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a Micrograph

Micrography (from Greek, literally small-writing – "Μικρογραφία"), also called microcalligraphy, is a Jewish form of calligrams developed in the 9th century, with parallels in Christianity and Islam [1], utilizing minute Hebrew letters to form representational, geometric and abstract designs. Colored micrography is especially distinctive because these rare artworks are customarily rendered in black and white.



Due to the artwork simultaneously containing text (telling a story) at the small scale and forming an image when viewed at a distance, there is possibility for interplay between the text and image; compare the interplay of individual images (when viewed up close) and mosaics in photomosaics (when viewed from a distance).


An Arabic calligram in the form of a peacock.

There is a relationship between this form of art, employing both digital and analogic symbols, and the restrictions on images found in the second commandment. Micrography provides a unique solution to the visual artist who wishes to remain devout in observation of Jewish law, by using only text, not images per se. As similar restrictions exist in certain Muslim societies, this solution has been adapted in Islamic calligraphy to the Arabic alphabet as well.


  1. ^ Torah, Bible, Coran (French)

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