Mahdi Sahragard

History of Transoxiana School of Calligraphy and some of its most Prominent Calligraphers


The history of Transoxiana calligraphy can be divided into the following two main periods: the first period (2nd – ۹th century AH): from the arrival of Islam to the Timurid era, and the second period:  (9th-۱۴th century AH): from the Timurid era to Soviet colonization.

In the first period of calligraphy history in Central Asia, the school of Transoxiana calligraphy came into being based on the writing of works in Arabic, Persian and Turkish languages ​​using different forms and types of Arabic calligraphy made in the centers of the Arab Caliphate such as Mecca, Kufa, Basra, etc., and Ahmad Ibn Ash’ath Samarkandi (3rd century AH), Ahmad Tabib Shah Mā Warāʾ an-Nahri (5th century AH), Ali Banakati (5th century AH), Jamshid Shashi (6th century AH) etc. were famous and prominent calligraphers of this school.

In the second period calligraphy history, in different parts of the central Asia, several schools of calligraphy were established, which were distinguished by their characteristics, and the use of new types of Arabic script, created by calligraphers of Persian and Turkish ethnic groups (such as Shekasteh, Nastaliq , Uyghur, etc.), spread. Some schools of calligraphy became famous; for example, the school of calligraphy of Herat, which was established in the 9th century AH with support of the Timurid sultans and prominent calligraphers such as Sultan Ali Mashhadi (926-841 AH), Darwish Mohammad Taghi Heravi (9th  century AH) and Abdul-Jamil Katib (died in 911 AH) were calligraphers of the school, and the school of calligraphy of Bukhara, which was founded in the 10th century AH , by the efforts of the khans of the Sheibanian dynasty and famous calligraphers such as Mir Ali Heravi (died in 951 AH), Mir Obaid Bukhari (died in 1009 AH), Mir Hossein Kolnaki Bukhari (10th centaury AH), Seyyed Abdullah Bukhari (died in 1057 AH), Haji Yadegar (died in 1073 AH) and Ahmad Danesh (1827-1897 AD) were calligraphers of the school. In addition, in the early 12th century AH (18th century AD) in the territory of the Khiva and Kokand dynasties , Khwarazm and Fergana calligraphy schools were formed, and in the 13th century AH (19th  century AD), Samarkand and Tashkent calligraphy schools were formed. Mounes Khwarazmi (1778-1829 AD) and Kamel Khwarazmi (1825-1899) from the school of Khwarazm calligraphy, Mirza Sharif Dabir (19th centuary AD) and Mohammad Amin Khajeh Mirza khajeh Oghli Moghimi (1850-1903 AD) from the school of Fergana, Achildi Morad Miri Kateh Ghorghani (1830-1899 AD) and Abdul Jabbar Orguti Samarkandi (1885-1910 AD) from the Samarkand School of Calligraphy and Mohammad Younes Katib (19th century AD) and Mohammad Shahmorad Katib (1850-1922) from Tashkent School of Calligraphy were among the most famous calligraphers in this period.

Keywords: Calligraphy, Arabic script, Nastaliq, Transoxiana School of Calligraphy, Herat School of Calligraphy, Bukhara School of Calligraphy, Khwarazm School of Calligraphy, Fergana School of Calligraphy, Samarkand School of Calligraphy, Tashkent School of Calligraphy.

Short Resume:

  • Date of Birth              July 27, 1982
  • Nationality                  Persian
  • Email                

Academic Records

  • ۲۰۰۰-۲۰۰۵: bachelor’s degree in “Handicrafts” at Shiraza University, Shiraz, Iran.
  • ۲۰۰۵-۲۰۰۸: master’s degree in “Art Research” at Art faculty of Shahed University, Tehran, Iran.
  • ۲۰۰۹-۲۰۱۳: Ph.D degree in “History of Islamic Arts” at faculty of Art, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran.

Professional experiences


  • Since 2012, Faculty member, Department of Architecture, Islamic Azad University, Mashhd Branch.
  • Since 2009, visiting lecturer, Ferdows Institute of Higher Education, Mashhad, Iran.

Research and Editing

  • ۲۰۰۷: “the proceedings of Isfahan School Calligraphy”, Isfahan School Conference, Academy of the Arts, Tehran and Isfahan.
  • ۲۰۰۹: the proceedings of the Conference on the Iranian Forgotten Treasures”, Academy of the Arts, Tehran.
  • Since 2009: advisor of Astan Quds Razavi, Art Creation Institute.

Awards & Honors

  • ۲۰۱۷, Award winner of “book of the Year  of the Islamic Republic of Iran” in art and architecture, Tehran, Iran.
  • ۲۰۱۹, Top Author in “Farhikhtegan Festival”, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.
  • ۲۰۱۸, Award winner of “۱۱th book of the Year of Razawi” in art and architecture, Mashhad, Iran.
  • ۲۰۱۷, Award winner of “۱۴th book of the Year of Khurasan” in art, Mashhad, Iran.
  • ۲۰۱۷, Award winner of “۱۰th book of the Year of Razawi” in art and architecture, Mashhad, Iran.
  • ۲۰۱۷, the best research in Traditional Arts, Traditional Arts Research Center, Cultural Heritage Organization, Tehran, Iran. 
  • Summer 2013, Award winner of “ book of season in visual arts”, Tehran, Iran.
  • Autumn 2009, Award winner of “ book of season in manuscripts research” Tehran, Iran.
  • ۲۰۰۷, Winner of the second price in 3rh Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization and Communication Awards, Tehran, Iran.



