Lesson Plan: Calligraphy and Radial Design in Islamic Art
Lesson adapted from Educator Resources, Victoria & Albert Museum,
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Arabic Script and the Art of Calligraphy,”
and Alejandra Chavez, “Art Lessons for Kids”
Tile fragment with inscription
molded fritware with turquoise glaze
8 1/8 in. x 10 5/8 in. x 1 3/8 in. ( 20.64 cm x 26.99 cm x 3.5 cm )
Transfer from the College of Architecture and Design
Square tile with two pairs of quadrupeds, after 15th century style
8 1/16 in. x 8 1/16 in. x 9/16 in. ( 20.4 cm x 20.5 cm x 1.5 cm )
Transfer from the School of Art and the College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
Students will become familiar with the history, importance, and styles of Arabic calligraphy. They will create a radial design that incorporates calligraphy, repetition, and bright colors.
National Core Standards
Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding
Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work
One 45-minute class period to create the initial segment. One additional partial lesson to assemble.
- Fan-shaped pieces of paper or cardstock
- Markers, crayons, and colored pencils
- To prepare, read this background about Arabic calligraphy:
Importance: The Arabic language, the physical written words, are important to Muslims because the Qu’ran was originally revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century in Arabic. Not all calligraphy is religious, however. Other types of inscriptions include poems, praise for rulers, and aphorisms or proverbs.
Development: A system of proportion was developed based on the width of the nib. Arabic script is always cursive, not printed in separate letters. Arabic is always written on a baseline, and read right to left. Calligraphers were among the most highly regarded artists in Islamic societies, and this remains the case in many places today.
For more information on Arabic calligraphy, see the teacher resource provided by the Victoria & Albert Museum: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/c/calligraphy-in-islamic-art/
- Students should begin with one fan-shaped segment, approximately 6 inches high. The segment is divided into thirds, vertically.
- In the top section, students write their name in English. Bright colors work well.
- In the middle section, students write their name in Arabic.
- In the bottom section (by the point), students create a geometric design.
- Color copy the design segment eight times. Tape these segments together to create a full circle, resulting in a colorful radial design.
- For student examples and in-depth instructions, see Alejandra Chavez’s Art Lessons For Kids: http://artlessonsforkids.me/tag/arabic-calligraphy/