letter/decorative elements such as distinct clouds, and the use of different scales of pen in one work), although the calligraphic forms and elements are all written in Shekasteh Nastaliq, different scales cause a kind of fragmentation so that while the segments relate, they retain their own individual character. Also, fragmentation and unification overlap other characteristics in terms of senses and metaphoric potentials. In this meaning, feature unity overlaps senses and the expression of features such as balance and equilibrium, or simplicity, can occur synchronically in the same work. For instance, fragmentation and irregularity can occur in the same work. In other words, fragmentation may lead to irregularity. Therefore, in connection to the features discussed here, the study examines a kind of transposition and transformation. Another point here is that I am dealing with proportions, the dominance of a feature in a given work over other features, and which feature clearly outweighs the other features in the given work. Of course, to recognize preference of one specific feature in a work, the specific purpose and attitude of the given work are considered. Simplicity vs. intricacy In Nastaliq calligraphy, simplicity is realized when great discipline functions to make visual forms and mostly visual composition free of any intricacy and elaboration, for the sake of unpretentiousness in visual forms and, hence, of directness and straightness in visual messages. In contrast, intricacy is achieved

Toward a distinct feature analysis 273 through using various calligraphic forms and structuring them based on complex compositional patterns, as well as wrapping them in intense and complicated embellishments (see Figure 6.29). Simplicity and intricacy can be seen in the contrast between single forms with easy and free-standing compositions – such as single-rows or double-rows – and complex compounds with overcrowded combinations – such as certain styles of Siyah-Mashq. Although it may seem that simplicity is never compatible with Nastaliq calligraphy because of Nastaliq’s huge amount of decoration, elaboration, and minutia, here simplicity is interpreted and realized in a specific mode of Nastaliq in which it is achieved through specific semiotic resources and facilities. In other words, features such as simplicity and intricacy are explained based on the conventions and principles of a specific mode and the context in which they are examined. Simplicity as a distinct feature in Nastaliq as a mode may not be as tangible as the simplicity achieved in the mode of photography; in this meaning, simplicity is realized differently according to the mode in which it is considered. Any semiotic mode has its own specific resources to create visual forms and visual messages and to realize meanings; thus, this simplicity is different, and its intensity and modality vary from mode to mode. Among the semiotic resources of Nastaliq calligraphy, those associated with the feature of simplicity include easy styles of writing such as inscription and single form, as well as single-rows and double-rows. As opposed to

Figure 6.29 Intricacy and simplicity represented in two pieces of Nastaliq made of same calligraphic forms with two different ways of composition

274 Toward a distinct feature analysis simplicity, intricacy or complexity appears through semiotic resources such as Siyah-Mashq and decorative styles such as crux writings, as well as ornamental elements (see Chapter 5; sections of Siyah-Mashq, and ornamental styles in Nastaliq). The complex manner of composition and elaboration in SiyahMashqs, with diversity in size of pen, tones of blackness, and punctuation, results in a complexity that realizes a kind of contrast to the harmony achieved by simplicity in single forms or epigraphs that are usually written in a large size, thereby creating vast and flat planes (see also Chapter 5, section of inscription or epigraph). While simplicity is associated with a sense of composure and naivety, perspicuity, and compendium, intricacy represents a sense of power and richness. Frugality vs. indulgence Frugality advocates a kind of minimalism in arranging visual elements through the minimal use of visual calligraphic forms in the page. It is usually achieved in heavy and dignified styles of inscription and epigraphy – which are most common for writing a religious quotation or single verse in which legibility and clearness is a priority – and in recent typographical and graphic works, which are more prone to being terse and simple. Frugality is in fact a feature achieved through a kind of thrifty and judicious way of composing visual calligraphic elements. In essence, frugality creates harmony and is more often seen in works that utilize a minimum of letterforms, rows, colors, and embellishments, such as single-rows or double-rows and mono-letterforms. Indulgence, in contrast, is achieved through using detail and decorative elements to a great extent so that the work as a whole has intricacies and ornamental elements and implies a sense of potency and a kind of luxury and enrichment. Intricacy or indulgence, particularly in Nastaliq calligraphy, is well attained through resources of punctuation, ornamental styles, and compositional styles in which there is a maximum of complexity in composing rows and a maximum of variety in various sizes and colors. Indulgence can also be achieved through forms of letters; for instance, the calligraphic forms of Shekasteh-Nastaliq/broken Nastaliq in comparison to standard letterforms of Nastaliq are more prone to intricacy and indulgence. In typography, intricacy or indulgence can be presented in serif typefaces and those that have curved and arched tails at the end of their strokes. Also, variety in tone of color in ink and ink density can suggest indulgence or frugality. The two features can be examined in a relative and comparative way rather than an absolute way. Figures 6.30 and 6.31 show how frugality and indulgence make sense through a comparative relation to each other; the indulgence seen in Figure 6.31 is more intense than that in Figure 6.30 and the economy in Figure 6.30 is stricter than that in Figure 6.31. Even so, the characteristic of frugality in Nastaliq emphasizes simplicity, monotony, rigidness and heaviness, singleness and solitude, and necessity and urgency. In contrast, indulgence suggests plenitude

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Figure 6.30 Piece of Siyah-Mashq, representFigure 6.31 Piece of Siyah-Mashq reping frugality. Calligraphed by resenting indulgence, retriAli-Shirazi, retrieved from The eved from The Center for Center for the Promotion of Conthe Promotion of Contemtemporary Calligraphy porary Calligraphy

and abundance, as well as richness, efficiency, and a kind of hyperactivity, complexity, and mystery. Overstatement vs. understatement Understatement and overstatement are the intellectual counterparts of economy and intricacy, serving similar ends but in a different context. Understatement is an approach of great restraint that seeks maximum viewer response with minimum elements. In fact, understatement in its studied attempt to engender great effect is the exact mirror image of its visual polarity, overstatement/exaggeration. Both, in their own way, take great liberties with the manipulation of visual detail; for example, to be visually effective, exaggeration must overstate extravagantly, enlarging its expression far beyond the truth to heighten and amplify the effect. Overstatement is seen in the different styles of Nastaliq achieved through use of the different semiotic resources in Nastaliq. The foremost style or resource to manifest the feature of understatement is large single-row inscription, mostly seen as headers in literature or panels that convey religious themes or quotations; the style is also seen in ancient legal statements. In essence, in such works, in addition to the use of a large size of pen and the full density of ink/color that convey authority and power, the secondary and

276 Toward a distinct feature analysis subsidiary elements such as ornaments and embellishments serve the main large single-row to exaggerate it and make it more visually effective. Figure 6.32 shows how various resources (e.g., high density of tone of color, large scale, ornamental elements) work to enlarge and amplify the main central text so that the main text appears more prominent, bolder, and more audacious than the other elements. The feature of overstatement can also be achieved through using central compositions, referred to as “‘information value of centre and margin’” in the main interrelated systems in Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) theory of visual composition, in which visual composition is structured along the dimensions of center and margin so that the crucial visual element is placed in the center and other associated elements are around it. For instance, in Figure 6.33, distribution of calligraphic forms along a circular system can overstate the central visual forms and present them as daring and lively in comparison to the surrounding visual letterforms. Siyah-Mashq/black practice and its different types, as a distinct compositional style in Nastaliq, can be an apt ground to realize the two features of overstatement and understatement. Repeating, overlapping, and juxtaposing letterforms, using different scales, and creating different tones of blackness while performing are all effective in presenting the senses, attitudes, and potential meanings associated with overstatement or understatement toward what is written.

Figure 6.32 Overstating letter ‫[ ﻥ‬N] in a piece of Nastaliq, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Figure 6.33 Piece of Nastaliq, representing overstatement and understatement through distribution of calligraphic forms along a circular form as well as using different scale of pen, and various density of tone of ink, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Toward a distinct feature analysis 277 Improvisation vs. standardization Standardization or predictability as a visual technique suggests an order or plan that is highly conventional. Whether through experience, observation, or reason, one should be able to foretell the entire visual message, based on a minimum of information. Improvisation or spontaneity, on the other hand, is characterized by an apparent lack of plan. It is an emotion-fraught technique, impulsive and unconstrained. In Nastaliq, standardization as a characteristic can be realized through certain styles of writing, the collection of techniques and materials, or the resources that suggest a kind of already determined discipline based on conventional principles. Standardization appears in works that are structured based on conventions, norms, and a regular plan which is predictable by the audience whether through past experience, observation, or familiarity with specific rules and conventions. Different styles of framing and layout follow specific conventions to structure calligraphic forms/elements. For instance, Chalipa, which has particular conventions for juxtaposition of letterforms on the rows and construction of rows in the page, suggests a specific structure based on a highly conventional plan which is already determined in the syntactical principles of Nastaliq. Thus, everything is predictable in advance, at least in composition. Therefore, one semiotic resource in Nastaliq to actualize standardization is the set of principles associated with row-lining and framing. In contrast to standardization, improvisation can be characterized through different styles of Siyah-Mashq, the type of writing whose primary basis is built on rehearsing and writing spontaneously, as well as a kind of disorganization. In essence, the origin of this style is practice to achieve flawless execution of letterforms and, accordingly, fluency in performing letterforms, as well as the maximum use of paper due to the rarity of paper in the past. The lack of a predetermined plan of construction in many forms of Siyah-Mashq and the free and spontaneous writing in the moment create a work that is emotionally laden, abrupt, unprincipled, and unrestrained. Although especially in recent Siyah-Mashqs calligraphers often use a predetermined plan to juxtapose and compose letterforms and the number of repetitions, in the end what the spectator sees is spontaneous and unpredictable. In other words, a, in general is unique, distinguishable, unpredictable, and impulsive, even if the calligrapher has used a plan to create it (see Figure 6.34). Standardization or predictability can also manifest in different effects and visual events created through the factors of body, tool, and substance in that using pen and ink and moving hand over paper create natural and specific effects. For instance, in Figure 6.35, along with the extensive letterform created by a large pen, there are nuances that present the natural process through which the letterforms are created from beginning to end. The density of ink gradually decreases from beginning to end (point 1 to 2) so that it creates differences in tone and color along the given letterform. The ink

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Figure 6.34 Piece of Nastaliq in the format of Siyah-Mashq, by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Figure 6.35 Extensive form of letter ‫[ ﺏ‬b]. Note various events in the natural process happened along the letterform that represents a kind of predictability and naturality

slowly fades from right to left so that different segments or visual events that are distinguishable from each other are created. Sometimes, as Figure 6.36 presents, this natural process happens along the letterform in two or

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Figure 6.36 A compound form made of four letters. Note the number of inkremediation during performance representing a natural and standard event/feature in calligraphic form

three different parts; as seen in Figure 6.36, the start points of each part display the highest intensity of ink and the end points in each part show the lowest density; this demonstrates the number of ink remediations during performance of the letterforms. Sometimes, depending on the letterform to be written, the pressure of hand and accordingly pen over paper changes while performing and causes different visual effects which are all natural and predictable by the audience. Improvisation and standardization can also be achieved through using different sizes of pen, that is, variety in scale. Standardization implies discipline, law, order, and norms that apply to the words and explain a kind of constraint, extent and limit, foresight and planning, targeting, and practicability. In contrast, improvisation can express a kind of spontaneity, impulsive and unconstrained idea that advocates insubordination of conventions. Improvisation against standardization suggests stimulation and rebellion against traditions and norms. Agility vs. inactivity In Nastaliq calligraphy, agility or activity finds meaning through techniques and styles that place calligraphic forms in an alive posture so that the whole work seems to be energetic and dynamic. In contrast, inactivity is achieved when calligraphic forms are composed through highly conventionalized techniques and styles that impose motionlessness and immobility on the given calligraphic forms. Figure 6.37 shows how agility and inactivity are manifested through framing and using special layouts of the calligraphic forms; Chalipa and Siyah-Mashq as two styles of writing and layout in Nastaliq are substantial semiotic resources that can achieve the characteristic of agility. In contrast, among different styles of framing and composition, single-row and double-row writing, as well as inscription and Ketabat, can display a sense of inactivity and fixity.

