Gabriel Mandel Khân

Gabriel Mandel Khân

Gabriel Mandel Khan is an official of the Jerrahi-Halveti Sufi Brotherhood in Italy and a member of the Cambridge Islamic Academy. He has published many works on Islamic history and culture and is also a well-known calligrapher, engraver, and ceramist.

 

Japanese Alphabet

The 48 Essential Characters

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A useful companion to Abbeville’s Chinese Calligraphy, this clear and concise handbook is the ultimate guide to the complexity and beauty of the Japanese writing systems, for writers and readers alike.

In the fourth century A.D., through contact with Korea, Japan adopted the Chinese writing system which had been sweeping through Asia along with the new Buddhist religion. Modern Japanese writing uses three main scripts: kanji (Chinese ideograms), which are used for proper names, for nouns, and for verb roots; hiragana (deriving from the terms hira, “common,” and kana “borrowed character”), used for adding to and distinguishing from sequences of Japanese grammar; and katakana (from kata, “part,” and kana, “borrowed character” or rather, “partially borrowed character”), which is used to denote foreign pronunciations or to write terms borrowed from foreign languages.

With large depictions and clear step-by-step instructions, Mandel illustrates all 48 sounds in Japanese, presented in the traditional iroha order, in hiragana, katakana, and kanji forms, and each entry is accompanied with its roma-ji, or Roman phonetic spelling. The author clearly indicates the correct sequence for writing the individual strokes, and provides each kana, or character, with the Chinese kanji from which it was derived. He relates a concise history of Japanese writing, and provides the reader with charts of the Japanese and Chinese numbers, the hiragana and katakana contractions, and the“keys” or radicals that make up the Japanese kanji. A comprehensive guide to all of the characters of the Japanese alphabet, this is an ideal primer for the beginner, as well as a convenient reference for a more advanced student. Joining Abbeville’s Chinese Calligraphy, Maya Script, and Arabic Script, Japanese Alphabet is an exhaustive compendium of the Japanese writing system and indispensable addition to any Japanese linguist’s library.

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Arabic Script

Styles, Variants and Calligraphic Adaptations

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This fascinating guide to the Arabic alphabet and writing styles also offers an ample and thorough overview of a culture and a civilization.

One of the world’s major forms of writing, Arabic script is the language of the Koran and became widespread as a result of Islamic conquests of much of the world. The Koran places great importance on writing, and in the first verse of the holy book, reading and writing with the calamus, or reed pen, are praised as the source of all knowledge and all spiritual or scientific paths of change. For this reason the Islamic world is known for its reverence for books, as well as its love of writing. Eventually Arabic script gave rise to calligraphic art, which became an art form of astonishing beauty. More highly regarded than painting, Arabic calligraphy is approached aesthetically, like music, with its own rules of composition, rhythm, and harmony.

This enlightening book helps us discover an alphabet that throughout the centuries has been linked to the secular and religious worlds of Islam. The text explains the history and meaning of each letter, as well as its philosophical, theological, and cultural significance, and 300 two-color and black-and-white pictures illustrate the letters, their variants, and calligraphic adaptations. An ideal book for linguists, graphic designers, and collectors of Islamic art, Arabic Script will also prove handy for travelers who wish to become familiar with the rudiments of the alphabet.

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