Tuesday, 4 April 2017

C is for...Chai...Coffee...and...Calligraphy...



is for
Chai!    


Chai, or tea, is drunk by the gallons in Arablands – it is taken black without milk. Tea with milk is less common, especially once you get to out of the way places.


Coffee is known as Qahwa/'Ahwah, and its relationship with Arabia goes back a long way, much farther than tea. While coffee beans came to Arabia from Africa, tea came in from the east - Persian travellers brought it from China through trade. 



And here is a number about women and coffee, from Morocco :





Calligraphy


Calligraphy evolved in all societies primarily to communicate, to project a message to some future time, protect its integrity, and/or archive. 


However, calligraphy in Arabic during the 8th century grew and spilled over into architecture, decorative arts, design and ornamentation at every level.  Nowhere else will you see the art of writing itself elevated into an artform in its own right.  Begs the question why, doesn’t it?


A new message of faith – Islam, needed to stand out, differentiate itself.  Islam deemed conventional figurative depiction idolatrous - all the templates that had been used before must be done away with and replaced by a new set. Unprecedented, unique, unimagined previously. Very well then, here was calligraphy! It slotted right into the picture, no pun intended, and developed into a totally new art.



Detail of Mudejar calligraphy in Alhambra Palace. Granada, 
Andalusia. Spain. 13th - 15th century.

Modern calligraphic wall art. Bin Matar House Pearl Museum. 
Bahrain.

The early Arabs engaged with China in the 8th century, and brought back the know-how for paper-making. This new technology revolutionised calligraphy. But calligraphy was in no way restricted to paper - it was used to decorate everything - buildings, ceramics, textiles, every surface was a sheet for the calligraphers.


Kufic 'formal' style calligraphy. Sultan Hassan Mosque. 
14th century. Cairo.



There are broadly two different styles of calligraphy – ‘formal’ and ‘cursive’. Within each there are further subdivisions, each has its own strict set of rules for execution. 


Follow this link here to see what an amazing young Egyptian calligraphy artist is making and this one here to see another from Jordan. Here's calligraphy art in traditional and modern styles - Arabic Calligraphy. Listen, if you have the time, to a calligrapher talk about his art in the clip below:




Did you know Coffee  as a beverage originated in Arabia? It was drunk in the Sufi monasteries of Yemen and Consumed by Arabs at home before it became popular elsewhere.












Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017 






67 comments:

  1. I love both coffee and tea, but vastly prefer coffee! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm definitely in the coffee camp myself :) But some of the most valuable tea is grown in my home state and we the Bengalis are Tea snobs!

      Delete
  2. Continuing to enjoy your series. I watched almost 4 minutes of the music video and I was intrigued to see a quick shot of what looked like pysanky, Ukranian decorated eggs popular at Easter time. I knew about the Arab connection with coffee; I did not know about the consumption of tea. I, too, love it black with no cream (or sugar).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Arabs like it with sugar, no milk, usually rather a lot of sugar, in my experience :-) Glad you're enjoying the series.

      Delete
  3. Chai is my drink of choice, though I prefer it with milk.
    Loved the faces in that video.
    And am so impressed with the beauty of Islamic architecture. I wonder which (if any) modern buildings will survive as long and remain beautiful?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am definitely a coffee drinker, and that happened before I landed up here :) Islamic architecture is beyond beautiful, the details are just mind blowing...

      Delete
  4. In my experience tea tastes very much the same in most countries but coffee varies from place to place whether it be the thick gritty beverage of Turkey to the boring instant granules in my kitchen cupboard. Im wondering where Arabian coffee fits in.

    About Amble Bay Church!


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, no, tea totally varies! The connoisseurs would faint if they heard you! it varies according to the altitude where it's grown, whether it's the first flush or second flush or nth...age of tree, soil conditions, how it's processed, origins - India, China, Sri Lanka, Kenya, a whole lot of stuff...

      Delete
  5. Compliment and cheers for this collection of C.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Chai, Coffee and Calligraphy: three of my favorite things! We have a beautiful piece of Arabic calligraphy in our living room a good friend of ours did just for our space. I smile whenever I look at it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just love Arabic calligraphy, especially the type where lines from romantic poetry is incorporated into jewellery, exquisite!

