THE FOUR RIGHTLY GUIDED KHALIFAS, may God be pleased with them. Framed Faux Canvas Print. Overall Size 19 x 8 inches. The names of Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali written in highly stylized Arabic calligraphy.
Dried (skeleton) tree leaves adorned with pious phrases in beautiful Arabic calligraphy were produced in Bursa, Turkey, during the Ottoman period. The fragility of the leaves underscores the expertise and skill required of the artist.
The beautifully calligraphed compositions on the four leaves (from right to left) can be translated as follows:
“Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him",
“Umar, may God be pleased with him",
“Uthman, may God be pleased with him", and
“Ali, may God be pleased with him"
The tree leaves most frequently used were ivy, fig, mulberry, and horse chestnut. But the most popular was the hardy leaf of the tobacco plant.
The first step was to dry and flatten the green leaf. This was done by carefully pressing the leaf between two sheets of paper over long periods of time.
The composition was stenciled onto the back of the stabilized leaf. Ink, or pigment mixed with gum arabic and sealed with wax was used. Often the calligraphy was applied in gold.
Most of the leaf tissue surrounding the inscription was removed by soaking the leaf in an alkaline solution. The wax protected the leaf tissue underneath, leaving the calligraphic composition solid.Finally, precise piercing was done by hand to clean up the composition and fully reveal the delicate leaf skeleton (veins).