From November 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011, the McGill Islamic Studies Library presented an Islamic Calligraphy Exhibition. The physical exhibition included sixteen items representing various styles of Arabic calligraphy. From dry black and white calligraphy of the 10th century to colorful illuminated pieces of the 19th century, it recounted a brief history of Arabic/Islamic calligraphy. The collections are from McGill University’s Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) and the Islamic Studies Library (ISL) holdings located in RBSC.
The most outstanding piece exhibited was a Qur’anic parchment written in Kūfī/Early Abbassid script from the 10th or11th century. It is one of the very few early Abbasid/Kūfī items held by the McGill Library. The remaining objects, vary from calligraphy panels, leaves, a single karalama (a specimen for testing the nib of a calamus) to richly illuminated calligraphy albums. The Islamic Studies Library is pleased to make this exhibition now available online.