Exploring Mughal Epigraphy

Mughal calligraphy

The Mughals are believed to have promoted the ‘Naskh’ and ‘Nastaliq’ calligraphy patterns. In the words of Abul Fazal, the Mughal emperors, Akbar and Jahangir promoted the characters ‘Nastaliq’ or ‘Round Persian’.

Providing a brief description of the various calligraphic patterns used during the Mughal period in India and Central Asia, he writes that Suls, Naskh, Tanqi, Riqa, Muhaqqaq, Raihan, Taliq, writing styles were commonly used throughout the Mughal domain which included the land of Jammu and Kashmir

The general scripts adopted in Kashmir, as recorded by Diwan Kirpa Ram in his Gulzari Kashmir, were either in Arabic or Persian. The styles were Kufi, Naskh, Makramat Suls, Riqa and Raihan in Arabic and Nastaliq Shikast, Gular, Nakhan Shikast, Aniz and Shaifa in Persian.

Despite varying styles of calligraphy, the Mughals are known to have promoted their writing mechanism mainly in the round Persian character called Nastaliqe, such a specimen can be seen on a number of copper, silver and gold coins of ‘Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan and on the historical Mughal period. inscriptions at Verinag Spring Arcade, Kathi Darwaza Gate of Kohimaran Rampart and other Mughal era monuments.

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