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Figure 6.37 Pieces of Nastaliq with different levels of agility/activity

Delicacy vs. boldness In Nastaliq, delicacy and boldness can be considered from different perspectives of scale, color-tone/density/intensity of ink, and as composition in detailed or total composition and framing. Delicacy suggests differentiation, subtlety, and refinement toward visual calligraphic forms. It presents a diffidence and frangibility, as well as unwillingness to be seen, while boldness expresses power, daring, courage, temerity, and assurance toward the written forms. In essence, boldness advocates an optimum of visibility and attraction and seeks to present calligraphic forms as alive and ostentatious, namely, the optimum of visibility (Figures 6.32, 6.33). Neutrality vs. intonation Intonation or accent in Nastaliq calligraphy can be examined in different enacted styles of composition and framing, as well as scale and ink/colortone. In principle, row-writing like single-row and Chalipa, which are usually based on a simple and predetermined structure, has more potential to realize neutrality, while in some kinds of Siyah-Mashq, intonation is manifested through differentiation and variety in placement, size/scale, and sometimes color-tone. Another calligraphic resource through which accent can be achieved is punctuation. Figure 6.38 shows how differences in placement of dots, as well as repetition and frequency of specific extensive letterforms in specific places of the page, can cause intonations between forms to provide a different accent. In essence, neutrality and accent find meaning through a relative relationship, so that there is no absolute boundary between them; two works may be neutral or accented in comparison to each other. In other words, neutrality can be achieved when the visual statement is

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Figure 6.38 Two rows of Nastaliq, with same letters but different accents

composed with a minimum of simulative and effective elements, so that the viewer confronts the least incitement. In contrast, accentuality is realized when visual calligraphic elements are emphasized against a monotonous and uniform background. Transparency vs. obscurity Transparency and obscurity can be attained through juxtaposing calligraphic forms in Siyah-Mashq. In other words, they can manifest differently as a result of repetition and overlapping letterforms in different scales of time when different densities of ink with different tones of color overlap. The property of black and white or the notion of Savad and Bayaz can be considered a semiotic resource in Nastaliq that results in obscurity/opacity (Figure 6.39). Transparency and obscurity represent senses and attitudes toward the written forms, extroversion and introspection, a kind of vague ambiguity and indecisiveness, as well as a kind of accumulation yet perspicuity. In essence, transparency in Nastaliq happens when calligraphic elements are organized so that they are placed in the background and foreground; then accordingly the visual forms placed in the background and foreground are seen at the same time. In essence, transparency can present a kind of simultaneity and synchronization. In contrast, obscurity is achieved when visual forms are concealed or covered by specific visual elements; in other words, specific visual forms are visually superseded by other visual elements and then create a kind of obscurity and opacity (Figure 6.40).

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Figure 6.39 Representing opacity or obscurity through Savad and Bayaz (blackness and blankness) in Siyah-Mashq/black practice. Calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Figure 6.40 Representing transparency and obscurity through overlapping letterforms, as well as using different tones of ink, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Consistency vs. conversion Consistency as a characteristic suggests compatibility, especially in composition. In essence, to achieve consistency in visual composition in Nastaliq calligraphy, a thematic approach that makes all calligraphic forms uniform

Toward a distinct feature analysis 283

Figure 6.41 Consistency and conversion represented in two pieces of Nastaliq calligraphy, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

is needed. For example, in Figure 6.41, using a specific style of framing imposes a theme on the visual calligraphic forms. Among the semiotic calligraphic resources, those that follow a uniform pattern, especially in framing and row-writing such as styles of Chalipa and single- or double-rows, can operate with consistency. Consistency expresses senses and ideas such as uniformity and monotony, solidarity, and unification and attitudes such as equality and straightforwardness. As opposed to consistency, conversion proposes a kind of mutation and difference toward the given calligraphic forms but under a specific pattern so that calligraphic forms subordinate a specific pattern or predetermined theme. Using different scales of pen, various colortones, and embellishments causes conversion or variation. Precision vs. distortion Precision in Nastaliq calligraphy is achieved when the calligrapher follows accurately the 12 principles of Nastaliq and, accordingly, calligraphic forms are performed in a flawless and intact way. In essence, calligraphic forms are performed fluently based on conventional rules of calligraphy and humans’ natural visual experience from Nastaliq. For example, with neat and accurate forms of letters plus rows arranged in a simple style, rather a decorative compositional style, the calligraphic work as a whole is visually perceived as a precise and accurate image. Precision is mostly seen in works such as books and inscription in which simplicity and legibility are a priority. See Figure 6.42,

284 Toward a distinct feature analysis in which the 12 principles of Nastaliq are accurately followed, especially in arranging and juxtaposing letterforms on the baselines; that is, the first and last letterforms are placed slightly higher than the baseline so that the whole row appears to be visually straight and pleasant. In contrast, breaking or disregarding principles and rules leads to distortion and low precision. Although disobeying conventional rules can lead to creativity, sometimes it causes distortion. Figure 6.43 (a Nastaliq work in

Figure 6.42 Nastaliq page calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani in 2008, retrieved from The Chanting Letters of Imam-Ali calligraphed by Mirali Heravi (1544 AD, p. 13)

Toward a distinct feature analysis 285

Figure 6.43 Piece of Nastaliq made with different tones of colors

Siyah-Mashq made through using different tones of color (e.g., by watercolor) in which the letterforms are unclear and irregular letter shapes) shows how violating the rules of juxtaposition and breaking the principles of composition can cause distortion and a sort of optical illusion, fadedness, vagueness, opaqueness, and ambiguity as a whole (Figure 6.44). Singularity vs. juxtaposition Singularity in Nastaliq is seen when the given composition puts the focus on a specific element or particular calligraphic form, so that only a specific solitary theme without any dependency on other visual elements is emphasized. Singularity as a characteristic suggests assertion, accent, and a union and solidarity (Figure 6.45). Juxtaposition in Nastaliq calligraphy is seen in every calligraphic work that has a strong quality of interaction and interrelations of different calligraphic elements. Profoundness vs. flatness In essence, profoundness, or depth and flatness in painting and drawing, is achieved through using rules of perspective in different aspects of a variety

Figure 6.44 Distortion caused through using a specific and creative type of framing and linage. Page from a book in 1342 AH, retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution

Figure 6.45 Singularity in three works of calligraphy, retrieved and reproduced from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Toward a distinct feature analysis 287 of sizes and color-tones. In Nastaliq, it is caused by using different sizes of pen, color-tones of ink, and different and annotative ways of juxtaposition and framing. Profundity in Nastaliq can also be achieved through repetition and frequency of calligraphic forms, as well as overlapping them so that the whole visual appearance suggests a kind of complexity, intricacy, multidimensionality, and depth (Figure 6.46). In contrast, flatness suggests simplicity, restraint, one-dimensionality, and a sedentary image or visual appearance (Figure 6.47). Sequentiality vs. randomness Sequentiality is achieved through time and transposition in composing calligraphic forms. All simple and formal styles of Nastaliq – such as single- or

Figure 6.46 Profoundness in three calligraphic works, achieved through using different tones of ink, various scales of pen, as well as repetition and overlapping calligraphic forms

288 Toward a distinct feature analysis

Figure 6.47 Characteristic of flatness represented in a page calligraphed by Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani in 2008, retrieved from The Chanting Letters of Imam-Ali calligraphed by Mirali Heravi (1544 AD, p. 18)

double-rows and inscriptions created based on the principles of Nastaliq – present a sequentiality toward the given texts or visual calligraphic forms. In essence, the feature of sequentiality is realized when the composition is based on a serial schema or a model that presents a rhythmic and ordinal combination (Figure 6.48). Sequentiality expresses a sense of succession, transposition, priority, and asynchronicity. Randomness is presented through a casual composition based on an accidental pattern that suggests lack of time, plan, and prioritization, transposition, and a synchronous composition of visual calligraphic forms (Figure 6.49). Sharpness/incisiveness vs. bluntness Incisiveness or sharpness as a feature is achieved through creating accurate shapes and sharp edges. This characteristic represents a clear expression of lucidity, clarification, and affirmation toward the written calligraphic letterforms. Incisiveness can also represent attitudes such as delicacy, precision, penetration, veracity, and straightness. In contrast, bluntness suggests less exactitude in calligraphic forms, but more mildness, gentleness, and calmness.

Figure 6.48 Sequentiality represented in two works; Shekasteh-Nastaliq/broken-Nastaliq created by Abdolmajid Taleghani (in 1172 AH), retrieved from Moshashaei (2012); Chalipa/cross writing by Mohammad Kiyaei, retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

Figure 6.49 Randomness represented in two works created by Abdolmajid Taleghani (in 1184 AH), retrieved from Malek National Library and Museum Institution, and Moshashaei (2012, p. 170)

290 Toward a distinct feature analysis Bluntness or diffusion has potential to represent calligraphic letterforms as ambiguous and equivocal and sometime illusory. Furthermore, it can offer attitudes such as leniency, amenity, and moderation. The resources related to material substance and compositional style can realize incisiveness/sharpness; for example, the sharpness of the pen tip or the sharpness of the edges of the pen that is normally retained in the initial time after pen-trimming and then begins slowly to blunt can be effective to create clear and sharp calligraphic forms. Furthermore, the extent of the density of ink is related to the extent of sharpness; both high density and low density can decrease sharpness and create diffusion. Moreover, the manner of ink remediation can also create sharp or blunt calligraphic forms (see Figure 6.50). In addition to the material and tools and the ways of using them, some styles of writing can cause characteristics of incisiveness and bluntness. For instance, some styles of Siyah-Mashq/black practice can create ambiguity and vagueness, especially those based on spontaneity, freedom, and improvisation rather than a predetermined structure. Continuity vs. episodicity Continuity in Nastaliq calligraphy is a characteristic that suggests an uninterrupted and continuous conjunction between calligraphic letterforms. In essence, continuity is created by repetition of calligraphic forms in an ongoing way so that diverse calligraphic forms are connected to each other, thus presenting a unified expression. Continuity offers coherent gravity to visual calligraphic forms that are adhered together to make a unitized

Figure 6.50 Sharpness and bluntness caused through different levels of sharpness of pen-edge and density of ink

