Nothingness Without End

This is a traditional piece of Ottoman calligraphy I did for a friend a few weeks ago. It reads Hiç/Hech, a Persian word that made its way into Turkic languages (Turkish, Ottoman, Uzbek, Kazakh to name a few) as well. It means, on a basic level, ‘nothing’ and is used grammatically as total negation throughout those languages: hiç kimse = no one (lit. no who) hech qachon = never (lit. no when) etc.

But in Islamic mystical philosophy, Hich means so much more. It refers to the never-ending, infinite and incomprehensible depth of God’s existence, an existence we as humans cannot begin to comprehend except through long study and deep meditation and focus. Hich therefore has become a meditation concept, a focal point to help direct thoughts, and its use as a calligraphic talisman of sorts is seen throughout Turkish, Iranian, and Central Asian Sufi tekkes.

~ by Josh on April 22, 2011.

5 Responses to “Nothingness Without End”

  1. Wow – a really, really beautiful piece Josh.

  2. the most enthusiastic word of hatt. It is simple, deep, and thought-provoking.

  3. Hey Josh, your work on this word, which is beautiful inspired a version in my own script:

  4. Lovely calligraphy. I’m interested in the word. Do you have any more information on the etymology? If it’s Persian then it should be an Indo-European word and I’d be interested to see how it related to Sanskrit words for the same concept.

  5. Similar mystical concept referred to by the Hebrew Ain Sof, lit., no end; infinite, implying no beginning and unreachable; unfathomable.

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