ʿABD-AL-MAJĪD ṬĀLAQĀNĪ, revered as the calligrapher who gave šekasta script its definitive form. Born in the Ṭālaqān district of Qazvīn about 1150/1737-38, he was educated in Isfahan where he died (1185/1771-72). Of an ascetic disposition, he is also known as Darvīš ʿAbd-al-Maǰīd (Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas, pp. 618-19; Bāmdād, Reǰāl II, p. 301). He composed poetry using as taḵalloṣ both Maǰīd and Ḵāmūš (Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas, p. 618).
Šekasta script, which combines features of taʿlīq and nastaʿlīq, appears to have originated in Safavid court circles during the 11th/17th century, when it was used for correspondence (Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas, pp. 607-11). The name of ʿAbd-al-Maǰīd’s teacher is not recorded, but his work is said to have surpassed that of Moḥammad Šafīʿ al-Ḥosaynī (d. 1081/1670-71); thus ʿAbd-al-Maǰīd may have studied with someone who worked in the style of the latter master (Bāmdād, Reǰāl II, p. 301). ʿAbd-al-Maǰīd’s work is known largely from album pages ranging in date from 1170/1756-57 to 1185/1771-72 which are executed in both šekasta and nastaʿlīq scripts (Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas, p. 619; Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān II, p. 414). During the 13th/19th century šekasta was used, not only for correspondence and album pages, but also for copying manuscripts. ʿAbd-al-Maǰīd’s career may mark the beginning of a wider acceptance of this script. It is said that his personal formulation of šekasta was admired and imitated by a number of later calligraphers including Moḥammad Qāsem, known as Mīrzā Kūček Eṣfahānī (d. 1228/1813) and ʿAbd-al-Vahhāb Moʿtamed-al-dawla Našāṭ (d. 1245/1829-30), a poet and calligrapher at the court of Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah (Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas, p. 621; Welch, Calligraphy, pp. 156-57; Bāmdād, Reǰāl II, pp. 318-20).
ʿAbd-al-Moḥammad Khan Īrānī, Peydāyeš-e ḵaṭṭ va ḵaṭṭaṭān, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967-68, p. 126.
Ḥabīballāh Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas al-ḵaṭṭ, Isfahan, 1391/1971-72, pp. 618-21.
A. Welch, Calligraphy in the Arts of the Muslim World, Austin, 1979.
(P. P. Soucek)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, p. 127