une oeuvre par jour bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim - Calligraphy in the shape of a hoopoe|
The bird is a striking example of the so-called “calligrams”, figurative imagery artfully drawn from characters, which were very popular particularly in later Islamic calligraphy. Since this form of calligraphy was used especially in the field of Islamic mysticism, it tends to have a religious background. Thus, it is words such as Allah (God), Ali (the name of the fourth caliph worshipped especially by the Shiites), or the Islamic Bismallah phrase, in particular, that are transformed by means of sweeping brushstrokes into mosques, lions, swords or, as the Bismallah is here, into a bird. Calligrams such as these were particularly popular in the home and mounted on the walls of homes, businesses and shops. Even today there are numerous calligraphers that specialize in calligrams.