Category Archives: Gaga over Geometry Monday

Now defunct and replaced by Imagining Islamic Aesthetics.

Gaga over Geometry Monday #4 – Computer Islamic Art

It is unbelievable that I have been posting on this blog for four weeks now -give or take a few days , it is almost a month. The first time I started this blog, I wanted to discuss the geometric patterns of Islamic Art, but now it extends to the general view of the art form. Nevertheless, it gave me so much pleasure to write this blog, and along the way, I have learned so many things about Islamic art, my own culture and religion, that before never caught my interest and imaginations and much as now.

For this edition of Gaga over Geometry Monday (I guess it should be renamed Imagining Islamic Aesthetics Monday from now on, because the subjects is going slowly off topic – let me know what you think!) we shall look into computer generated Islamic art.

In addition to the perfect computer generated examples of  Islamic art that is Taprats , I have some more computer generated Islamic Art in my hard drive . Filed under my picture folder, it is actually a series of borders intended for embellishments of invitation and greeting cards. Among the borders and the decorations inside the folders there are a number of good Islamic (or Islamic-inspired) ones.


This is one of my favourite, and it earns the top place, as you can see. I love the colours used, subtle and not too bright, and the Arabesques are perfectly aligned and symmetrical. Note the interlacing design.


The ubiquitous eight point star shape. I can imagine the artist who did this took his/her inspiration from the tiles product of Turkey or Central Asia. In real world, this design would be accompanied by a cross, to fill in the space between each stars.


This is also one of my favourite, though I edited some of the colours, so it is not the original (and I accidentally overwrite the pic. The turquoise parts are actually dark maroon, if you would be interested in imagining how the original looked like). This pattern would actually be seen in mostly in Zellige tilings in Morocco.


One of the border example in the folder. I think this border would be used for decoration of calligraphy. Note the arabesques, the intertwining leaves and stems that flourish from a central flower design.


One of the black-and-white design. It is a medallion design with arabesques border. This is where we can see how the arabesques are in play with geometrical design and how symmetrical everything are.

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Gaga over Geometry Monday #3 – Iznik Tiles

So even though the basic concept of Gaga over Geometry and subsequently the whole blog itself drifts away from the idea of Geometric Design into the General Islamic Art, I will still name this weekly post as Gaga over Geometry. But hey, most of the Islamic Art involves Geometrical pattern and symmetry, so I guess it is okay.

Our focus for today is the Iznik ceramics. Iznik is a name of a town in western Anatolia, Turkey famous for its production of colourful pottery and tiles with floral motifs. We will discuss about the Iznik ceramics in more details in a few more posts.

In the meanwhile, let us see some of the examples of these ceramics.

This is one of the Iznik tile decoration in Selimiye Mosque in the Edirne, Turkey. Note the Chinese like motif in the forms of floral and vegetal pattern.

This is a Saz-style panel of Iznik pottery now being displayed in the Louvre, France. It seems that the Iznik tile artisans while taking their inspirations from floral and vegetal motifs, they also took their patterns from peacock feathers.

This is another example of Iznik Tiling. This particular speciment is taken from the Enderun Library in the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, Turkey. You can note that the preferred colours used are shades of blue and ochre, along with greens.

An Iznik pottery plate, presumably in a museum in Istanbul, Turkey. This is an example to show you that the Iznik Pottery is not limited to just for architectural decoration, but to daily items as well. Look how similar it is to the traditional China – the blue colours and the floral and vegetal motif. This is clearly to say that the artisans of these fine artworks took their inspirations from Chinese articles.

Another excellent example of daily life pottery, this time in the form of a lamp for a mosque. This particular example is presumably from a museum in Lyon, France. Note, like the last example, the similarity of this one to China pottery.

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Gaga over Geometry Monday #2 – Muqarnas

We have studied the form and function of Muqarnas architetural feature in Islamic art and architecture. In case you felt that the pics on the post is not enough, I am posting more pics here!

