Several years ago, my husband and I made a canvas tent for camping. This year I took the opportunity of some extra free time to paint the flange of it.
|Photo by Cynthia Bergman|
I was inspired by images of camp from the manuscripts of the Maqamat al-Hariri. This is a secular collection of tales about rouge as he move through life. Many of the manuscripts are heavily illuminated. Several come to us from the thirteenth century.
|St Petersburg Inst of Oriental Manuscripts Ms C-23 fol.43b. An old man and a young man in front of the tents of the rich pilgrims, from 'The Maqamat'. Dated to c. 1200-1250.|
Seeing the two tents which are white with blue adornment (our tent is made of white Sunforger canvas, which should generally be left white to maintain the great properties), I decided to paint a "negative" image of white lettering on a blue background like the tent on the left.
|A Qur’anic verse carved using the Kufic script, from the Mosque of Sultan Hasan, Cairo, Egypt. From https://starsinsymmetry.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/history-the-kufic-script/|
I am not a skilled calligrapher. My husband and I found a font that was similar to the Fatimid Kufic script on this Mamluk-era mosque. We scaled it to fill an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, and added a grid behind it at the height we needed for the height of the fabric. I used a plastic sheet made for quilting templates to create a frame for scaling the image. I then altered the font we found with elements I could discern from the hand used to decorate the mosque.
Instead of the traditional Fatimid prayer inscription, "Health, Blessings, and Prosperity", we used the prayer, "Health, Blessings, and Safe Weather." A friend provided the translation for me.
Bolshakov, O.G. "The St. Petersburg Manuscript of the Maqamat by al-Hariri and its Place in the History of Arab Painting". Manuscript Orientalia: International Journal for Oriental Manuscript Research, Vol. 3 No. 4 (December 1997): 59-66