Eski Cami (Old Mosque)
These images are of calligraphic inscriptions on the walls and pillars of the Eski Cami (“Old Mosque”), a fifteenth-century Ottoman mosque in Edirne, Turkey. They consist of Qur’anic passages and of particular individual words freighted with religious force — Islamic calligraphy is both a devotional art form and a locus of apotropaic power. (Click on the photos to see larger versions.)
1. The word wahid (“one”) is superimposed over Allah (in outline only), so that together the composition can be read as “God is one.” 2. Hu, or “He,” meaning God. 3. Negative-space calligraphy (detail). 4. A doubled waw. The word wa means “and,” and in this context signifies union. 5. Mirror calligraphy on a pillar. 6. A large Allah (with praying man as punctuation mark).
Elizabeth Angell is a graduate student (among other things) in New York City. She blogs at verbal privilege.