Calligraphic composition on leaf

This leaf is decorated with a golden calligraphic composition which takes the form of a pear. The calligraphy is written in a script known as 'thulth'. The inscription within the pear reads: “In the name of God, the Most Merciful and the Most Compassionate.” This phrase is often recited by Muslims. Producing calligraphic compositions on leaves is difficult and delicate work. The leaf has to be dried, and the tissue has to be removed slowly so as to leave the skeletal membrane. The stencil of the composition is placed behind the leaf and the gold ink with gum Arabic is applied over it. This art of producing calligraphy on a dried leaf, is one that was practised most widely in Ottoman Turkey during the 19th century. During this period, Ottoman calligraphers were interested in producing compositions which took the shape of fruits, animals and even inanimate objects like ships and houses.