The Savād-i Taʻlīm of Shīr-Muḥammad ‘Muʼnis:’ A Chaghatay Turkic Treatise on the Craft of Writing from 19th-Century Central Asia

A Chaghatay Turkic Treatise on the Craft of Writing from 19th-Century Central Asia written by Muʼnis, entitled Savād-i taʻlīm; this “teaching text” is a guide to calligraphy, describing the preparation of the implements for writing and offering instructions for practical methods of forming the letters of the Arabic script mentioned in this study. The Savād-i taʻlīm begins, after praise of God and the Prophet, and his mentor qāżī ʻAbd al-Laṭīf b. Qāżī Ṣafā, there follows a passage on the reason for the treatise’s composition, and the first half of the work then explains the preparation of the things needed for writing. The pen is discussed at length, beginning with reflections on its importance; the art of writing, too, is praised and described, and then several sections focus on the sharpening of the pen, the preparation of its nib, its ‘testing,’ and so on. The second half of the treatise is devoted to the formation of the individual letters; each is described, at least, each description is followed by a depiction of the letter, often with the ‘points’ used as a measure shown as well. A short ‘disclaimer’ about those letters not addressed individually follows, and a conclusion (khātima) mentions the title of the treatise and affirms its completion. In current study, manuscript of the Savād-i taʻlīm established that text better known to the scholarly world, as an example of a Central Asian writer’s practical meditations on the craft of writing.

Publication Date:
Date Submitted:
Aug 10 2018
Turkish Studies: International Periodical for the Languages, Literature and History of Turkish or Turkic
12/22 (2017)
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 Record created 2018-08-10, last modified 2019-04-03

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