IRCICA published the third, revised and enlarged edition of Mehmed Shawqī Efendi’s (1829-1887) calligraphy worksheets (mashqs) for the thuluth and naskh styles. The first edition, dated 1999, was prepared by IRCICA in its capacity as the Secretariat and Executive Organ of the OIC International Commission for the Preservation of Islamic Cultural Heritage – ICPICH and published by ICPICH. The second edition was published in IRCICA’s art book series, in 2010, after the merger of ICPICH and IRCICA in 2000. The book is in high demand among calligraphers wishing to hone their talents. It is also highly valued by appreciators of this art. The edition contains facsimile copies of the worksheets, with explanatory annotations. It begins with instructive texts by Prof. M. Uğur Derman about the teaching of calligraphy, its methods and procedures, Mehmed Shawqī’s activities, and the exercise books he prepared for his pupils.
Mehmed Shawqī received his training in calligraphy in Istanbul starting from a young age, learning thuluth, naskh, and riqa from his uncle Mehmed Hulūsi Efendi (d. 1874), and obtained his ijaza at the age of twelve. Perfecting his skills over the years, he invented a style of his own inspired by great calligraphers, including Hāfız Osman (d. 1698) and Mustafa Rākım (d. 1826), which came to be known as the “Shawqī School.” He taught calligraphy in the government school which trained military scribes and also gave private lessons to student groups, while his principal job was at the Secretariat of the Ministry of War. He calligraphed twenty-five Mushafs, as well as a great number of prayer books.
The publication contains his mashq related to mufradāt (exercises on single letters) and murakkabāt (exercises on combinations of letters) reproduced from its original preserved in the Library of Topkapı Palace Museum, followed by the mashq for murakkabāt and the Qasīda al-Alfiyya worksheet reproduced from the Ekrem Hakkı Ayverdi collection preserved in the Kubbealtı Academy Culture and Art Foundation, Istanbul. The final section presents al-Hilya al-Nabawiyya al-Sharīfa (description of the sublime characteristics of the Prophet Muhammadsaw) prepared as a mashq for murakkabāt by Mehmed Shawqī, who gave importance to learners’ practicing with this text, also reproduced from its original preserved in the Library of Topkapı Palace Museum.