Toward a distinct feature analysis 291

Figure 6.51 Continuity/durability displayed in a part of Siyah-Mashq through repetition of letterforms. Calligraphed by Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini (1861–1936 AD), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

composition. See Figure 6.51, in which continuity is achieved through different resources in the style of Siyah-Mashq and imposes cohesion between calligraphic forms to express a unisonant statement. Episodicity in Nastaliq indicates a kind of disconnection between elements, a feature that expresses the quality of a series that consists of different visual calligraphic elements that are disconnected from each other, though they are still parts of the whole work. In other words, episodicity presents a sequence between individual parts of a larger work or a larger sequence, diverse parts which, although disconnected, are not entirely apart from the larger meaning of the whole work. Episodicity, in essence, is achieved through resources in framing and punctuation, as well as some ornamental elements and styles of embellishment (Figure 6.52). Episodic resources in Nastaliq calligraphy express separation and secession and amplify the quality of selfdom and a period of time (to the given letterforms or the calligraphic works as a whole) while at the same time they do not represent an utter detachment toward the whole work. Augmentation vs. diminution Augmentation in Nastaliq composition is used when the calligrapher wants to lengthen a row of letterforms to coordinate with other lines. In essence, augmentation in composition normally happens when the letterforms in a row – which can be a hemistich of a verse of a poem or a text – are not prone to extensive forms of writing; thus, the row becomes shorter than

292 Toward a distinct feature analysis

Figure 6.52 Piece of Shekasteh-Nastaliq, by Abdolmajid Taleghani (in 1184 AH), retrieved from The Center for the Promotion of Contemporary Calligraphy

the rows juxtaposed to the given row. In other words, when in a row, the number of letters that have no extensive forms is less than in other rows that are juxtaposed to the given row; thus, to align rows, the calligrapher intentionally lengthens the row. Techniques normally used to create augmentation, as Pakrad (2014) mentions, are increasing the space between letterforms and repeating the same letterforms to lengthen the sentence (Figure 6.53). Augmentation in Nastaliq implies a sense of expansion and elongation, as well as stretchiness and prolongation. Diminution occurs when the calligrapher faces a hemistich or verse comprising a high number of letterforms so that the length of the row is longer than usual. In this case, to adjust the length of the row, the calligrapher narrows the spaces between letterforms, deduces extensive forms of letters, overlays letterforms, or assembles them inside the empty spaces of the figures of some letters. In contrast to augmentation, diminution in Nastaliq implies a sense of compaction, constriction, and concentration.

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Figure 6.53 Augmentation and diminution represented in two rows of Nastaliq made of the same letterforms

Summary In the two previous chapters, I described Nastaliq as a distinctive mode that comprises semiotic resources with meaning potentials which can be actualized in specific concrete social and cultural contexts. I also illustrated how Nastaliq fulfills the three metafunctions defined in Halliday’s theory of systematic functional grammar. Any semiotic resource – including representative agents and the ways used to arrange them into a communicative event – entails specific attributes and properties that cause possibilities, qualities, and functions or “affordances” that entail meaning potentials. Thus, to examine meaning potentials carried by each semiotic resource in Nastaliq, the set of semiotic resources – classified in the previous chapters – must be examined for their features. Therefore, with regard to Jakobson and Halle’s (1956) theory of phonemes, which describes phonemes as collections of features, and the idea Kress and Van Leeuwen (2002) suggest to consider “these features as having semiotic potentials” (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 147), this chapter analyzed distinctive characteristics of Nastaliq calligraphy; in other words, it analyzed units of Nastaliq, modules, or callies, that are equivalent to phonemes in sound, including collections of features/characteristics, for their potentials in meaning-making. Relying on the two principles of connotation and experimental metaphor proposed by Kress and Van Leeuwen (2001, 2002), I discussed why Nastaliq can be considered to be a medium. I demonstrated how and under what conditions each semiotic resource in Nastaliq can fulfill the prerequisites of a medium and connote specific meanings or metaphorically imply specific experiences.

7

Conclusion

In this chapter, I will sum up the insights and results achieved in this dissertation, and I will answer the questions driving this research. In the first section, I summarize the various steps of the research. I present a concise overview of each step. Then, I recap the results obtained in each step to reach the overall conclusion. Accordingly, in the second section, I present additional insights. Finally, in the last section, I discuss how this research informs future research.

Inquiry: what has been done? The dissertation provides a study on calligraphic letterforms in general and Persian Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms in particular by applying the various insights of multimodal social semiotics and the two systems of graphology and graphetics to answer the following questions: (i) To what extent do calligraphic letterforms conform to graphic forms and, subsequently, to what extent do their principles lead to the universal principles used in graphic forms? (ii) How can Nastaliq calligraphy be identified as a distinctive semiotic mode in its own right and, accordingly, as an autonomous system of meaning-making, independent of the linguistic practices traditionally embedded in language? To answer these questions, the study follows a number of steps: (i) a corpusbased study of a large number of calligraphic letterforms by applying the two systems of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING derived from graphology, (ii) graphetics analysis based on the principles defined in graphetics, (iii) a semiotics analysis which relies on the core values and concepts of multimodal social semiotics, (iv) Halliday’s systemic metafunctions, and (v) distinct feature analysis. Each step is explained as the topic of one of the following subsections. Background/state of the art In the first chapter, after presenting an introduction to the overall theme of the research and before presenting the research questions, I present the current state of research. By providing a survey of previous research on Islamic calligraphy, and Nastaliq calligraphy in particular, as well as a historical background of Nastaliq from its formation to its heyday, I discuss how Nastaliq calligraphy

Conclusion 295 has been challenged in many ways over time and how its stable and yet dynamic principles imbue it with potential to have varied applications and make it an expressive phenomenon that presents a wide range of potentials to be examined through different approaches in different areas of fine arts, media, and visual communication. The result obtained from the current state of research, historical background, and different insights into calligraphy lead toward questions that challenge all existing definitions of calligraphy, toward hypotheses that are prone to move beyond stereotypical definitions and break the ad hoc insights into calligraphy and view it not merely as a field of fine arts but as an individual subject in visual communication and a self-determining system in its own right. Aims The research targets calligraphic letterforms (i) to unleash them from the linguistic practices in language (ii) and examine their individual functionality and (iii) independence from conventional meanings embedded in linguistic practices, as well as (iv) examine the extent of conformity and adequacy of traditional principles of calligraphy and universal principles of graphic forms (v) through using descriptive schemas – specifically drawn for and applied in graphic forms – (vi) and, accordingly, examine the extent to which they apply in calligraphic form and (vii) subsequently the extent to which calligraphic principles lead to graphic principles and vice versa. Hypotheses The study is conducted on the assumptions that (i) calligraphic letterforms can be considered and understood as autonomous visual forms independent of the linguistic practices in which they are (traditionally seen as) embedded, (ii) calligraphic letterforms can be characterized by the general descriptive scheme applied to graphic elements and thus are analogous to the universal set of graphic features, (iii) the potential of the suppositions of circle and plane and Savad and Bayaz – in Nastaliq – authentically manifest in calligraphic letterforms through application of the descriptive schema used in graphic forms – such as the synchronic schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING proposed by Johannessen (2010), (iv) calligraphic conventions conform to graphical conventions, (v) Nastaliq calligraphy can be explained as an independent system of meaning-making in its own articulation, and (vi) Nastaliq can be considered a distinct semiotic mode made of different modal resources. Thesis structure In addition, I explain how the thesis is structured and conducted in five phases to answer the research questions: (i) a corpus-based analysis through using descriptive schema proposed by Johannessen (2010) derived from

296 Conclusion graphology, (ii) graphetics analysis by relying on articulatory graphetics as explained by Johannessen (2010), (iii) approaching calligraphic forms from the insights of multimodal social semiotics, and (iv) Halliday’s triple metafunctions, as well as (v) a distinctive feature analysis to characterize aspects of the semiotic resources of calligraphy. Experimental materials I enumerate the experimental materials of the corpus used for the corpus analysis based on SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, proposed by Johannessen (2010) based on graphology and schemed to apply in graphic forms, including 300 images of Nastaliq letterforms classified into the five categories of (i) individual letterforms, (ii) second letterforms, (iii) extensive letterforms, and two categories of compound letterforms: (iv) one is made by following compositional principles of calligraphy and (v) the other is made regardless of compositional principles. Theoretical schema I present the theory of multimodal social semiotics on which the research relies, as well as traditional notions the research addresses. In this section, I provide a brief introduction to multimodal social semiotics, and I excerpt the main points, as well as the key concepts, of the theory from different sources. Regarding multimodality and social semiotics, I explain key concepts and basic assumptions of the theory as: 1.

2.

Multimodality – which has the basic assumption that meaning is made in every representational and communicative mode (Jewitt, 2009; Kress, 2010) – is underpinned by four assumptions: (i) Language is part of a multimodal ensemble that is taken to be equally as significant as other modes, (ii) representation and communication always draw on a multiplicity of modes that all have distinct potential to contribute equally to meaning (Kress, 2010, p. 96), (iii) different modes in a multimodal ensemble interact in meaning-making, and (iv) the meanings of signs are derived from semiotic resources that are shaped by rules and norms that apply at the moment of sign-making (Jewitt, 2009, p. 16). Social semiotics focuses on meaning in a social context and “meaning, in all its forms” (Kress, 2010, p. 54) is derived from the two key terms of social and semiotics. Semiotics refers to signs, composed of “form and meaning” (Kress, 2010, p. 54), and social demonstrates a kind of correlation between sign and society and refers to signs and their social origins. Overall, the theory of social semiotics suggests that the genesis of a sign goes back to the social activities and practices formed in the specific historical and cultural context in which the sign is created.

Conclusion 297 The branch of social semiotics used to examine Nastaliq calligraphy is based on Halliday’s (1978) social semiotic theory of communication, which itself is based on the fundamental assumptions of Halliday’s view toward semiotics, which are: (i) Signs are always newly made in social interaction, (ii) signs are motivated, not arbitrary relations of meaning and form, and (iii) the form of signs is made in social interaction and becomes part of the semiotic resources of a culture (Kress, 2010, p. 55). As a result, multimodal social semiotics theorizes meaning from the three perspectives of (i) semiotics, (ii) multimodality, and (iii) mode. Respectively, I present the two traditional notions of circle and plane and Savad and Bayaz, extracted from practical theories of performance in Nastaliq, which are used to challenge the descriptive schema employed for graphic forms (SHAPE and ENSHAPENING) so as to examine the extent to which they apply in descriptions of calligraphic forms. Circle and plane refers to the proportion of circulenes and straightness in calligraphic forms. If Nastaliq letterforms are scrutinized for curliness versus straightness, the proportion of circles is greater, always at a 5:1 ratio. Savad and Bayaz refers to the correlation between blackness and blankness in calligraphic forms, which is also introduced in this section. Methodological schema The two systems of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING and graphetics articulation proposed by Johannessen (2010) are introduced and discussed as methods used to analyze calligraphic forms. In proposing these two systems, Johannessen theorizes graphic forms in relation to the two distinct fields of graphology and graphetics, which are, respectively, analogous to phonology and phonetics. (i) SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, proposed by Johannessen (2010) as a synchronic descriptive schema to approach shapes descriptively so as to distinguish graphic forms from other visual forms, are prone toward graphology. In this section, I explain how in the first step of the thesis, the corpus analysis, I apply a trimmed version of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING in calligraphic letterforms to unleash them from conventional meanings in language and take a first step to consider them as graphic forms. (ii) Graphetic articulation, proposed by Johannessen (2010), is tightly bound to the first step of analysis – the corpus-based analysis with SHAPE and ENSHAPENING. It suggests a dynamic analysis method applicable in graphic forms based on the theory of articulation (Lemke, 1984). It defines a dynamic process in which the three factors of affordance – body, tool, and substance – collaborate to make communicative visual events. Using this system, which is oriented to phonetics, is necessary to

