Calligraphy in Ancient India
By Vedveer Arya
Ancient Indians had developed the art of Calligraphy around post-Mauryan era. Ikshvaku kings of Andhra were probably the first who used calligraphy in their inscriptions. In fact, the so-called Siddhamatrika script is a calligraphy of Brahmi script. Historians mistakenly date Siddhamatrika in post-Gupta period but Siddhamatrika calligraphy evolved in Pre-Gupta period. Inscriptions of Sri Harsha (457 BCE) have beautiful calligraphy. Box-headed script of Brahmi was also a calligraphy evolved in central India.
Calligraphy was called as "Akshara-Lalitya". The scribe of a copper plate inscription of Eastern Chalukya king Narendramrigaraja calls himself as "Aksharalalitacharya". A scribe Mahidhara compares the letters of an inscription engraved by him to stars in the sky. Interestingly, Adityasena (391 BCE) of Aphsad inscription describes his letters as "Vikatakshara".