Design a Calligraphic Plate
Design a calligraphic plate using Arabic script and images inspired by a meaningful word.
Objective: In this lesson, students create a kit’alar composed of the initials of their first and last name in Arabic.
Content Standards (California): HSS 7.2.3: Explain the significance of the Qur’an and the Sunnah as the primary sources of Islamic beliefs, practice, and law, and their influence in Muslims’ daily life. HSS 7.2.4: Discuss the expansion of Muslim rule through military conquests and treaties, emphasizing the cultural blending within Muslim civilization and the spread and acceptance of Islam and the Arabic language. VPA/VA 6.2.5: Select specific media and processes to express moods, feelings, themes, or ideas.
Arabic Alphabet handout, rectangular cardboard, light brown paper (pre-cut so the dimensions are smaller than the cardboard), tempura paint, decorative wrapping paper, brushes, glue, and lined paper.
With simple beginnings in the pre-Islamic period, Arabic script developed rapidly after the rise of Islam into not only a writing system but also an art form. The writing and reading of Arabic has a central role in Islam. Because the revelations of God to Muhammad were in Arabic, it became the language of Islam and has a central role in the religion. In the first chapter of the Koran, God is described as “most generous, teaching by the pen” (96/3-4), and God is often described in Islamic poetry as the eternal calligrapher. Because of its religious significance, and perhaps because of an early Islamic prohibition against the depiction of animals and people, Arabic script took on an important role as decoration.
A kit’alar is a calligraphic work written on a rectangular piece of paper pasted onto a cardboard backing. Equal margins are left around the calligraphy in which the artist decorates with marbled paper (ebru) or illumination.
For Middle School Students Only:
Have students create a reed.
For Elementary School Students:
Have students paint over the letters with black tempura ink.