298 Conclusion fulfill the first step to compare calligraphic letterforms with graphic forms and pursue the hypothesis suggesting that calligraphic forms have the same affordance and functionality as graphic forms. Diachronic and synchronic approaches The ambition of this study is to describe Nastaliq as an autonomous system of meaning-making and a distinctive mode of semiotics that can exchange and communicate meaning in its own right without dependence on the linguistic practices embedded in language. In the theory of multimodal social semiotics, the concept of system is crucial and defined as comprising resources which are used to communicate with each other and indeed make meaning (Johannessen, 2010, p. 257). According to Johannessen (2010), there are two ways to approach a system, synchronic and diachronic: (i) the synchronic perspective through which one seeks to draw the system “as a paradigm of paradigms, as the sum total of potential choices for making meaning at a given moment in time” (p. 257) and (ii) the diachronic perspective from which one defines the system over time; this system is dynamic and ever changing in accordance with historical, social, and cultural practices and even “biological processes” (p. 257). As Lemke, quoted in Johannessen, states, “any synchronic, structural description entails a diachronic, dynamic analysis” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 257). In their multimodal studies on color and typography inspired by Jakobson and Halle (1956), Kress and Van Leeuwen (2002) use the synchronic system of systemic functional linguistics as a pattern to evoke equivalences in color and typography and eventually define a systemic and precise system for color and typography. Although they use a synchronic system (Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics, equivalent to graphology) as a model to define a synchronic system, as Johannessen (2010) states, they suggest the origins of their synchronic system in a diachronic system of phonetics (p. 257). Therefore, as both perspectives of synchronic and diachronic entail each other, I take both into consideration as follows: (i) Using the graphological analysis of calligraphic letterforms through adopting the descriptive schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, and Nastaliq as a whole, I adopt a synchronic perspective in Chapter 2. (ii) As the second and supplementary step in Chapter 3, I apply a diachronic perspective to examine Nastaliq calligraphy through the theory of articulatory graphetics, which describes a dynamic process in which biological aspects are connected with the semiotic system of graphics. I use this perspective for two reasons: (1) Every schema or framework used for graphic forms, or any visual artifacts, “must be motivated in a coherent theory of the link between conventions and material practices of articulation” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 117), (2) any graphic form/letterform is a communicative event, and to examine communicative events, one cannot omit the biological aspects and subsequently

Conclusion 299 the factors of body, tools, and substance that facilitate interaction between the biological and the environment to “influence the potential for expressing meaning” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 122). Therefore, in the first and second steps, a combination of both synchronic and diachronic approaches – in graphology and graphetics – is applied to examine Nastaliq calligraphy. The branch of social semiotics used in the third step, Chapter 4, is based (i) on Halliday’s (1978) social semiotics theory of communication and his three consistent assumptions about signs, which are that (1) signs are always newly made in social interaction, (2) signs are motivated; there is no arbitrary relation between meaning and form, and (3) the form/signifiers are made in social interaction and become part of the semiotic resources of a culture (Kress, 2010, p. 55). It also relies on (ii) his opinions on social actions of language – in the systemic functional grammar of language, (iii) Kress and Van Leeuwen’s works on multimodal social semiotics (e.g., their works on color and typography), and (iv) accordingly, application of the three perspectives of semiosis of meaning-making, multimodality, and specific mode as Kress (2010) suggests to theorize meaning. As a result, this combination of use of different insights in multimodal social semiotics to approach calligraphy – in this step of the study – is considered a diachronic approach. It takes into consideration cultural and social factors/practices, as well as the motivation of individuals in the process of meaning-making, and the three factors in graphetics (as a diachronic system), though in applying Holliday’s model of metafunction, in Chapter 5, as well as the study’s distinct feature analysis, in Chapter 6, it refers to graphology, as a synchronic approach. Corpus analysis In Chapter 2, I analyze a corpus of 300 images using a trimmed version of the descriptive schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, as Johannessen (2010, 2013) suggests, that is specifically assigned to describe graphic forms and distinguish them from other visual forms. This chapter is the empirical and a first practical step toward releasing calligraphic letterforms from linguistic practices, conjecturing their presence in graphic forms, and challenging the traditional notions of Circle and Plane and Savad and Bayaz for their authenticity and explicability through schema designed for graphic forms. According to this schema, as Johannessen (2010, 2013) argues, graphic forms are categorized based on the two models of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING based on which any region of a given shape – in any graphic form – can be rendered or enshaped in a number of ways. Before addressing the SHAPE and ENSHAPENING analysis of our corpus, I present a discussion of different definitions of form and shape. As a result, in the analysis in this chapter, I consider the following points:

300 Conclusion (i) Each given letter should be seen as an integrated or monolithic form. (ii) I use the term “form” to mean that a letter is rendered from different variables or to refer to the way in which different shapes are rendered into different variables made by different lines – derived from one of the definitions of form that refers to the way in which things happen or shapes are structured (Gestalt psychology in Koffka, 1935). (iii) From different definitions of shape, I emphasize one of the aspects of shape –suggested by Arnheim (1974) – which concerns “the actual boundary” lines. According to Dondis, a line “articulates the complexity of shape” (1973, p. 44). Considering these points, the two models of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, respectively, are run as described below. Shape model (i) According to the SHAPE model, two categories of SHAPE are defined: straight and un-straight. (ii) Any instance of shape falls into one of these categories. (iii) There is no instance of shape which is neither straight nor un-straight. (iv) No single shape can be straight and un-straight at the same time. (v) These categories are distinguished through a number of spatial dimensions: 1. 2.

Straightness is defined as one-dimensional. Un-straightness is a two-dimensional property that is categorized into branches of demarcation (consisting of curve and angle) and regional (divided into bends of convex and concave).

Thus, while there is one possible use of straightness, there are four possible choices of un-straightness: un-straight {curve/convex}, {curve/concave}, and un-straight {angle/convex}, {angle/concave}. Result of corpus analysis based on SHAPE system Applying the schema of SHAPE in the corpus of Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms yields these results: (i) The overwhelming majority of lines that form shapes in letters is un-straight and curved, and only a small portion is straight. The ratio of bends to straight lines is approximately 5:1, so this result authenticates the traditional notion of circle and plane in the implementation rules of Nastaliq that (ii) four variables defined in the SHAPE system are used in letterforms in the corpus and distributed approximately in equal rates, thus presenting the property of variation in the use of structural occurrences in Nastaliq calligraphic letterforms.

Conclusion 301 ENSHAPENING model To define something as graphic phenomena, Gestalt theories related to shape cannot be neglected. According to these theories, a necessary characteristic of every graphic phenomenon is that “it demarcates an expanse into at least two distinct regions” of figure and ground (Gestalt in Johannessen, 2013, p. 10). Therefore, along with SHAPE analysis, I present the schematic of ENSHAPENING in which shape is described based on its relationship with figure and ground in four categories and three synchronic choices: (i) Shape in terms of its relation to figures can be either positive or negative. (ii) In terms of complexity, shape is defined as two types: conjoined and compound. (iii) In terms of relationship with ground, there are two kinds of shape: massive and contour. Result of corpus analysis based on ENSHAPENING system The overall result of ENSHAPENING analysis provides that (i) all figure types are presented as positive, (ii) having no negative figure in the samples means that in Nastaliq calligraphy basically all letter shapes in terms of their relationship with ground pertain to the figure and not the ground, (iii) 60.25% of letterforms falls into the category of positive/conjoined/massive, (iv) in terms of complexity of figure and ground, most of the samples are conjoined and massive, while only a small number has a compounded contoured shape, (v) figure-type discussion in the descriptive scheme of ENSHAPENING is also adequate for explaining the notions of Savad and Bayaz/blackness and blankness in Nastaliq calligraphy, and (vi) although the schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING is not comprehensive in describing calligraphic forms because of the high level of dynamism and delicacy in Nastaliq, both systems are consistent with the fractals derived from the calligraphic letterforms of Nastaliq. Graphetic analysis Chapter 3, as an essential supplementary step to Chapter 2, revolves around the graphetics system in graphic forms, as proposed and used by Johannessen (2010). This chapter pursues the same aim, but this time by relying on graphetic articulation and examining graphetic aspects of calligraphic letterforms. The theory of graphetics articulation In the first section of Chapter 3, I present the theory of graphetic articulation borrowed from Johannessen (2010), which was originally used for graphic trademarks to understand the differences and similarities in various

302 Conclusion visual communicative events in graphic trademarks. In this section, I argue the different aspects, suppositions, and statements related to this theory. This theory, which revolves around the notion of articulation that Lemke (1984) suggests, is explained as a dynamic process through which three factors of affordance ‒ body, tool, and substance ‒ contribute together to make visual communicative events in every graphic sign. During this process, (i) a human body acts using tools over substance to perform a communication process (Johannessen, 2010, p. 122). Also, (ii) new forms are shaped that lead to new meanings and subsequently create an integrative communicative event. Inspired by the term affordance, from Gibson (1986[1979]), which examines visual effects and visual artifacts with an ecological approach (Johannessen, 2010, p. 79), Johannessen suggests that (i) each graphic form is produced in an articulation that includes limitations, principles, and conventions which are laid down by the affordance of body, tool, and substance. Also, (ii) he presents a universal definition of graphics, as well as (iii) a definition or a structure to distinguish graphical activities from other ecological activities. Plus, (iv) a definition specifying what is qualified and eligible for graphic manipulation will also be determined. Why graphetics articulation? To accomplish the first step of analysis, in which I focus on graphological features of letterforms using SHAPE and ENSHAPENING, it is necessary to deal with the physical properties of letterforms and every association, including conventions, principles, and limitations, related to letterforms. Any visual artefact “must be motivated in a coherent theory of the link between conventions and material practices of articulation” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 117). In other words, it is necessary to describe particular situations, conventions, or, in one word, articulations under which letterforms are shaped and presented. Based on this statement, I reason why it is necessary to apply graphetic articulation to the calligraphic forms in my study. Benefits of using graphetics articulation and the synchronic schema of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING mentioned and discussed in this section are summarized below. The theory of graphetics, as suggested and used by Johannessen (2010), goes beyond the scope of linguistics, and it is especially used in graphic representational elements, handwriting, trademarks, and any kind of graphic signifier. Moreover, this theory does not omit traditional systems of writing. Therefore, it is appropriate to (i) compare Nastaliq letterforms with visual graphical forms to examine the extent to which the letterforms can function graphically, (ii) examine the process of making communicative events in calligraphy, and (iii) subsequently realize the process of making potential meanings in calligraphic forms. Moreover, the intent is to pursue the ambitious desire to rectify plausible deficiencies of this

