Armenian calligraphy as neglected cultural heritage

  • by Western Armenia, April 13, 2023 in Culture

The Armenian alphabet is one of the oldest and most beautiful scripts. In the archives of our museums, thousands of books and manuscripts written in Armenian are preserved, which are living examples of the art of Armenian calligraphy. However, there is no book on the history of Armenian calligraphy art and writing style.

Calligrapher Ruben Malayan, who has been studying Armenian calligraphy for many years, is a graphic designer by profession.

In 2008, Ruben received a letter from a publishing house in New York, in which it is stated that they are preparing an encyclopedia on the heritage of world calligraphy (The World Encyclopedia of Calligraphy, Sterling) and that they want the book to have a section on Armenian calligraphy. The publishing house offered Ruben the opportunity to work on the Armenian department.

Ruben, studying the archives and lithographs of Armenia and the Armenian colonies, revisits step by step the history of Armenian calligraphy and the style of writing of the different periods.

In the course of his research, Ruben Malayan saw only 10 manuals related to Armenian calligraphy, which he found in Armenian communities in different parts of the world (Venice 1884, Constantinople 1892, Leipzig 1873, Vienna 1837, New Nakhchivan 1846 and 1870, Tiflis 1884). These textbooks prove that calligraphy has always been a part of Armenian classical education. All Armenian schools had a lesson devoted to calligraphy. Calligraphy gradually disappeared from Armenian schools after the establishment of the Soviet regime in Armenia.