The Meanings of “Mashq” in the Art of Arabic Calligraphy’

Nassar Mansour


This paper clarifies the connotations of “mashq” as a multi-semantic term used in the art of Arabic calligraphy since its early stages. It also clarifies how these connotations change according to the functional and linguistic applications of its different meanings in the penmanship tradition.
“Mashq” as an artistic term has five meanings. The first of these indicates the speed of writing; the second the lengthening of some of the letter forms or the extension between letters as an artistic feature; the third the abundance of practice in writing; the fourth the set of exercises prepared by a master of calligraphy for his students as models for practice; and the fifth the signatures of calligraphers on their works.
This study uses examples to illustrate those five meanings and applications of the term “mashq” in the art of Arabic calligraphy.


mashq, muhaqqaq, Qur’anic scripts, tawqi’, Arabic calligraphy.


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