      Delete
  7. Fascinating! I just read about how the Chinese invented paper on another blog!

    .. hmmm!

    Very enlightening, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A-Z turns out to be educational every single time - I learn a whole bunch of stuff through it.

      Delete
  8. Not a coffee person or a big tea person. But I do like a rare taste of peppermint or ginger tea. This was a very interesting post and I've always wanted to learn Calligraphy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginger tea is a very Indian thing in winters especially...it's supposed to have medicinal properties.

      Delete
  9. I am total coffee person.
    Thanks for sharing so much information :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have tea occasionally but am more of a coffee addict, can't function without it :)

      Delete
  10. Chai tea is delicious, although I haven't drunk it for a while. I used to have it when me and my friends hung out at a bookshop/cafe when we were teenagers, acting all cultural. Fascinating to read about the calligraphy - obviously, the act of writing was extremely powerful and important to the artists and architects of that time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It still is. Calligraphy remains an important aspect of modern design all through Arablands. Absolutely brilliant work is done by contemporary calligraphers.

      Delete
  11. Your posts for the challenge are information-mines.Thanks for enlightening me on the exotic lands. I am a chai lover myself . was great to read and discover more on the favourite beverages of the world . was a delight to read about the history of calligraphy beautifully supplemented with images. Terrific post!
    Moon
    https://aslifehappens60.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed - thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  12. I have a 'thing' going on with coffee and tea.
    I'll give you the shortened version, or I'll be here the whole day chatting about it. LOL
    At some stage of my life, tea was my preferred hot beverage. Then my palate did a strange thing, and began to reject 'normal' tea, in favor of herbal tea. So I only began to drink herbal tea, to be more specific, it's called 'rooibos' tea which is brewed here in South Africa.
    Most of my life, I only drank a single cup of coffee, that was in the mornings.
    Suddenly, my palate did another about-turn and now I'm hooked on coffee. I drink between 3 to 5 cups a day, depending on weather/mood etc.
    Tea has taken a backseat.
    Now I'm into different flavored coffees: caramel (delicious), hazelnut and vanilla are next on my list.
    I'm not sure if I've tasted chai tea...?? I must investigate.

    I LOVE any writing that's done by hand.
    So any forms of calligraphy capture my imagination.
    Another great post!
    Thanks, Nila!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now I want to try some rooibos, will have to see if/where I can get some here...I am a total coffee addict, have been that way since i had my first taste. Can't function w/o it! The Arabs often serve tea with mint, I love that, very refreshing!

      Delete
  13. Hi Nila - fascinating set of 'C's ... I'm not the world's best fan of either tea or coffee - though I drink both. Water is my go to drink ... but I see Michelle's comment on rooibos ... I have that here sometimes.

    Wonderful story about calligraphy - dreadful destruction getting rid of previous cultures, much as Henry VIII did with the destruction of the monasteries. I went to an exhibition last week at the Brunei Gallery to see the clothes woven along the silk route - fascinating ... sometime I'll get to post!

    Love the architecture of the Arab world ... cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/c-is-for-cattle-and-cow-cooper.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Water is the healthiest beverage! I aspire to be more like you! The textile exhibitions sounds sublime...look forward to the post.

      Delete
  14. I think it is great reading about different cultures. This was so interesting and the video most enjoyable to watch. Thanks for a great read.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Replies
    1. Ditto! can't think straight without a mug of it early morning :)

      Delete
    2. Broken link alert. Please fix.

      Delete
  16. Both coffee and tea are drunk by the gallons here!But I prefer coffee, because they add soooooo much sugar to tea...!

    And definitely, calligraphy would be something to define Ara culture. Thanks for the links.

    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures
    C is for Castle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, the Arabs have a serious sweet tooth :) R post will deal with sugar preference for tea...

      Delete
  17. This post would be appreciated by my husband since he drinks chai tea and had a calligraphy set when I met him. He used it to address out wedding invitations.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Captivating and informative, as always!

    I know the Arab world is very fond of calligraphy, but I always thought it was just for artistic flair. I had no idea about the religious link! That's quite remarkable.

    While a refreshing cup of Moroccan chai does do me good, Arabic coffee is just a bit too strong for my taste. I'm better off with a shot of espresso. :)

    C for Curses!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, very much so. Bismillah is a widely used calligraphic motif in the Islamic world. The development was driven by the need to write down the Quran so that Islam could be taken to lands other than Arabia.

