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Patterns & Geometry

Aniconism in Islamic Art

The great majority of visual Islamic Art and Architecture is devoid of the depiction of realistic human and animal figures. But why is this? Why and how does Islam promote aniconism?

the tiles of infinity

Tiles of Infinity

 When Peter J. Lu visited Uzbekistan as a Harvard University graduate student in 2005, he found himself unexpectedly captivated by the complex tile patterns of a 15-th century Madrasa, or Islamic religious school,…

Cordoba Mosque six pointed star

The Great Mosque of Cordoba: Geometric Analysis

Ilm al-Miqdar (The science of proportion) is a body of knowledge concerned principally with the study of spatial order through the measure and relationships of forms. Prior to being considered solely as a…

Zillij in Fez

Zillij is an Islamic art that is based on learning, discipline, and faith. The geometric patterns reflect the Islamic belief that life is ordered by cosmic intelligence, even if people cannot always understand…

Assembly with octagons connected to a common vertex

A World of Stars – Decorative Art in Morocco

Eight Pointed Stars This text has been taken from the book Arabesques – decorative art in Morocco by Jean-Marc Caste´ra; Franc¸oise Peuriot; Philippe Ploquin; Kirk McElhearn. Translation from French to English was carried…

Vegetal Patterns in Islamic Art

With the exception of the garden and its usual reference to paradise, vegetal motifs and patterns in Islamic art are largely devoid of symbolic meaning. Vegetal patterns employed alone or in combination with…

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Paper and Ink Prayer Mat

Made to fit the size of an actual Muslim prayer carpet, this piece is drawn only with black Bic pencils. Painstakingly detailed, it explores different ways and patterns to create a unique whole…

Archway from the Darb-i Imam shrine, Isfahan, Iran (1453 C.E.) with two overlapping girih patterns. Image courtesy of K. Dudley and M. Elliff

Medieval Islamic Mosaics and Modern Maths

by Paul J. Steinhardt The swirling Arabesque ceramic tiles used in medieval Islamic mosaics and architecture were produced using geometry not understood in the West until the 1970s, a new study suggests.  …

The Evolution of Style

‘One would enquire in vain for the masters who brought this system to its flowering or those who later opened up new ways for its development. This art is totally anonymous and it…

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