Saturday, February 23, 2013

Reminiscence of a syrian wall hanging.



Hailing from Malabar, I am very much fascinated by the history of my place. The centuries old traditions and different communities dwelling in Malabar is really a phenomenon. Apart from widely spreading Arabic and less known Hebrew, the Syrian language is another Semitic language still found in Malabar. Widely known as St. Thomas Christians, the significance of this sect is that they kept the Syrian language alive in the land of Malabar until recent years, due to the persecution of Portuguese and modernism relatively reduced the popularity of the language. But this is still used for sermons in some of the Syrian churches in Kerala.

 Photo courtesy www.socmnet.com

There were many Syrian manuscripts in Kerala which were burned during the reign of Portuguese and some are in museums around the globe ( most are found in Cambridge university library, UK. most were procured and submitted to library by Claudius Buchanan) and some are still preserved under the Syrian churches in Kerala.

Photo courtesy:ces.iisc.ernet.in

There are many ancient engraved stones and crosses in Kerala and other regions touched by Nestorian Christians

                                                                             Photo courtesy:ces.iisc.ernet.in


The beauty of this language is awesome, the serto – Syriac or the Jacobite script is my favorite than the Chaldean style.My first encounter with this language happened long back in Mattancherry, Cochin nearly eight years back, when i went to an office a wholesale spice merchant who himself was a Syrian Christian. There was a picture of cross and beautifully decorated background with floral designs and syrian scripts in it. He explained to me about the framed wall hanging, and he himself told that he don't know how to read it. 

Looking back to the past I felt recreating it, but way too long. So I had made a simple Syrian calligraphy and it is the first verse of first chapter from bible, in the beginning….


 This image was digitalized and made a custom font and gave a simple background.


I feel this script is some what similar to Arabic and have a lot of possibility of creating a delightful piece, but other than scribing a bible this language didn't attain its prosperity like Arabic to show its beauty to 21st century. Few of calligraphers like Issa Benyamin had attempted to do so but it was to the Chaldean style or the madnhaya Assyrian script. 

Still my desire of recreating that syrian wallhanging is haunting me, so next time when I am back to home I will try to get a picture of it and recreate it.....

5 comments:

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Mariam said...

It's about time you went on to syriac, Thoufeek! I'm sure a lot of fellow Nasranis would love to have a piece of a syriac inscription on their walls.

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Anonymous said...

very sufficient info however, you might consider to change you word "Syrian" to Assyrian to avoid the confusion with Syria ????