Whether microscopic or monumental, the modern Afghan calligrapher Daud al-Hossaini mastered all forms. He delicately inscribed rice grains with Quranic suras, penned over 550 words in a 2.5 cm square composition and designed architectural inscriptions like those that adorn Kabul’s Triumphal Arch (Taq-e Zafar).
Cultural advisor to the last Afghan King, Muhammad Zahir Khan (r. 1933-1973) and director of the national printing industry, al-Hossaini remained a passionate calligrapher throughout his life.
From 7 February to 3 March 2020, the Museum for Islamic Art hosts an exhibition dedicated to calligraphic artistry of Sayyed Muhammad Daud al-Hossaini (1894-1979). Accompanying two exemplary rice grains are a variety of artworks, marbled papers and archival materials that demonstrate al-Hossaini’s strong engagement with and commitment to classical Islamic calligraphy and the rich cultural history of Central Asia.
The exhibition is supported by a generous donation and long term loan of over 300 materials made by Dr. Heshmat al-Hossaini, the son of Daud al-Hossaini and long term supporter of the museum.