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Reed pen

Exposed is Arabian writing instrument – kalam, given to Museum by colleagues from Damascus Ethnographic museum, Syria, in 1952..

«Арабское слово калам восходит к греческому καλαμοςтростник’. Такими тростинками, узкий конец которых срезан наискось и расщеплен, начертано множество мусульманских текстов – от священного Корана до деловых расписок.

Arabian word kalam originates to greek καλαμος ‘reed’. Many Muslim texts – from sacred Qur’an to business receipts – are written by such reeds with thin ending cut at an angle and then split.

Best reed for writing grows in Southern Iraq swamps and Nile’s delta. It is soaked and then kept under the Sun until it becomes “tanned”.

Kalam is mentioned in the first revelation, which Prophet Muhammad received from God (Qur’an: 96: 3-5). There is also sura “Kalam” in Qur’an where God swears by reed and what is used for writing (68:1). Oath is preceded by mysterious “nun” letter, possibly symbolizing an inkwell.

French scientist Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) called human a thinking reed – an image which is close to world of Islam.

Richest collections of Arabian East peoples of MAE (Kunstkamera) RAS date back to XVIII c. and still increase these days.

At the time of exhibition’s opening a solemn donation of new ethnographic collections to the Museum by representatives of Syria and Palestine occurred.

Accompanying text was written by Professor M.A. Rodionov, author of this exhibition.

Designers – V.I. Korotkov, N.L. Iltsen

Contact number: +7-812-328-07-12