Calligraphy (Khosh naveesee), like all forms of art that was introduced into Persia following foreign conquests, was enhanced and developed into a high art form. It was practised not only by professional calligraphers, but also by princes and noblemen. Under the Timurids and the Safavids, calligraphy experienced perhaps its most brilliant development. It was regarded as an expression of man's spiritual state; for 'purity of writing proceeds from purity of heart' (Sultan Ali Mashhadi); therefore the calligrapher had to undergo observances similar to those of the holy person. In addition, the subject matter had to be of sufficiently noble content.
As recently as the 1960s, calligraphy was regularly taught in Iranian schools, where students used bamboo sticks to create intricate designs. The art was no longer practised after this period.
Gholam-Hussein Amirkhani (1939--) is president of Iranian Calligraphers Committee and the most prominent contemporary master in the Nas’taliq style. He is the author of 12 books about Persian Calligraphy and has conducted numerous international art exhibitions.