  •  2020, Saţr-i mastūr: Tarikh va sabkshenasi Kufi Sharghi [The Script in Veil: the History and Stylistics of Eastern Kufic Script], Tehran: Academy of the Arts.
  • ۲۰۱۸, Masterpieces of Astan Quds Razavi: Azadi Courtyard Inscriptions, Mashhad, Astan Quds Razavi.
  • ۲۰۱۶, Masterpieces of Astan Quds Razavi: Atiq Courtyard Inscriptions, Mashhad, Astan Quds Razavi.
  • ۲۰۱۳,  Masterpieces of Astan Quds Razavi: Inscriptions of Goharshad Mosque, Astan Quds publishing institute, 2013.
  • ۲۰۰۸, Mus`afi Rushan (Introduction Of Qurans held by Shiraz Museums), the Iranian Academy Of the Arts Press.

Part of a book

  • ۲۰۱۳: in partnership of Vali-allah Kavusi, Sheila S.Blair, Aydin Aghdashlou and etc. Khushnevisi [Calligraphy], Tehran, Marja΄.
  • ۲۰۱۳: in partnership of Muhsen Ebadi and Majid Fadaeian, Masterpieces of Astan Quds Razavi: Quran Manuscripts from 10th to 16th century, Mashhad: Astan Quds Razawi.
  • ۲۰۱۵: in partnership of Muhsen Ebadi and Majid Fadaeian, Masterpieces of Astan Quds Razavi: Quran Manuscripts from 16th to 19th century, Mashhad: Astan Quds Razawi.

Articles (peer reviewed)

  • “Revived Leaves: The Qur`an endowed by Kashwād b. Amlās  (a manuscript on paper from Iṣfahān, dated Ramaḍān 327/939)”, Journal of Islamic Manuscripts (forthcoming). “
  • “Scatterd Leaves: A survey on the Leaves of Baysunghuri Qur`an at the Museum and Library of Astan Quds Razawi”, Journal of Islamic Manuscripts (forthcoming).
  • “Regional Stylistics of Eastern Kufic Script: Features of Qur`an of Isfahan”, Nameye Hunarhay-I Tajassumi (forthcoming)
  • “Development of Nast`liq Epigraphy in Imam Riza Shrine” Nameye Hunarhaye Tajjasumi (forthcoming)
  •    “ an Old Exegesis of Abunar al-Haddadi: an Entrance to Qaznavids Calligraphy and Illumination” Pazhuheshnameye Khurasan Buzurg, no. 29 (winter 1396/2017)
  • “Principals of Periodization of Calligraphic Scripts in the first hand resources”, Negare (Quarterly journal of Shahed University),  no. 42 (Summer 1396/2017).
  • “History of Stylistics in the Historiography of Western art”, Kimiyaye Hunar, no. 12 (autumn 1393/2014).
  •   “Strapping and Layout in Qur`an Manuscripts”, Muţāli`āt Mellῑ Ketābdārῑ va Sāzmāndehῑ Iţţelā`āt, no. 4 (winter 1391/2012), 151-136.
  • “Influence of revolution of Calligraphy (Thuluth Script) On the architectural Inscriptions”, published in: Negareh, (Quarterly journal of Shahed University), no 15, summer 2011.
  • “History of Calligraphy in Emam Reza Tomb”, published in Proceedings of the Congress on Mirza Ahmad Neyrizi, Neriz, Iran, spring 2011.
  • “Tools And Materials In Calligraphy”, published in: Encyclopedia Of The World Of Islam (EWI), v15, 2011.
  • “Transcribing of Quran in the World of Islam”, published in: Encyclopedia of the World of Islam (EWI), v15, 2011.
  • “History of calligraphy in astan-e qods (Emam reza tomb)”, published in: Encyclopedia of Astan-e Qods, 2011.
  • “Manuscript ion in Astan-e Qods (Emam reza tomb)”, published in: Encyclopedia Of Astan-e Qods, 2011.
  • “Study On khatte mossanna”, published in The Proceedings Of The 2rh Conference on The Iranian Forgotten Treasures, Tehran, iran, 2010.
  • “Considering the meaning of some critical expression in ancient calligraphy”, published in: Pazhouhesh Nāme-e Farhangestān-e Honar (research journal of the Iranian academy of arts), no 15, winter  ۲۰۱۰.
  • “Ebrāhim- soltān, The Patron of Dār-os-Safā Complex In Shiraz”, published in: Golestān-e Honar, no. 13 Autumn 2008.
  • “Nāsser- ad-Din shāh and Calligraphy”, published in: Golestān-e Honar, no 8, summer 2007.
  • “The Evolution of T`liq script and the Reasons for Its Recess in Esfahan” published in: Golestān-e Honar, no 5, and autumn 2006.
  • “Quality of the Old Nasta`liq”, in: Tabriz School Conference, Tabriz, iran, spring 2007.
  • “the role of Calligraphers On the layout And lineage f Qurans”, in: Shiraz School Conference, autumn 2008.
  • “a brief research on the verses’ signs in Qurans transcribed in Shiraz”, published in: Ayen-e khiyal, (journal of the Iranian academy of arts), no 10, autumn 2008.
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