Conclusion 303 framework while applying the framework to calligraphy in general and Nastaliq in particular. Also, (iv) this examination leads to providing a tidy specific framework for particular use in defining a specific articulation for calligraphy. Articulation Articulation, as a significant concept of the theory of graphetics, is defined and discussed in Chapter 3; graphetics is summed up as a process through which “a given meaning potential finds a form” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 121). The term articulatory graphetics is comparable to articulatory phonetics, which is used in linguistics to refer to the process by which a vocal piece is produced; that is, the human body employs different limbs and organs to make a meaningful vocal sound. More specifically in Nastaliq calligraphy, it refers to the way in which the calligrapher uses his or her body to apply tools, material substance, and other modal resources of Nastaliq calligraphy to make letterforms and thus potential meanings. The points on which the discussions in this section are formed are as follows: (i) An act of speech refers to the process in which the performer acts over material substance (e.g., air to make speech). This is equivalent to a (ii) communicative event in graphetic articulation in which the performer acts with tool over substance. More specifically for Nastaliq calligraphy, a communicative event occurs when the calligrapher acts with body/hand through tool/pen/ink over the substance of ink/paper. Referring to Gibson’s (1986 [1979]) ecological point of view, here the three factors of body, substance, and tools are labeled as (iii) sources of affordance because they facilitate interaction between humans’ biological system and the environment. In Chapter 3, I also discuss each factor of affordance and then investigate the factors in calligraphic forms. The first factor is acting body, which is explained along with the five general conventions imposed on graphic forms. Acting body In this section, I define the factor of body in graphetic articulation and specifically describe it in Nastaliq calligraphy. As a crucial factor, the human body is always at work, whether in preparation of the other two factors – tool and substance – or in performance. Thus, in this discussion, body is placed at the peak of the pyramid of graphetic articulation, dominates other factors, and has a main role “in the genesis of graphic conventions” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 124). I discuss each graphic convention created under the influence of the human body one by one; then I examine each as specifically related to traditional conventions of Nastaliq calligraphy. The point considered when examining the factor of body and its role in generating graphic conventions is that the discussion concentrates on doing

304 Conclusion rather than being. This means the discussion is not a biological discussion that examines how the human body works, but rather how people employ organs to perform and create graphic signifiers or calligraphic letterforms. To extract traditional conventions of Nastaliq calligraphy, I rely on authentic resources such as old treatises by masters of Nastaliq calligraphy like Baba-Shah Isfahani (1587), Sultan Ali Mashhadi (1453–1520), and Ibn Muqla Shirazi (1480–1533). 1. A tendency toward curved motions The first convention in graphetic articulation refers to a natural orientation of the body toward curved motions. This convention is discussed in relation to the theory of circle and plane and the rate of curved shapes – which is one of the results yielded in the Chapter 2 corpus analysis – in Nastaliq. This graphic convention, (i) generally confirms that the circle is the dominant shape in heterogeneous letter shapes in Nastaliq and is used at a 5:1 ratio of circle to straightness in calligraphic letterforms. (ii) In addition, gnostic sects in Iranian culture and mysticism, and their devotion to curvedness and circles, are mentioned to demonstrate how this convention manifests in Nastaliq calligraphy. In the discussion in Chapter 3, I enumerate and discuss how many notions derived from traditional principles of Nastaliq (e.g., partial and total composition, baseline, punctuation) represent the first graphic convention and demonstrate a kind of affinity or proximity between Nastaliq and the nature of the human body. In addition, considering the high level of dynamism in calligraphy in general, in referring to the principles of Circle and Plane, Virtual Ascent, and Virtual Descent in Nastaliq, I discuss how the traditional principles of Nastaliq are rooted in the human body, its restrictions and limitations, and, accordingly, how calligraphic principles and graphic conventions lead toward each other. 2. Ergonomic efficiency Ergonomic efficiency suggests coordination between any manual production of a piece of art and ergonomic features of the human body. In this part, all 12 didactic traditional principles in Nastaliq (i.e., baseline/ground-field, proportion, weakness/thinness, intensity/strength/thickness, circle and plane, virtual ascent, virtual descent, rhythm, tenet, and dignity) are investigated for their plausible coordination with the general ergonomic efficiencies mentioned in graphetic articulation. 3. Control As the third general convention in graphic forms, control refers to stability and consistency in tracing graphic lines. Control suggests an inevitable

Conclusion 305 convention which is derived from the human body. The convention is associated with resting or leaning parts of the hand over the surface on which graphic lines are traced. Control results in a steady hand while writing or tracing graphic lines and forms (Johannessen, 2010, p. 125). Comparing this proposition to Nastaliq, the results are as follows: • • • • • •

• •

Control is an inevitable and constant convention in Nastaliq. In addition to hand, the size of pen and the quality of paper and material substance are crucial in effective performance in Nastaliq. Different styles of performance and composition demand specific hand support in Nastaliq. Considering traditional principles of Nastaliq performance, any kind of calligraphic form or composition entails a specific posture of the hand and body. Because of the high level of equilibrium in Nastaliq, the body posture and control are more disciplined and stable in comparison to graphic forms in general. The size of letterforms created by different sizes of pen, the emphasis on symmetry in the same letterforms, and using the dot as a yardstick to measure the size of letterforms corroborate that more constraints and restrictions apply in Nastaliq principles than in graphic conventions. Moving the reed pen and performing Nastaliq letterforms from left to right (counterclockwise), or turning them upside down, is impossible. During performance, going back to the previous motion and amendment is impossible.

4. Coordination between hand and eye The fourth convention defined in articulatory graphetics refers to the sight between eyes and hand that must remain unbroken; otherwise, it will cause a broken or fragmental line or trace (Johannessen, 2010, p. 126). The sense of such convention specifically manifests itself in the two ways suggested in traditional Nastaliq for training and practicing calligraphy, namely, theoretical practice, also called visionary/imaginary practice, and actual practice. I discuss how both ways of practice – whether in visionary/ imaginary practice in which the hand is moving in a virtual way without using tools and material or in actual practice – suggest coordinating hand and eye in performing letterforms. 5. Body-support The final common convention in graphic signifiers refers to the support that the body provides while tracing. Particularly regarding Nastaliq calligraphy, I derive and examine the special ways in traditional principles that demonstrate providing such body-support in Nastaliq calligraphy, including

306 Conclusion (i) the ways of replenishing ink during performance, (ii) various levels of hand pressure over pen and paper while performing, and (iii) punctuation. In this section, I also discuss the unique features in Nastaliq that distinguish it from other types of visual forms such as graphic signifiers, which are its connection with the natural motion of the human body and its engagement with body affordance. The results suggest that the main important factor of affordance in performance is the body, which plays a bigger role than any other factor. As stated by the pioneers of Nastaliq (e.g., Sultan Ali Mashhadi, 1453–1520; Baba Shah Isfahani, 1587), the integrity and perfection of calligraphy stem from training the body and hand by practice and repetition. In the next section of the chapter, I examine other factors of affordance ‒ tool and substance ‒ and their relation to the body as the main and constant factor. Tool The second factor in graphic signifiers suggested in articulatory graphetics is the tool. In this section, I consider the affordance of tools in Nastaliq with regard to the definition in graphetic articulation; in my discussion, I emphasize what the tools do and how they do it, rather than what they are. I examine the pen with respect to its connection with principles used in performance to understand how it works, how it functions, and how it works in relation to the body. I also discuss the kinds of ergonomic efficiency that are used in preparing the reed pen. I look at the process in which a reed pen is prepared based on specific conventions that are themselves generated by the human body’s limitations and restrictions, then I examine it in connection with the hand (body) acting upon a substance (ink and paper) and then in creating communicative events. Below, I recap the important points in the discussion on tools: •



In the discussion considering the categories of tools classified by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996) – based on affordance and influence of the body – I discuss how the ways of manually producing tools in the tradition of calligraphy are compatible with conventions and limitations derived from body affordance. Considering the level in graphetic articulation in which the performer becomes fluent in the use of tools to the extent that the tools are transparent to the performer (Johannessen, 2010, p. 128), I discuss the level at which the calligrapher becomes fluent in using tools and I equate this level with the levels of Dignity and Joyfulness/Satisfaction as the two highest levels of skillfulness mentioned in the traditional principles of Nastaliq calligraphy, where the body/hand uses tools without any conscious thought; at this level, the body is in direct relationship with the final calligraphic work so that the tool becomes transparent.

Conclusion 307 •

In discussing the relationship of body and tool, the influence of cultural restrictions and limitations in choosing tools and materials is considered.

Substance As the third effective source of affordance, substance is something upon which the body acts with a tool and the perceiver encounters. In this section, I examine ink and paper as substance, although in a sense they can also be considered tools. In essence, dividing the three factors of affordance is not possible in practice, and the three factors act as integrative agents in an integrative process to make an integrative meaningful form. Factors of affordance in calligraphic performance In this section, I examine how the three factors of body, substance, and tool are applied in the process of performance of a calligraphic letterform. Subsequently, I discuss how the general conventions related to and derived from these factors of affordance manifest themselves in the process of performance that results in a communicative event. According to Lemke (2000), quoted by Johannessen (2010), a communicative event is articulated in “multiple time scales” that are defined by different micro events (Johannessen, 2010, pp. 131–141). According to articulatory graphetics, a graphic signifier can be analyzed on different levels. In other words, each graphic form (e.g., logo, letterform) is rendered in different levels (stages) which are based on “multiple time scales” (Johannessen, 2010, p. 131). Lemke (2000, 2015) defines these three levels of analysis as (i) macro, (ii) meso, and (iii) micro. The macro level, L+1, is generally considered a higher level and often covers a longer time span; especially for calligraphic letterforms, a combination of letterforms (like a word) caused through juxtaposing at least two letterforms can be analyzed at the macro level, L+1. A meso level, L, is used to analyze the object of inquiry, here letterforms. The micro level, L–1, which is understood as a lower level of analysis, focuses on tiny segments of the letterforms. Based on Lemke’s scheme of levels, to analyze the process of making a letterform, I examine different plausible constitutive events that occur within different intervals or time spans in instances of calligraphic forms. The level at which I divide a communicative event in the process of performance comprises (i) different sub-events. The number of sub-events in Nastaliq varies according to (ii) the number of ink replenishments and thus (iii) the removing of the hand from the paper. In addition to traditional general principles of Nastaliq that determine an approximate number of hand movements to perform each letter, (iv) the quality of tools and (v) substance, as well as (vi) different extents of pressure over the pen by the hand, affect the rate of sub-events in a letterform. This discussion recalls

308 Conclusion the theory of multimodality in which different modal resources are articulated to make an overall integrative and meaningful text. The results of this chapter, which seeks a self-inclusive calligraphic articulation, are as follows: (i) The findings demonstrate compatibility between traditional principles of Nastaliq and general principles in graphics. (ii) The principles defined in the traditional system of Nastaliq calligraphy are directly or indirectly related to the body and various conventions associated with the body. (iii) The system of writing in Persian and Iranian culture is also effective in defining conventions and principles in articulation. (iv) The three factors of affordance – body, substance, and tool – cannot separately function to create communicative events, but rather in close collaboration with each other. (v) This chapter supports the assumptions that suggest Nastaliq letterforms as autonomous graphic forms, interpersonally meaningful in their own structure. (vi) The findings of this chapter also corroborate the authenticity of traditional notions such as circle and plane in Nastaliq calligraphy.

