Writing on a fly's wings

The culture and exhibition centre Sokolniki welcomes the 2nd International Exhibition of Calligraphy. Such a large scale culture event is being held in Moscow for the first time ever. It is organized under the aegis of the UNESCO Commission for the Russian Federation and Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The masters of calligraphy arrived in Moscow from across the world.

Unfortunately, most often people have an oblique understanding of calligraphy. However, it is not merely a neat handwriting or a kind of art but the philosophy which has been practiced for centuries by many peoples and the Russian nation as well.

The major part of the exhibition is placed in a two-storey pavilion which was equipped purposefully for this exhibition. The total exhibition area measures 5, 000 sq.m. which highlights the large scale of the event. However, other figures are also impressive: the exhibition demonstrates the calligraphic masterpieces from thirty countries: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Israel, Japan, China, Iran, France, Italy, Germany, the USA, Australia, Brazil and some other countries. The official opening ceremony was attended by the ambassadors, representatives of cultural centres, museums and education centres. Director of the exhibition and Director of the Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy Alexey Shaburov emphasized the importance of the event which will surely contribute to the development of the world’s calligraphy. Every country can boast its artistic achievements, the task is to make them available for other countries and peoples as well.

It is worth while mentioning that the perfection calligraphers have attained can be compared to the amazing paintings of old artists. Each and every artwork attracts the meticulous attention of the audience.

Calligrapher Valentina Kozhevina introduced her illustrations for a quantity of literary works, including those of Amir Khusrow. Vassily Khannanov, Nazil Ismagilov, Salavat Gilyazetdinov and other masters of calligraphy feature their own styles. There are some works in foreign languages which require some help of a translator.

For the first time ever the exhibition displays a masterpiece of sacral calligraphy placed in the Guinness World Records, a sacral Jewish manuscript written in parchment by a renowned Jerusalem calligrapher Abraham Hersh-Borshevsky. Until now the sacral artifact has never been exhibited in Russia.

Here are some facts about the item. A mezuzah is a piece of parchment inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah (Deuteronomy). These verses proclaim the unity of God, love for Him and faith to his testimonials. A mezuzah is often contained in a decorative case and affixed to the doorframe of Jewish homes. As the historians put it, a mezuzah is a manuscript with a 3, 000 year long history.

The visitors will see unique artworks: a draft copy of the illustrated Russian national anthem, a present to President Dmitry Medvedev from the Italian Prime-Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a unique handwritten Constitution of the Russian Federation, Decalogue, Golden Quran, sculptures by George Beckman, a sacred mantra, a unique calligraphy piece “on a fly’s wing” and many other amazing things.

The sacred mantra is carved into yellow sandstone and coated with leaf gold. The “Karmapa Chenno” mantra literally means “Embodiment of the compassion of all Buddhas, take heed of me”. It is one of the most popular mantras in Tibet. A rare exhibit that was granted by the Russian Association of Buddhists, the Karma Kagyu school.

A few words about the Golden Quran. The only and exact copy of the most ancient Islamic manuscript dated to the 8th century “The Quran of Uthman” is made of Au 999 gold at the Moscow Mint of the Ministry of Finance of Russia in 2006 by request of the “WT” company. “The Golden Quran” consists of 162 plates according to the number of pages of the original. It took the Moscow Mint eighteen months to make a copy.

The Decalogue is cased in glass and kept in a special place. It is the archetype of perfection which was first evaluated by the coming masters of calligraphy.

Moscow welcomed the most illustrious calligraphers of the time. Among them are Barbara Calzolari, calligrapher of Pope Benedict XVI, Massimo Polello, the President of Turin Calligraphers Guild, Nja Mahdaoui, artists of UNESCO, Yadollah Kaboli, a renowned Iranian artist, and Michel D’Anastasio, painter and graphic designer.

The grand masters agreed to hold some master classes at the exhibition. It means every visitor will be able to watch the masters of calligraphy at work.


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