A bit of history about Bulaq typefaces

I've been interested in the history of Bulaq Press in general, and the typefaces used there in particular, as I started working on my Bulaq revival font project.

I found two very valuable books about the subject; The History of Bulaq Press a master's thesis by Abu-Alfutuh Radwan, and Bulaq Press published by Bibliotheca Alexandrina. Neither is available to me right now, unfortunately, so I'm writing this out of my, notably sharp :P, memory.

The first typeface used in Bulaq Press were cut in Italy by Nicole El Masabki, whom Muhammad Ali sent there to study the principles of printing in 1815, but it was influenced by Arabic type used in Italian press and was not well perceived in Egypt. A sample of it can be seen on the cover of the first book printed in Bulaq; an Arabic-Italian dictionary.

Soon after, Muhammad Ali commissioned the Iranian calligrapher Sinklakh (سنكلاخ, though the decree called him "the Indian calligrapher") to design new typefaces for the press. Sinklakh, who also did the calligraphic artwork of Muhammad Ali's mosque, designed first a new Naskh typeface, samples of it can be seen here, followed by a more complex Nastaliq typeface, that took him several years to develop, and was one of the "treasures" of Bulaq Press.

There were more typefaces designed and cut in later years, mostly Naskh and Nastaliq variants following the rules set by Sinklakh, but there were also a Moroccan-style typeface.

In 1902 a committee was formed to set a new "Naskh rule" because the old one was seen to be overly complex and less practical. One notable member of the committee was Ahmad Zaki, the renewed Arabic philologist. Ahmad Zaki spent several months inside Bulaq Press working closely with the Muhammad Jaa'far, the master calligrapher of his time, and the press workers to achieve the maximum readability and to simplify the number and composing rules while retaining the beauty of Arabic calligraphy. The new rule were first used in Dec. 1906 issue of Al-Waqae'a Al-Masreya.

And that last iteration is what I'm after :)

التعليقات

Cool man, i can't comment in

Cool man, i can't comment in the other post so i'll say it here... keep up the good work and i'm still waiting for the font.

BTW i don't see u in IRC anymore

For some odd reason I had

For some odd reason I had comments disabled in the other thread. IRC is distracting (I'm easily distractable) so I try to avoid it.

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