Study of Grid in Two Banna'i Inscriptions of Goharshad Mosque and Its Application in Designing the Letters

Writing system has been evolved during several centuries and through several stages, each stage requiring decades and hundreds of years. The most complete level of a writing system is the alphabetic writing system. Calligraphy has historically been dependent on the culture of a nation. Calligraphy is considered as a national art; therefore, it has been affected by turning points. One of these major developments is the advent of Islam and its spread to various regions. The Kufic script is the oldest Islamic writing system. The most common type of the Kufic script is the brick script, called the Banna’i or the masonry Kufic script. The masonry script is considered as a kind of angular Kufic script which is designed on the basis of checkered squares and is created from geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles, parallel and crossover lines. The masonry script is one of these items. This type of Kufic script is seen in ancient buildings and mosques, especially those belonging to the Timurid period, including the Goharshad Mosque. Many studies have been conducted on masonry script, but none have specifically addressed the work basis of this script and in particular the inscriptions of the Goharshad Mosque. Banna’i is a kind of script which has a surface; it is not distant, and is often used in buildings. The bases on which Banna’i is used often include tiles, inscriptions and buildings in general. Besides various scripts such as thuluth, decorative kufic, Naskh and etc., Banna’i script is used to decorate various buildings. In Banna’i script, the letters are arranged within different hypothetical frames and boxes, such as square, rectangular, circle, rhombus, and polygon. Banna’i script may simply be compared to the seat of the field in a direct and horizontal shape. In others, the seat of the field is not always straightforward or direct, but the letters can rotate around a hypothetical frame, or in some cases combinations of a word can be written with straight seats and other combinations in a portrait state; in a way that create a 90 degrees angle with the seat of the field line. So, in Banna’i script, plenty of the used seats and even the words are mounted on each other. The use of word repetition and spin is another feature of Banna’i script inscriptions. Symmetry and mirroring in Banna’i are among the most important principles. Asma al-Husna (God’s best names) and Imams’ names have been repeatedly used with the similar rhythm and symmetrical movements in Banna’i script. One of the most important features of Banna’i script is the importance of positive and negative spaces. In Banna’i inscriptions, the negative space is as important as the positive one; in some ways, the negative space between the inscriptions is also read. The purpose of this research was to study and examine two masonry Kufic scripts of the Mosque of Goharshad and its work basis in designing Persian letters. Grid is a regular network with foundational capability. Grid is known in Persian as work basis, model and frame. Grid is regarded as the foundation and basis of today’s graphic design. In fact, grid is a network-like system and device; it creates a rule-based and geometric system with a series of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines that appear in parallel on a single page and render creation process of the work structured. The design of letters is closely related to the recognition of geometry of the letters. In designing letters, it is more than necessary to know the features of the Persian writing system. To understand these features, one should study the shape and geometry of each letter and compare it with other items. In this regard, it is important to know the types of connections of Persian letters. The research method is descriptive-analytical, drawing on library and field research, and the data were analyzed qualitatively based on logic and reasoning. Here there are two questions: 1. What are the main features of the Kufic script?  2. What is the effective factor of Kufic script of the Goharshad mosque in designing contemporary letters? Based on the research on Banna'i inscriptions of Goharshad mosque and according to their features, the result implied that the Kufic Banna'i script has a great geometric capability and a substantial graphic structure since it is always depicted on a grid. Being set up on the grid and the plaid network allows the Banna'i script to have a calculated size. Banna'i script has a major role in creating graphic works such as designing the letters and signs which is due to having features such as regularity and proportionality, as well as assigning some factors such as height of the letters, the space between the letters and etc.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Negareh journal, Volume:15 Issue: 53, 2020
71 - 83  
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