عنوان مقاله [English]
Decorative Kufic is one of the most archaic scripts utilized in the architectural inscriptions of Islamic buildings. Elegance and beauty of the decorative Kufic script is well-documented in Persian inscriptions, esp. Heydarieh and Jame (Congregation) mosques in Qazvin, both dating back to Seljuk dynasty. The present study aims to identify and extract all letters found in these inscriptions and to investigate their decorative and structural features, as well as any similarities or differences. We try to answer the following questions:
How are written, geometric or vegetal decorative uses of the Kufic script similar or different in these two inscriptions?
Have structure and design of Kufic inscriptions in Heydarieh and Jame mosques affected one another?
The present study is descriptive-analytic, but it is laboratory-based as well, and it is aided by field observations. The findings indicate that there are some common features in written structure and vegetal decorations of the inscriptions. Heydarieh mosque was built a few years later than Jame mosque, and consequently some influences can be traced in its inscriptions. In Heydarieh’s inscription, geometric designs as well as written and vegetal decorations are employed. It excels in decoration, utilizing a new structure with slant letters, and geometric and connective knots which demonstrates the advances in the structure of the Persian Kufic script. Due to the explanatory power manifested in the structure of these two buildings, a sort of strength, coherence and balance is felt in the architectural space of these buildings. These prominent features can be employed by graphic designers to devise new letters and patterns.
The stucco Kufic inscriptions of these monuments (Heydarieh and Jame mosques) date back to Seljuk dynasty, and their basic components and structural features can be categorized into three sections: a) written b) geometric, and c) vegetal.
If you examine and compare the letters of both inscriptions in vertical, horizontal, and diagonal axes- as well as round, curved, and angled movements of letters in harmony with geometric designs- you will notice that all letters are in a geometric mold. The letter designing standards are precisely and creatively observed. This reminds us of the skill of ancient letter designers or calligraphers whose precious heritage may guide the modern letter designers. As well as straight and angled lines, curved and ornamental features are also evident in these inscriptions. For instance, the Kufic letter Ain (ع) in both inscriptions follows a circular structure and format which creates main and virtual grids with the base line; quite similar to modern letter designs such as monogram and logotype. Since decorative Kufic script enjoys a geometric structure, the artists were simultaneously able to precisely and proportionately expand circles and angles in all directions of the inscription. Kufic scripts are highly applicable on different surfaces, using different materials and techniques. The stuccos in Heydarieh and Jame mosques employ foliated Kufic script, with a beautiful and varied structure, on a vegetal background in which all letters and words end in decorative and arabesque leaves.
Observing a definite structure is a prerequisite for any work of art which is subjected to specific principles and rules. One of the main constituents of inscriptions is simultaneous incorporation of written, geometric and vegetal decoration, but there are other components which should also be taken into account including: placement, ratio and relation of the inscription to the building space, and the location of religious and non-religious architecture in the urban space which emphasize the status of inscriptions among the Muslims. It can be noted that in Seljuk dynasty, inscription makers -as calligraphy artists and letter designing specialists- felt free to introduce structural and aesthetical innovations to Kufic inscriptions.
After examining the letters of these two precious inscriptions, it can be concluded that in order to create a set of letters, the artists or calligraphers of any historical period are obliged to create a geometrical mold in which the thickness of letters in two fonts (thick, and slender) are observed. Even the combination of two structures with different angles and curvature can lead to designing innovative letters and decorative signs. All the above factors depend on the structural rules, execution limitations, and precise proportions regarding the base line, as well as creating a virtual grid of horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines.