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“The Eye Is Favored For Seeing The Writing’s Form”: On The Sensual And The Sensuous In Islamic Calligraphy

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the sensual and the sensuous in Islamic calligraphy as a means of thinking about the corporeal dimensions of an artistic practice, of the ways in which the calligrapher?s body might be understood as incarnated in the finished work. It concerns with the modes of reception found in written sources that record cultural attitudes to calligraphy mostly framed through an encounter with specimens seen cold, after their production, and with selected case studies on the pursuit of calligraphy from the 1500s through the early modern period. The chapter considers both forms of evidence from the perspective of what they reveal about the effect of the work of art on the human senses??the sensuous? defined as aesthetic gratification or ?visual pleasure,? and ?the sensual? as the process by which the senses are activated.

Keywords: early modern period; human senses; Islamic calligraphy; visual pleasure



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