‘Abdu’l-Bahá promoted the arts, including through support of Mishkín-Qalam and artistic conceptions for the interment of the remains of the Báb, the construction of the first Bahá’í House of Worship, and transcription of Bahá’í literature.
Encouragement of the Arts During the Ministry of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:
The Services of Master Calligrapher Mishkín-Qalam
published in Journal of Bahá’í Studies, 33:1-2, pages 71-108
Ottawa: Association for Bahá’í Studies North America, 2023-10
Abstract: This article examines how ‘Abdu’l-Bahá promoted the arts during His ministry, through His encouragement and support of a prominent artist in the early Bahá’í community. Mishkín-Qalam was the first and most celebrated Bahá’í visual artist from the East. Best known for his calligraphic design of the Greatest Name, his life exemplified the “twofold moral purpose”: through his art, he was able to develop his own inherent spiritual potential as well as make lasting contributions to society. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá employed his artistic skill in service to some of the most important achievements of His ministry: the interment of the remains of the Báb, the construction of the first Bahá’í House of Worship, and the transcription of Bahá’í literature. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s encouragement might serve as an emerging model for individuals, communities, and institutions of how to engage with artists and the arts, while Mishkín-Qalam’s response stands as an example to artists of how the pursuit of spiritual virtue and excellence in one’s craft can intertwine.