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Title: Kufic  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Maghrebi script, Flag of Iraq, Indian calligraphy, Hijazi script, Mashq
Collection: Arabic Calligraphy, World Digital Library Related
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Kufic script, 8th or 9th century (Surah 48: 27–28) Qur'an.

Kufic is the oldest calligraphic form of the various Arabic scripts and consists of a modified form of the old Nabataean script. Kufic developed around the end of the 7th century in Kufa, Iraq, from which it takes its name, and other centres.[1] Until about the 11th century it was the main script used to copy Qur'ans.[1] Professional copyists employed a particular form of kufic for reproducing the earliest surviving copies of the Qur'an, which were written on parchment and date from the 8th to 10th centuries.[2]


  • Occurrence 1
    • Square or geometric Kufic 1.1
  • Western imitations 2
  • Gallery 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Kufic script used in a copy of the Qur'an

Kufic was prevalent in manuscripts from the 7th to 10th centuries.[3]

Kufic is commonly seen on Seljuk coins and monuments and on early Ottoman coins. Its decorative character led to its use as a decorative element in several public and domestic buildings constructed prior to the Republican period in Turkey.

The current flag of Iraq uses Kufic script to write الله أكبر Allahu Akbar.

Square or geometric Kufic

Square or geometric Kufic is a very simplified rectangular style of Kufic widely used for tiling. In Iran sometimes entire buildings are covered with tiles spelling sacred names like those of God, Muhammad and Ali in square Kufic, a technique known as banna'i.[4]

Western imitations

"Pseudo-Kufic", also "Kufesque", refers to imitations of the Kufic script, made in a non-Arabic context, during the Middle Ages or the Renaissance: "Imitations of Arabic in European art are often described as pseudo-Kufic, borrowing the term for an Arabic script that emphasizes straight and angular strokes, and is most commonly used in Islamic architectural decoration".[5]


See also


  1. ^ a b "Arabic scripts". British Museum. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "The Spirit of Islam: Experiencing Islam through Calligraphy". UBC Museum of Anthropology. Retrieved 13 March 2013. 
  3. ^ ؟
  4. ^ Jonathan M. Bloom; Sheila Blair (2009). The Grove encyclopedia of Islamic art and architecture. Oxford University Press. pp. 101, 131, 246.  
  5. ^ Mack, p.51


  • Mack, Rosamond E. Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300–1600, University of California Press, 2001 ISBN 0-520-22131-1
  • Wolfgang Kosack: Islamische Schriftkunst des Kufischen. Geometrisches Kufi in 593 Schriftbeispielen. Deutsch – Kufi – Arabisch. Christoph Brunner, Basel 2014, ISBN 978-3-906206-10-3.

External links

  • Square Kufic lectures: alphabet (stylized), examples, square designs
  • Kufic manuscript alphabet
  • On The Origins Of The Kufic Script
  • Kufic Script
  • Square Kufic Script
  • Square Kufic
  • Square Kufic explained
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