Toward semiotics of Nastaliq calligraphy In Chapter 4, I approach Nastaliq calligraphy from a multimodal social semiotic perspective. Relying on multimodal social semiotics theory, this chapter takes a daring step to regard and describe Nastaliq calligraphy beyond the perspectives of aesthetics and fine arts as a self-determining system in a specific social context with its own principles in meaningmaking. In this step, to describe the regulatory system of Nastaliq and theorize a distinct semiotic system, I use the main concepts and core values of multimodal social semiotics, with an eye to the traditional notions and principles of Nastaliq. This chapter is divided into the main sections described below. Background In this section, I provide background from the theory of multimodal social semiotics, as well as discussion of why I find the theory appropriate to approach Nastaliq and gain the goals of the study. I describe and discuss the key concepts of the theory (i.e., multimodality, social semiotics, mode, sign, meaning-making) and the specific branch I use in this chapter. The branch used is based on the social semiotics theory of communication by Halliday (1978), plus the viewpoints of Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996, 2001, 2002) and Kess (2010) in theorizing meaning. Chapter 4 is divided

Conclusion 309 into several sections, each assigned to one part of the theory. Here, I provide an overview of the major parts of the chapter, those in which I put my attention on the crucial parts of the theory and evaluate the concepts and core values in connection to Nastaliq calligraphy. Semiotics: signs – form and meaning – in Nastaliq calligraphy In this section, which covers semiotics and its core value of sign, I deal with two major strands of Western semiotics, namely, Peirce and de Saussure’s theories of sign, compare the insights of each strand about sign, identify their traces in genesis of the theory of multimodal social semiotics, and apply them in Nastaliq to determine their potential for use in defining signs in calligraphy. Moreover, to define sign – as a merger of form and meaning – first I consider the social and cultural practices in Nastaliq and the resources and material substance involved in the production of calligraphy. Also, I examine the traditional principles, which are rooted in the social, cultural, and historical background of Nastaliq, that are involved in creating forms in Nastaliq. Second, to describe meaning – as another part of sign – the three perspectives of semiosis of meaning-making, multimodality, and specific mode proposed by Kress (2010) are considered. Nastaliq calligraphy as a semiotic mode Considering that meaning is defined based on specific characteristics, features, and principles existing in a specific mode, the next step to theorize meaning is to describe Nastaliq as a specific mode. Mode as one of the fundamental concepts in the theory of multimodal social semiotics is defined as the result of cultural formation of a material. I examine Nastaliq calligraphy based on three prerequisites of mode in social semiotics theory of multimodality, which are performed in the following three steps: 1) Mode in multimodal social semioticsLooking at the phase of Nastaliq over time to peruse social and cultural traces in Nastaliq from its formation to its heyday, and identify social and cultural aspects in it. 2) Identifying semiotic resources of Nastaliq which are rooted in its context. 3) Calligraphy and multimodality. Nastaliq over time: social and cultural traces in Nastaliq calligraphy from its formation to its heyday This section engages with the social and cultural aspects that have influenced Nastaliq over time. Relying on historical works and old reliable treatises in calligraphy, I inspect Nastaliq for its various principles and styles –

310 Conclusion from its formation to its heyday, from the past to contemporary era – and discuss how it is tied to the cultural and social needs as an omnidirectional mirror reflecting different historical periods and socio-cultural changes in its state of origin, Iran. The discussion is a pre-step to describing Nastaliq as consisting of resources that are tightly connected to a specific social and cultural context and vary in tandem with social and cultural changes over time. Semiotic resources of Nastaliq calligraphy This section identifies the semiotic resources of the Nastaliq system. Based on multimodal social semiotics as the theoretical frame of the study, semiotic resources are defined as the “connection between representational resources and what people do with them” (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2001, p. 22). These resources are categorized as a set of activities, principles, materials, and artifacts. In short, both representative agents and the ways used to arrange them into communicative events that are connected to the factors of affordance constitute the semiotic resources. The theoretical issues evoked from the discussion on semiotic resources are as follows: •



Considering the theoretical frame of the study, which is multimodal social semiotics, and the study’s reliance on the viewpoints and insights of Kress and Van Leeuwen in this theory, semiotic resources encompass both representative agents and the ways of arranging them into communicative events. Both stratums of resources interface with the factors of affordance defined in graphetics, which is a diachronic approach used in Chapter 3 to examine calligraphic expression. In essence, the sets of activities, material substance, principles and conventions, and artifacts – considered as the final result of performance in calligraphy and which are all used to reach communicational purposes in Nastaliq – are inherently connected to factors of the body and inevitably encounter the factors of tools and material-substance defined in graphetics. The connection of semiotic resources and biological aspects of the human body reveals a kind of interface between multimodal social semiotics insights and graphetics in terms of the quality of diachronicity in their approach, which is in contrast with the synchronic approach of graphology (used in the corpus analysis, Chapter 2).

Calligraphy and multimodality Another perspective through which one can regard a system of semiotics to theorize meanings is multimodality. In this section, I deal with multimodality as another key concept of the theoretical frame of this study and its correlation with Nastaliq calligraphy. I demonstrate that Nastaliq cannot be isolated and separated from other communicative modes, but as a distinctive

Conclusion 311 semiotic mode, it collaborates with other modes in making meaning potentials. I argue that Nastaliq is not merely about letterforms, but, in fact, is a means of communication with a wide range of affordances, mostly coming as a mix of other semiotic modes such as color, painting/pictorial drawing, photography, and even typography. Holliday’s triple metafunctions as requisites of any semiotic mode According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), acceptance of something as a semiotic mode should be realized through three categories of metafunction, as defined in Halliday’s (1978) systemic functional model. Therefore, to examine whether Nastaliq fulfills another requisite of mode, in Chapter 5, inspired by Kress and Van Leeuwen’s (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 1996; Van Leeuwen, 2006) work on image and typography, I use the trihedral model in systemic functional grammar to examine how calligraphy can be a distinct semiotic mode. Three metafunctions suggested in Halliday’s trihedral mode (1978) are generally discussed and then particularly examined in relation to Nastaliq, and the resources of each metafunction are characterized in Nastaliq calligraphy. I discuss how the equivalent of the ideational, textual, and interpersonal metafunction suggested in Halliday’s model and their resources are evoked in Nastaliq. Each of the three metafunctions, with the resources to which each is linked, is characterized in Nastaliq, with each metafunction being the subject of a separate section: (i) Ideational meta-function: Ideational resources ≤1) Visual form of letter/shape or figure of letter, 2) Ways/principles of configuration of letter, 3) Features of orientation and position in composition, 4) Ways/ principles of connectivity, 5) Baseline’s characteristics. (ii) Interpersonal meta-functions: Interpersonal resources ≤ (1) Size (2) Composition {a. Overall composition/framing; b. Detailed composition} (3) Decorating/ornamental styles (4) Non-letter calligraphic characters (5) Signs of declension and embellishment (6) Punctuation and dot tracing (7) Baseline setting (iii) Textual metafunction: Textual resources ≤ (1) Systems of overall composition (2) Detailed composition (3) Three systems of visual composition, including information value, salience, and framing.

312 Conclusion Interrelated systems The interrelated systems of visual composition, Given and New, Ideal and Real, Center and Margin, Salient and Framing, suggested by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), are applied for comparison to the overall system of composition and framing in Nastaliq – which I characterize as one of the main calligraphic resources to realize interpersonal functions. This model describes any visual composition through a tri-part model of principles that includes “information value” consisting of three subsets of given and new (information value of left and right), ideal and real (information value of top and bottom), Center and Margin, “salience,” and “framing.” I discuss why this model of visual composition is compatible with the principles and rules of overall composition or framing in Nastaliq. In other words, I examine whether the equivalents in this model can be extracted from Nastaliq calligraphy, considering the traditional principles and conventions of Nastaliq, whether in tools, substance, or material, as well as social and cultural factors such as the right to left Persian system of writing and traditional styles of framing in the specific context. Toward a distinct feature analysis According to Jakobson and Halle (1956), phonemes – minimal units of speech – are a package or, in the words of Van Leeuwen (2006), a bundle that comprises distinctive characteristics, each with its own potentials in meaning-making. Van Leeuwen (1999) and Kress and Van Leeuwen (2002) use Jakobson and Halle’s theory of phonemes to describe units of sound and color to explain them as distinctive semiotic modes. In Chapter 6, I apply this theory to Nastaliq resources and determine distinctive features and their potentials in meaning-making. However, before specifying the distinctive characteristics of semiotic resources in Nastaliq, I discuss the principles of medium in this calligraphy by providing a discussion on connotation and metaphor and the ways through which these principles can be applied in Nastaliq resources. According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2001, 2002), there are two levels at which a semiotic resource can be organized: mode or medium; “if a semiotics resource is organized as a mode, it has both a grammar and a ‘lexis’. If it is organized as medium, it has only lexis” (Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 145). Therefore, although in Chapters 4 and 5 I examine Nastaliq through different systematic frameworks in the light of multimodal social semiotics and describe it as a systemic system of semiotics with various semiotic resources, I regard Nastaliq from another perspective and challenge it through principles of organization in the medium as well. Nastaliq calligraphy as a medium? According to Kress and Van Leeuwen (2002), a semiotic resource can be organized as a medium through “one of two principles of connotation or

Conclusion 313 experiential metaphor” (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2002; Van Leeuwen, 2006, p. 146). Relying on these two principles, in this section, I discuss and show how and under what conditions a semiotic resource (e.g., punctuation or compositional style as classified in Chapter 5) can fulfill the prerequisites of a medium and potentially connote specific meanings or metaphorically imply specific experiences. Connotation As the first step, I examine one rule of medium, namely, the connotation in which a semiotic resource expresses/recalls/refers to specific ideas and values associated with another context (e.g., specific social/cultural/historical context, specific group, specific period of time). I show how in Nastaliq semiotic resources such as punctuation and framing can function as a medium through borrowing characteristics and values from a particular context and entering them in another context, namely, the domain of Nastaliq. Experiential metaphor Experimental metaphor is another principle through which a semiotic resource can be organized as a medium; it refers to the idea of meaning potential which is derived from the work of Lakoff and Johnson (1980). In this idea, a material signifier finds meaning through “what we do when we articulate it, and from our ability to extend our physical experience metaphorically, to turn action into knowledge” (Van Leeuwen, 2005b, 2006, p. 146) (in Chapter 3, I refer to this idea in articulatory graphetics). Based on this idea, I discuss and demonstrate how a distinctive style of writing in Nastaliq, such as Siyah-Mashq/black practice – characterized as a distinct semiotic resource in Nastaliq – can be used as a medium in which meaning comes through the principles of experiential metaphor and signifies a sense or meaning by recalling a particular experience. Significant result points in this section include the following: •



Since Nastaliq is a sum total of resources that in addition to materials and physical activities include different ways of organization – as identified and classified in Chapters 4 and 5 – it cannot be confined by the existence of its resources and their coherent values, but instead it has systematic principles by which different semiotic resources can be mixed to create infinite compositional forms. Therefore, Nastaliq as a whole has both grammar and lexis, so it can be seen as a mode rather than a medium. Nastaliq is constructed from a combinatory system with different yet finite distinct visual forms/elements from which an infinite variety of forms and compositions is produced.

