Amazing Arabic Calligraphy

With all the reports of conflict and violence in the Middle East, I thought it would be nice to present a positive side of the Arab world. In particular, I have long been fascinated by Arabic calligraphy, an art form that has been around for centuries and is still alive and well today.

The beauty and elegance inherent in the letters of the Arabic alphabet lends itself naturally to artistic endeavours. I present below a selection of Arabic calligraphy artworks both modern and ancient.

Let me know in the comments if you know of any other striking examples of this beautiful art form.


Arabic Calligraphy: Love

Arabic Calligraphy: Love; credit: Osman Ozcay

Stunning Horse Calligraphy

Horse Calligraphy

Horse Calligraphy; credit: Cea

Your eyes do not deceive you – this is indeed an image of a horse made almost entirely of calligraphic writing of the text of the Throne Verse of the Quran.

Horse Calligraphy - Detail

Horse Calligraphy – Detail; credit: Cea

Illuminated Manuscript

Illuminated Manuscript

Illuminated Manuscript; credit: Ariel Tabritha

This is a page from a 15th century Koran manuscript from Iran.

A Zoomorphic Horse Calligraphy

Zoomorphic Horse Calligraphy

Zoomorphic Horse Calligraphy; credit:

There is quite a tradition of this type of Arabic calligraphy, the main reason being the prohibition of depictions of humans or animals in some parts of the Islamic World during certain periods. So, this was a way to still depict animals or humans, while ostensibly complying with the prohibition.

Ottoman Calligraphy

The Ottomans contributed many beautiful works of art to the corpus of Arabic calligraphy. Even today, there are a lot of Calligraphers in Turkey who devote their work to the form of the Arabic script.

Modern Calligraphic Artwork

Happiness and Freedom

Happiness and Freedom; credit: Charles Hope

This beautiful piece depicts happiness in large letters and lots of small ‘freedoms’ swerving around. The sentence below ‘happiness’ reads: Happiness comes to those who believe in it.

Bird Calligraphy

The Arab Spring

The letters read: The Spring of the Letter.

Che Guevara

Che Guevara Calligraphy

Che Guevara Calligraphy; credit: Hicham Chajai

Arabic Calligraphy Flower

Arabic Calligraphy Flower

Arabic Calligraphy Flower; credit: Curious Expeditions


Elephant-Shaped Calligraphy

Elephant-Shaped Calligraphy; credit: Khaleelullah Chemnad

7 thoughts on “Amazing Arabic Calligraphy

  1. Wow, these are all really beautiful, especially the one of the horse. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Really beautiful designs and art works looks appreciable, It will be more helpful if the art works of various types of calligraphy like zoomo,stylish and animations in calligraphy with name of the letters and meanings for ex we do not understand what was writte in horse, elephants tigers birds flowers styles of calligraphies, As I am drawing various designs it will be much helpful for my works. It is not a duplicate it is a first time comment

  3. Wow, those are beautiful. You’re right, the Ottomans did a lot with calligraphy. There’s a very nice collection in the museum at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. I’d be interested in seeing more of these.

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