Winners of Iranian calligraphy biennial honored with tribute to Emad al-Kottab

October 19, 2021 - 18:8

TEHRAN – The 6th Iranian International Calligraphy Biennial honored its top calligraphers on Monday in Qazvin with a tribute to Emad al-Kottab, a prominent artist who lived most of his professional life during the 19th century.

The biennial was organized nationwide this year due to the pandemic as winners received their awards from Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad-Mehdi Esmaeili during the ceremony that took place at Chehel-Sotun Palace.

In the Nastaliq style category, Mostafa Abedini, Mohammad-Javad Shokuhi and Hamed Fqihi took first to third places.  

Mahmud Rahimi-Ahd won first prize in the Shekasteh-Nastaliq category, while Hamidreza Khodakarami and Mohammad Andarz received second and third prizes in this section respectively.

Majid Dastani was selected as the best calligrapher of the Thulth section and Ali Ehsan and Ali Soltani were picked as best second and third calligraphers of this category.

Majid Saeid-Kafi, Mohammad-Naeim Javadi and Sahar Farid were winners of the Naskh section.

In the calligraphic painting category, Shamseddin Moradi, Fatemeh Hassani and Mehdi Zamani were selected as top artists.

The organizers also paid tribute to Mirza Mohammad-Hossein Seifi Qazvini, who was known by the nickname Emad al-Kottab (Pillar of the Calligraphers).

Born in 1861, he was an ardent follower of Mirza Mohammadreza Kalhor, a top Nastaliq calligrapher of the time, and a promoter of his style.  

He was the last link in the chain of old Persian calligraphy masters, and is seen as a bridge between them and the top contemporary calligraphers.

Although Emad al-Kottab had never attended Kalhor’s classes, he was also known as an artist who advanced Kalhor’s style.

He also joined the Punishment Committee, a group that was established in the early 20th century to assassinate the supporters of British colonialism in Iran.

However, no report has been recorded about his involvement in any assassination. The masterminds of the Punishment Committee were then arrested and executed. Emad al-Kottab received a five-year prison sentence. He died at 75.

In a short speech, Culture Minister Esmaeili praised Emad al-Kottab’s achievements in Persian calligraphy and said, “Qazvin has been a major art and cultural center of the country and that’s great that the sixth edition of the Iranian calligraphy biennial is paying tribute to Emad al-Kottab as one of the prominent figures of the city.”

He said that measures to support artists are high on the agenda in the new management of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and added, “Due to its key role in representing Quran verses and hadiths, calligraphy art has the potential to steal the limelight from other arts in the Islamic world.”

Golam-Hossein Amirkhani, the director the Iran Calligraphers Association as the main organizer of the biennial also delivered a speech.

“Art’s mission is to bring people a spiritual awakening and to illustrate the meaning of moderation,” he said.

“This issue has an important place in calligraphy, because a one-thousandth imbalance can easily be noticed, and we must achieve moderation to present a perfect artwork,” he noted. 

Photo: Culture Minister Mohammad-Mehdi Esmaeili and his colleagues visit the 6th Iranian International Calligraphy Biennial at the Chehel-Sotun Palace in Qazvin on October 18, 2021. (ISNA/Mehdi Motamed) 


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