314 Conclusion •



Each semiotic resource derived from Nastaliq (e.g., composition, framing, embellishment-elements) can be individually organized as a medium and considered a substance of organized distinct resources that can realize meaning through one of the two ad hoc and unsystematic ways of connotation or experiential metaphor, but the sum total of Nastaliq as an integration of various resources cannot be considered a medium and analyzed through an ad hoc system. Consequently, as a result of applying the rules of a medium, Nastaliq can be regarded as a multi-medium that comprises distinctive mediums, each having its own subsets and separate province.

Distinctive characteristic in Nastaliq semiotic mode In this section, I explore semiotic resources to identify the packages/bundles into which they are placed. I also suggest the word callie in calligraphy as an equivalent of unit/module, or what Van Leeuwen (2006) calls a bundle in phonetics. Then I unfold these packages to identify their content, namely, the different features that have various semiotic potentials. To identify distinct characteristics, I consider all 12 traditional basic principles of Nastaliq and the set of semiotic resources classified in Chapter 5, based on the graphic conventions of graphetics and the three factors of affordance, as well as the primary techniques and qualities in visual communication (e.g. in Dondis, 1973; Kandinsky, 1947 [1929]). I suggest 20 dual opposite features, each explained in a separate section. The suggested list is neither exclusive nor definite. Of course, it is not a lexicon through which we can realize the meaning of different forms of calligraphy in a pure and exclusive way. However, it can be seen as an openended inventory or starting place to specify bundles/callies of Nastaliq and their potentials in meaning-making or as a model that semiotizes the visual form of the Nastaliq mode and separates it from its lexical linguistic meaning, rather than authorizing a conclusive and ultimate lexicon for it.

Conclusion Based on the assumptions derived from the perspective of multimodality that (i) meaning is not only made in language but everywhere (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2001, p. 111), (ii) in different representational and communicative modes (Jewitt, 2009), and that (iii) each offers distinct ways of engaging with the world and thus has distinct potentials to present the world (Kress, 2010, p. 96), I ask whether calligraphy in general and Nastaliq calligraphy in particular can be described as an autonomous system of meaning-making or as a distinct mode of semiotics that offers distinct potential to represent the world, regardless of linguistic practices (which are traditionally) embedded in language.

Conclusion 315 What is understood? What is not? Here, I attempt to answer the research questions and conclude whether I have achieved the aims; I also evaluate the results gained in each step, and mentioned in previous chapters, to determine whether they support the hypotheses. Although each chapter of the thesis has its own conclusion part and I mention the results of each phase, here I explicitly return to the research questions of the thesis and answer them based on the results. The first question can be answered by considering the results gained – in Chapter 3 – in the diachronic approach toward Nastaliq calligraphy through applying the theory of articulatory graphetics suggested by Johannessen (2010). The results show that all five universal graphic conventions suggested in graphetics are explicitly manifested in Nastaliq calligraphic principles. Furthermore, the three factors of affordance – body, tools, and substance – based on which articulatory graphetics is established – function in Nastaliq forms, whether in enacting principles and conventions used in performance or in tool preparation. Moreover, the three levels of analysis (macro/L+, meso/L, and micro/L–1) used for analyzing graphetic communicative events fit the process of creating communicative events in calligraphic forms. Even though Nastaliq calligraphy fulfills all conventions suggested in graphetics and it does not break the principles and rules of graphetics articulation, the results reveal some specific qualifications through which a kind of specificity can be manifested in Nastaliq articulation and distinguish calligraphic forms from other types of graphic forms. For instance, in analysis of communicative events of letterforms based on three levels, beside the time scale, I suggest other levels based on the modality/quality of the material substance (ink, paper), tool (using different parts of the pen), and body movement (based on the number of hand movements in a given letterform). I also mention conventions that are tied to the system of writing in the Persian language and Iranian cultural aspects such as mysticism. Therefore, all the results achieved from graphetic analysis demonstrate that Nastaliq conforms to the universal set of graphic conventions and it manifests additional specific characteristics that make its articulation unique. Thus, the graphetics articulation generally used for graphic forms applies to Nastaliq and demonstrates Nastaliq forms as graphic forms, but it cannot be used as a thoroughgoing structural system that particularly covers all aspects of Nastaliq. In this sense, one can generally consider Nastaliq calligraphic forms as graphic forms that confirm all general conventions in articulatory graphetics, but suggest extra conventions derived from the specific traditions and cultural context that suggest a particular articulation. Therefore, I provide a daring suggestion, that is, Calligraphetics, which is not only an equivalent of graphetics and concerned with the physical attributes of calligraphic forms and the visual output of calligraphic forms as a whole, but also an articulation derived from and subordinate to articulatory graphetics that

316 Conclusion suggests principles and conventions particularly used in dynamic calligraphic letterforms (e.g., varied principles and conventions transformative in any specific kind of calligraphy). In this meaning, calligraphetics does not contravene graphetics but suggests additional conventions based on the nature of calligraphy. In other words, while it generally complies with graphetics general conventions, it also suggests conventions and principles that specifically apply in calligraphic forms. In another meaning, one can say that calligraphetics is a specific version of graphetics which is domesticated based on the specific context of calligraphy applied in calligraphic forms – which themselves are a subset of graphic forms. The results achieved from the two systems of SHAPE and ENSHAPENING show the extent of compatibility with the schema used for graphic forms and the amount of curvedness and straightness in letter shapes. The results also demonstrate the authenticity of the traditional theories of Circle and Plane and Savad and Bayaz in calligraphic forms and the extent to which traditional notions are describable through theories used for graphic forms. Although these two schema are generally appropriate for our purpose to distinguish variables in different regions of letterforms, they have some constraints in confronting Nastaliq letterforms due to the high level of dynamism and delicacy in calligraphic forms. To address these shortcomings (e.g., in analyzing figure complexity between conjoined and compound shapes among dotted letterforms and letters with tilted strokes), I suggest conventions that can be structured as a new system particularly used for calligraphic forms. Therefore, I prospectively suggest a new subject I label Calligraphology to identify the organization/structure of units/modules of calligraphy. Calligraphology is inspired by the graphology that deals with systematic organization of units of calligraphic forms and the potential meanings they imply. In a sense, I tie Calligraphology to graphology and argue that Calligraphology is a subset or sub-branch of graphology, which suggests extra conventions specifically applied to calligraphic forms and variation in different types of calligraphy. The conventions that conform to the traditional principles and general rules of Nastaliq are: (i) The substantial components in Nastaliq are circle (equivalent to un-straight lines defined in the SHAPE system) and plane (equivalent to straight lines defined in the SHAPE system). (ii) There is a kind of continuity and duration in calligraphic forms in that a virtual circular motion is associated with an assumptive circle. (iii) There is no absolute straight line in Nastaliq except when the cross-section of the reed pen is directly used through one individual motion to create a perfect and flawless straight line; this happens usually at the beginning or end of letterforms when the movement of the cross-section of the pen is over. (iv) The most important rule is the rule of one fifth (1:5 ratio) that suggests the proportion of planes and circular motions in a calligraphic form. Overall, the results of graphetic analysis and graphology demonstrate compatibility between the traditional principles of Nastaliq and the general

Conclusion 317 principles in graphics and, accordingly, demonstrate that Nastaliq calligraphic forms can be understood as visual graphic forms. Subsequently, the results support the hypotheses that affiliate Nastaliq letterforms with graphic forms and their independence from linguistic practices, as well as the assumptions seeking to corroborate the authenticity of traditional notions (Circle and Plane, Savad and Bayaz). Therefore, this is learned from following the path of accountability resulting from the first and second research questions. The third main part of this thesis – Chapters 4, 5, and 6 – addresses the third research question that seeks to understand the extent to which calligraphic forms can be identified as a distinct semiotic mode, independent of linguistic meanings embedded in letters, with its own specific resources and principles. The results achieved from the third phase, namely, approaching calligraphy from the multimodal social semiotics perspective, demonstrate Nastaliq as a cultural visual expression in the format of a set of resources that follow special disciplines to carry out social and cultural concepts and realize meaning. Relying on the results gained through the process of applying multimodal social semiotics from the perspectives of semiotics, multimodality, and specific mode, as well as Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics, I conclude that Nastaliq calligraphy fulfills the requisites of a semiotic mode; it comprises a set of resources and specific principles that represent social and cultural practices. In a multimodal text (e.g., poster, computer screen, website page), calligraphy functions as a distinct semiotic mode (like image, writing, typography, color, and sound) in collaboration with other modes to create a meaningful integrated text. As an embodiment of cultural social values, it is effective in meaning-making and conveying the overall meaning of the given multimodal text. Therefore, the last assumption that Nastaliq can be explained as an independent system of meaning in its own articulation, and specifically be considered a distinct semiotic mode made of different modal resources with distinct potentials in making meanings, is substantiated by this dissertation. Any semiotic resource (e.g., any individual principle in composition or configuration of letterforms) in Nastaliq can function individually as a medium and realize meaning through metaphor or connotation. According to the results from identifying distinctive features of Nastaliq, in Chapter 6, inspired by Kress and Van Leeuwen (2002) definition of units in phonetics, I suggest the term Callie – equivalent to bundle suggested by Jakobson and Halle (1956, in Van Leeuwen, 2006) for phonemes in phonetics – to refer to a unit/module or pack of meaning in Nastaliq calligraphy as a minimal unit of calligraphy comprising different characteristics, each with potentials to imply meaning. The overarching results achieved in different phases of the thesis and contested assumptions are discussed below.

318 Conclusion In today’s era of computer screens and software, calligraphy does not refer only to calligraphic forms; rather, it is an autonomous subject in the area of visual communication and visual semiotics. Considering the neverending evolution of tools – and of course conventions and principles of their use – as well as transformation of social-cultural practices, calligraphy can be seen as a collaboration between traditional and new tools of visual expression, as an intelligent visual expression of social-cultural practices in the world. Although in my study I try to release calligraphy from the authority of linguistic practices, making it free from merely serving the language mode, and demonstrate its dependence on language, calligraphy can be a result of collaborating with various modes such as language. In other words, calligraphy as a distinct semiotic mode can function as an intelligent visual expression of the mode of language. This thesis is an exploratory adventure to develop humans’ visual literacy and train them to better understand visual expression, which is necessarily involved with communication. Visual literacy is not an ad hoc achievement, so to develop it, one must examine different and various approaches in social, cultural, and psychological theories and in methods used in training the artist/craftsperson, as well as the physiological aspects of a human being. The main characteristics of visual literacy, visual perception, and visual systems that can be derived from this area as a whole are complexity and mutability. Therefore, in every phase of a visual exploration, one must take into consideration and be aware that a visual system cannot ever be an explicit, absolute system like language in which a predetermined explicit logic works to imply meanings and decode information. This fact does not deny that one can always manifest, categorize, and systematize what has been working in visual forms and re-examine theories and methodologies of teaching and learning in visual forms to suggest appropriate structural systems for visual forms and advance the development of visual literacy, which “can help us to see what we see and know what we know” (Dondis, 1973, p. 19).