      Delete
  19. Replies
    1. Indeed..particularly the Mudejar calligraphy in Spain, just wow!

      Delete
  20. I am a hot tea drinker with milk. I've enjoyed Chai; but, I have a feeling the American Chai is quite weak compared to the Arabic Chai.
    I love calligraphy. I can see why it became more important in Muslim countries. The patterning is beautiful.
    Hey, It's Ann visiting from A to Z So Much to Choose From and
    Science Ladybug

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't had American Chai, only Indian and Arabic, would love to try though and give you a definitive opinion :)

      Delete
  21. Not in the coffee camp. I am a cola person
    Calligraphy is amazing. Some folks are so talented. I have tried but the left hand gets smeary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was a cola drinker till very recently. Cola for cold, coffee for hot...calligraphy is indeed fascinating.

      Delete
  22. I did not know that about coffee, but I'm a tea drinker. Coffee does not like me!!
    Calligraphy, WOW, so intricate and art that stands alone!
    See, getting caught up! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is kind of unique, and really beautiful...great job catching up! go, you! :)

      Delete
  23. As a person who adores coffee, this post (and the song) made me very happy! :)

    26 Things To Hate About Writing: C is for Creating Characters

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That song is such a cheerful number - and the lyrics include coffee, I burn for you! :) I seriously love the jewellery the women are wearing, just luscious.

      Delete
  24. wow! calligraphy on the walls... impressive.
    Joy @ The Joyous Living

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They had calligraphy on every possible surface. Then and now.

      Delete
  25. I love Chai and Coffee AND the arab culture. Took an arabic language class, did well! I've always wanted to take a calligraphy class. Enjoyed your post! Heidi visiting from the A to Z Challenge at, Decibel Memos (Perspectives absent of sound)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arabic is a tough language to learn! Kudos!

      Delete
  26. "Arabica" is a word found on many coffee cans, so that makes sense. I'm partial to Colombian, but any coffee will work - can't do without that! Tea is good too. I've never understand why some people put milk in it, though. The coffee song has a cool, jazzy vibe. Nice!
    Loved the info on Calligraphy; such a beautiful art. Cheers!
    Debbie @ THE DOGLADY'S DEN
    Latest Post: CHERRY HILL PARK: First love is the hardest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, that Arabica is telling isn't it? But a bit strange that the land where the beverage originated grows it no longer.

      Delete
  27. I am perhaps - coffee, chai, calligraphy, and coke person. Totally enjoyed reading your post. We are fellow participants :)
    Do visit my blog, here's my recent post >> Devil's Advocate
    Hope you enjoying the challenge!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I always do, the Challenge is a Spring thing for me, hope you are enjoying it too. Thanks for visiting.

      Delete
  28. My post is about cup :D and yours about coffee :)

    I once saw a video from some Arabian country on National Geographic about how tea was brewed... Boy! They are indeed very generous about the sugar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but you can ask for a sugarless or low sugar option too...and I'll tell you about that in one of my future posts :)

      Delete
  29. That 'tea with milk' thing--very British. Interesting Arabs drink it without. Another good post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After 20 years of living with the Arabs I too drink it without milk...sometimes add mint to it, very refreshing.

      Delete
  30. I did *not* know that coffee as a beverage originated in Arabia. I'm just glad it originated :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh me too. Life would totally joyless without coffee. :)

      Delete
  31. Yes, I knew coffee came from Arabia, orginally, and I'm very happy it did ;-)

    Calligraphy is fascinating. I like the way the artist in the video put it, that a word is like the human body.
    Many cultures practice calligraphy (if not in teh same way Arab culture does). There must be soemthgn in it that fascinates our human mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Words are comfort food for the eye and soul perhaps? I know writing can be an effective reassurance against a lot of negatives, personally.

      Delete
  32. I love Moroccan tea. Especially how its poured in those small glasses. Theglobaldig.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The tea drinking in glasses is common to all Arab countries I think, at least I've seen it everywhere I've been. Arabs don't traditionally use cups for tea - that's more Western.

      Delete
  33. I love Moroccan tea. Especially how its poured in those small glasses. Theglobaldig.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete