ʿABD-AL-ḤAMĪD B. ʿABD-AL-MAJĪD B. ŠOKRALLĀH MALEK-AL-KALĀMĪ, calligrapher, poet, and government official. Born in Sanandaǰ in 1302/1884-85, he died in Tehran on 4 Mehr 1328 Š./26 September 1949 (Bāmbād, Reǰāl V, p. 142; Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, pp. 371, 376). His earliest education stressed the Koran and Islamic traditions, and he made the pilgrimage to Mecca with his father while still a boy. Sometime before 1315/1896-97 he entered the administration of Abu’l-Qāsem Khan Qaragūzlū Nāṣer-al-molk, the latter being then resident in Hamadan as governor. In his early years as a government scribe, ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd was under the protection of Salmān Farāhānī Bayān-al-salṭana, whom he had met in Sanandaǰ (Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, p. 372). In 1314/1896-97, Salmān Farāhānī accompanied Nāṣer-al-molk to Tehran, where the latter assumed control of the finance ministry (vezārat-emālīya) in the government headed by ʿAlī Khan Amīn-al-dawla (Bāmdād, Reǰāl I, pp. 68-70). Soon, Salmān Farāhānī arranged for the transfer of ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd to Tehran, and the latter also joined the finance ministry as a scribe in the daftar-e estīfāʾ (office of state accountant). ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd remained with that ministry through the tumultuous constitutional period until 1307 Š./1928-29, when he was transferred to the prime minister’s chancery; he was the prime minister’s representative on a committee established to transfer a portion of the Imperial Library (ketābḵāna-ye salṭanatī) to the newly founded National Library (ketābḵāna-ye mellī). ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd retired from government service shortly before his death (Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, p. 372).
As a calligrapher, ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd was noted for his versatility. His early teacher, Salmān Farāhānī specialized in šekasta, a script widely used for correspondence and manuscripts in the Qajar period (Fażāʾelī, Aṭlas-e ḵaṭṭ, Isfahan, 1391/1971-72, pp. 628-29). The repertoire of ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd included šekasta, nasḵ, nastaʿlīq, tawqīʿ, ṯolṯ, kufic, and ṭoḡrāʾī (Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, p. 375; Rāhīīrī, Taḏkera-ye ḵošnevīsān-e moʿāṣer, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967, pp. 109-10). Both his father and grandfather were calligraphers. The father, ʿAbd-al-Maǰīd, was given the title Malek-al-Kalām, and the grandfather, Šokrallāh, was known as Faḵr-al-kottāb (Browne, Press and Poetry, pp. 305-06). ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd’s own title was Amīr-al-kottāb, although he is also known as Malek-al-kalāmī in reference to his father’s epithet (Rāhīīrī, Taḏkera, p. 109).
ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd used his calligraphic skills in a variety of ways; album pages executed by him are found in Iranian private collections (Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, p. 377). He also achieved renown as a teacher of calligraphy, and Mortażā ʿAbd-al-Rasūlī was one of his pupils (Rāhīīrī, Taḏkera, p. 110; Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, p. 375). Inscriptions designed by him are found on important architectural monuments of the Pahlavi era, including the tomb of Ḥāfeẓ in Shiraz and the tomb of Reżā Shah south of Tehran at Šāh ʿAbd-al-ʿAẓīm (Rāhīīrī, Taḏkera, p. 110).In these inscriptions he frequently used ṯolṯ, a script in which he excelled (Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, p. 375). In addition, ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd wrote poetry under the taḵalloṣ Šarqī. As a connoisseur of Persian literature he favored the works of ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Jāmī, Amīr Ḵosrow Dehlavī, and Fayżī Dakanī (Bayānī, Ḵošnevīsān, pp. 371, 373; Rāhīīrī, Taḏkera, pp. 109-12). In both calligraphy and poetry he demonstrated a strong respect for tradition linking the modern era with the achievements of the past.
Bibliography: Given in the text.
(P. P. Soucek)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 1-2, pp. 112-113
P. P. Soucek, “'Abd-Al-Hamid Malek-Al-Kalami,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/1-2, pp. 112-113; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-hamid-malek-al-kalami (accessed on 12 January 2014).