Prospective perspectives This book opens a window for further questions and research. For instance, to substantiate Calligraphetics and Calligraphology – which are somehow immature articulations – as authentic and stable theories particularly used for any type of calligraphy and to understand whether these articulations and theories reach their potentials for analyzing calligraphic forms, suggestions for further work are as follows: (i) Future studies can apply graphology and graphetics to other types of calligraphy (e.g., Western or Oriental calligraphic forms) and (ii) re-examine

Conclusion 319 Calligraphetics and Calligraphology for their authenticity and applicability to any type of calligraphy and to a stable theory of articulation especially used for calligraphy. (ii) Another interesting future subject is the process of perception and directly addressing and involving the audience in graphic articulation in general and calligraphic articulation in particular. In other words, researchers should investigate the link between visual perception and calligraphic articulation to examine whether adding the factor of perception brings changes and new conventions in the process of communicative events in calligraphic articulation. (iii) Further study can also include an inquiry into the role of linguistics practices – conventions and principles in composing letters in language – in variations of conventions in calligraphic articulation. (iv) Future studies can also investigate the advent of calligraphic software and, accordingly, digital production of calligraphic forms, to determine their influence on conventions and traditional principles of calligraphy, as well as general conventions in articulatory graphetics and graphology (and their equivalent in calligraphy, namely, Calligraphetics and Calligraphology). Finally, a lot of work remains to be done to understand whether the theories, terms, and subjects proposed in this area can prove their authenticity and full potential for evaluation of calligraphic forms in different types and levels. Also, many insights remain to challenge and develop these suggested theories and methods of analysis for calligraphy.

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Index

Abasid Caliphate 5 Abdol-Majid Taleghani 163, 165, 167–168 acting body 39, 41, 48, 50, 52, 66, 92, 303 actual ascent 60 actual descent 60 adjunct 159, 169; property 162; subsidiary 166; texts 162 affordance 10, 17, 22, 39, 40–41, 48, 76; factors of 51, 78, 87; material 14; source of 48, 50, 65 agility 279–280 Amirkhani, G. H. 125, 127–128 Arabic scripts 4–5, 227, 251–252 Arnheim 16, 24, 32, 300 articulation 47–48; calligraphetic 18, 42, 48; calligraphic 47, 49–50, 85, 92–93, 308, 319; graphetic 16–17; graphic 70, 75, 87; Nastaliq 8, 52, 98, 136, 315 articulatory graphetics 16–17, 39, 40–46 articulatory phonetics 47, 303 Asian visualizations 194 asymmetry 229, 265–267 asynchronic rule 134 augmentation 191–193 Avestan scripts 4 axiom 134 Baba-Shah Isfahani 52–53, 58, 60, 62–66, 74, 76, 85, 304 back sectors 82 balance: equilibrium 259, 260–265 baseline setting 230–231; ground-field 55, 60, 304 Bezemer, J. 10, 13 bluntness 288–290 body-support 75, 305 boldness 229, 236, 239, 268, 280

Cabochon-inlaying: Morasae-floriated 219–220, 242 callie 258–259, 293, 314, 316 Calligraphetics 315–316, 318–319 Calligraphology 316, 318–319 center and margin 163, 178, 192–196 Chalipa: cross scribing 207, 211, 242, 271, 277, 279, 283 Chandler, D. 107–112, 115–116 circle and plane 8–9, 14–15, 20–22, 28–29, 37, 54, 60, 93, 297, 299 communicative events 16, 18, 39, 41–43, 46, 48, 81–82, 85–87, 92–93, 100, 113–115, 138, 298, 302 complex sign 102–103 compound forms 11–12, 20, 52, 205, 229, 260–261, 269 concise nib 80 conjoined shape 31, 36 connotation 249–252 consistency 282–283 continuity 290–291 contour shape 31 control 70–73 conversion 282–283 Coptic scripts 5 cornices 5 corpus analysis 20–38 cross-section 66–67, 169, 116 crotch of the pen 81 crucial principles 15 cuneiform 4 curved motions 52–53, 55, 58, 93, 304 dang 160, 169, 172, 193, 209, 231 DANG and DOUR 15 darkness and brightness 239 de Saussure, F. 107, 108; theory of sign 110–115

Index delicacy 22, 24, 26, 29, 30, 34, 38, 93, 125, 280, 288 demand picture 180, 184, 185 detailed composition 172–173, 214–215, 235, 241–242, 269, 270, 311 diachronic approach 299, 210, 310, 315 differential potential effects 120 dignity 15, 46, 60, 83, 122 diminution 292 distinct semiotic mode 119–122 distortion 239, 284–285 Dondis, D. A. 16, 24, 136, 258, 265, 267, 300, 314, 318 double row scribing 173, 241–242 ecological approach 17, 40, 114, 302 ENSHAPENING 8–9, 16, 18, 20–23, 29, 31–32, 34, 36–38 epigraphs 5, 79, 198, 199–200, 274 episodicity 290–291 equilibrium 57, 64, 71, 259–265 equivalency 259–260, 266 ergonomic efficiency 59–70 experiential meaning 152, 158, 234 experiential metaphor 250–251, 253–256, 258, 264, 313–314 extensive letterforms 12, 296 factors of affordance 39–40, 51, 78, 87, 92, 93, 113–115, 302 Farsi 11, 100, 106, 109 Fazaeli, H. 4–5, 122–124 flatness 285–288 flourished method 220 fragmentation 224, 239, 269–272 framing 172–178 frugality 274–275 Ghate/Piece/Segment 161, 169 Ghazi Monshi 4, 15 ghobar 79, 161–162, 164–167, 169, 172 Gibson, J. J. 17, 40, 48, 78, 114, 302–303 gilding 138, 197, 211, 219, 223, 297 given and new 178, 179–186 glossy paper 69, 85 Gnostic 53, 304 grammatical approach 104–105 graphetics 16, 19n11 graphology 16, 19n10 Halliday, M. A. K. 14, 105–107, 121–122, 143–144

327

having seat 231 Hebrew 180, 194 heterogeneous integrated letterforms 54, 72 Hurufism 55, 94n2 Ibn Muqla Shirazi 5–6, 52, 54, 85, 229, 248n27 ideal and real 178, 186–192 Ideational metafunctions 148–158; Ideational resources 149–158 Iedema, R. 13 inactivity 279–280 individual letterforms 11 indulgence 274–275 information value 178–196 ink replenishments 81, 88–89, 307 inlaying 219–222 inscription/epigraph 196–200 instability 259–265 intensity/strengthens/thickness 60, 64, 304 interpersonal metafunction 147, 159, 160, 167, 229, 234, 241; interpersonal resources 159, 215, 222, 227, 229, 230, 235, 241–242, 311 interpretant 107, 115–116 intonation 280–281 intricacy 272–274 irregularity 169, 206, 213, 268–269 Isfahani, G. R. 4, 6, 199, 201, 208, 211, 235 Jakobson, R. and Halle, M. 258, 293, 298, 312, 317 Jali/Glorious/Splendid/Majestic 161, 166, 169–172 Jewitt, C. 3, 10, 13, 16, 21, 98, 99, 120–122, 134, 139, 152, 235, 296 Johannessen, C. M. 8, 10, 16–17, 20–22, 24, 30–31, 37 juxtaposition 14, 55, 265, 272, 277, 285 Kalhor Mohammad-Reza 6, 123, 124, 125, 126–132 Kandinsky, W. 136, 258, 314 ketabat/scribing 161, 164, 167, 169; ketabat/scribing framing 173–175 Khafi/Hidden 161, 168–180 Kress, G. 10–11, 13–14, 16, 46, 82–83, 97–99, 102–107, 113, 116–118, 121–123, 133, 147 Kufic 5, 102, 217

328 Index Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. 253, 313 Lemke, J. L. 16, 40, 87, 297–298, 302, 307 lexis 249, 312 linguistic approaches 104, 148 lithography 1, 102, 124–125, 127, 129 logical meaning 152 lopsided shape 72 Lutz, H. R. 1 macro level 78, 307 Martinec, R. 3 massive shape 31 material substance 41, 43, 47–48, 50, 52, 65–66, 71–73, 75, 77, 83 McLean, R. 3 meaning potential 47, 93n1, 98, 105 medium 249–253, 256–258, 293 Meidani, M. 1, 4 meso level 87, 308 meta-vision principles 95, 144n1 Micro-scribing 173, 242 micro level 87, 307 Mir-Ali-Tabrizi 6, 122 Mirza-Gholamreza-Isfahani 6 mode 21, 38n1 Mohaghegh 7 Mohammad Hossein Seifi Qazvini 35, 208, 212, 257, 278, 282, 191 multimodal social semiotics 12–14; multimodality 98–99; social semiotic theory of multimodality 96–98; social semiotics 99 Muthalthal/Mosalsal 217–219 Muthanna 217 Mystery or crux 218

Peirce, Charles Sanders 107–110, 115–118 Pens of Principle 5 phonemic 48 phonetics articulation 47 positive shape 30 precision 283–285 predicator 159 profoundness 285–287 punctuation 229–230 randomness 287–288 realistic rise 15, 146n12 recipient/perceiver 43–47 reed pen: qalam 65–69, 94n8 regularity 268–269 representamen 115–116 representational meaning 152 Reqa 215, 246n26 Reyhan 5, 7 rhythm 15, 60

offer picture 180, 183–184 Ormavi, S. 4, 15 overstatement 175–176

salience 235–237 Sarfasli/Rubric 161, 169 satisfaction 83, 144n1 Savad and Bayaz (Black and Blank) 15, 21–22, 34, 38, 94n6 second letterforms 11, 19n7 semiosis of meaning-making 107, 119, 143–144, 299, 309 sensory-motor 46 sequentiality 287–288 SHAPE 16, 20–23; see also corpus analysis sharpness 288–290 Shekasteh-Nastaliq 7, 190, 209, 226, 272, 274, 289 simplicity 272–274 singularity 285 Siyah-Mashq 15, 34, 38n2 Soltan Ali Mashhadi 52–53, 63, 65, 76–77, 85 standardization 277–279 sub-events 88–90, 307 Sufism 155 symmetry 265–268 synchronic approaches 298–299 Syriac scripts 5

Pahlavi scripts 4 painting-calligraphy 7, 19n4 paper 69–70

Taliq 100, 145n3 Tashmir 60, 94n7 tenet 15, 60, 94n5

Naskh 5–6, 100, 122, 165 negative shape 30 neutrality 280–281 non-letter calligraphic characters 222–227 Nørgaard, N. 3, 13, 148, 152, 159 Nuqtavi 53, 55, 94n3

Index

329

textual metafunction 122, 147, 234–235; textual resources 235, 240–242, 311 thickness and thinness 15, 60, 64–65, 94n4 Thuluth 217–218 Toqi 5, 218 Toqra 141, 215–217 Transparency 281, 282

Van Leeuwen, T. 1, 3, 10, 12–13, 16, 82–83, 105, 120–122, 133–134, 136, 147–148, 152, 159, 167, 178–180, 185, 186–189, 191, 193, 199, 235–236 virtual ascent 58–60, 304 virtual descent 58–60, 304

unification 269–272

Yaghoot Mostasami 5, 77, 82

wild-nip 160