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Five - Script, Pseudoscript, and Pseudo-pseudoscript in the Work of Filippo Lippi

from Part I - Hidden Writing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 August 2021

John Bodel
Affiliation:
Brown University, Rhode Island
Stephen Houston
Affiliation:
Brown University, Rhode Island
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Summary

Art historical study of writing in the Islamic world centers on calligraphy, beautiful writing as a high, perhaps the highest expression of Islamic art. This calligraphic ideal is shadowed by the prominent place on Islamic buildings and objects of decoration that looks like writing but is not: called pseudo epigraphic, pseudo Kufic, and the like. The study of pseudo-writing in Islamic art has one of its origins in another curious phenomenon, the prominence of Arabic-like decoration on medieval Byzantine churches. This chapter investigates ways that the presence of Arabic script on objects and buildings in medieval Islam (and Byzantium)conveyed meanings in the large space between the binary opposition of “real” and “pseudo” writing, the ways writing means by way of pattern or cipher, and also through talismanic and incantatory functions.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Hidden Language of Graphic Signs
Cryptic Writing and Meaningful Marks
, pp. 100 - 125
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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