Writing not on the wall for calligraphy

24 August 2009


If the Tombouctou Manuscripts Projects of the Department of Historical Studies concentrated initially on the content of the manuscripts - the scholarship, the ideas - then a recent exhibition at the Gold of Africa Museum in Cape Town took that project a step further.

From Istanbul to Timbuktu, an exhibition of original works by master calligraphers from Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Mali, focused on the Timbuktu written tradition, and the writing itself.

The exhibition aimed to place West African manuscripts in the broader Islamic calligraphic tradition.

The copying of medieval and modern manuscripts continues unabated today, and calligraphy is seen as a contemporary art form; works are showcased in galleries, and sold to private collectors.

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