This is a picture of Qutb Minar, in India, Delhi : A minaret-like tower with Islamic decoration all around with traditional Hindu style of architecture. You can see the Quran isncriptions on the circumference of the tower. On the top of the balcony, there is the beauty that is Muqarnas decorating above the Quranic inscriptions.

This is a more modern Muqarnas decoration in Albukhary Mosque in Alor Setar, Malaysia. Note the ubiquitous eight-pointed star in the motif, and note how it expands to form the architectural feature.

This is a picture of  a Muqarnas decoration above a portal for a Mosque in Bursa, Turkey. I am thinking the style would be designed by Sinan, the Chief Architect of the Royal family. Note how he integrated floral designs into the Muqarnas. Another feature noteworthy is the pieced screen in the lower middle of the Muqarnas.

I took this from wikipedia.org and it have the caption of Cuba Muqarnas, I am not sure what it refers.It is in Palermo, Italy and by the looks of it, it is either Muslim influences on a local building or an actual muslim building that fall into ruin. See the ornamentation that decorates the pattern, and the borders below the Muqarnas.

This is a close up picture of the Muqarns decoration on a mosque named Qazveh Jame’, and by the name and the style of the decoration I can say it is in Iran or somewhere in Central Asia. Note that the Muqarnas are made with small square tiles, and utilizing the mosaics, calligraphy are done in Kufic style, integrated into the Muqarnas.

I adore this pic, and I salute the photographer for capturing the essence of beauty of the decorations. According to the picture caption, it is taken in Samarkand, the second largest city in Uzbekistan. Looking at this facade, I think the picture is of the facade of a Madrassa  (Religious School) named Tilla-Kari. The cobalt blue and the golden yellow used in the decoration is harmonious and inspire awe to those who came across it. I took this picture from a website called www.fotopedia.com/

This is another breathtaking example of Central Asian style Muqarnas, taken, again from fotopedia.com. We can see how the geometrical design intertwine with the arabesques and how harmoniously it works out on a Muqarnas decoration. With multiple shades of blue, gold, black and white it is a sight to behold and a pleasure to the eyes.

The Mocárabe of  the palaces and mosques of Al-Andalus are not as colourful or extravagant as the Central Asian Muqarnas, but it is as awe-inspiring. The ornamentation range from tilings to stone carving to calligraphy and of course the Mocárabe on this wall. Taken from wikipedia.org, a picture of a window wall in Alhambra, Spain.

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Gaga over Geometry Monday #1

Here I will post some of the finds I got through the Internet. Having broadband at home and high speed internet in the office, it would be such a waste not to utilize them, no?

I spent hours and hours looking for beautiful examples of Islamic geometric and Arabesque designs and I would be lying if I said I never found any breathtaking ones.

I will post this Gaga over Geometry on every Monday, so visit often! or at least, every Monday.  😉 I will feature a different theme every week and in this week it is all about Zillij.

These set of photos are about Zilllij Tiles (also spelled Zellige), a rather special kind of tilling from Morocco. you see, these geometric art are more characteristic to Morocco and Andalusia, while the curvy, vegetal motifs are more common to the Arabian, Middle East.

I love looking at this one : the combination of the colours are pretty and pleasant to the eyes. The colours gradually darken from light pinks, blues and mint greens to darker maroon, forest green and dark blue and then returns, in the center, to pale pink – the colour of the stars in the outer border. The design is noteworthy as well. The lines are done interlaced, and the stars are those of 8-pointed stars.

I think you have already noticed how radial these designs can be. Here is one shining example of the fact. Starting from a small black multi pointed star, it then blooms into more stars in a circular fashion. The colours are muted and subtle, not characteristic to the usual Moroccan colour palatte, but a good effect whatsoever.

This is another beautiful example of the traditional Zillij Tiles. The colours are the exact ones you expect to find decorating the walls of a Moroccan or Andalucian palace. As usual, the 8-pointed star is in the center, and blooms with more multitude of stars. This is actually a photo taken in the Spanish Andalusia palace of Alhambra.

You would never think that this design is the same as the rest, except for the stars, due to the hexagonal shape. Here you can see the progression of the central star to the five pointed star, to the eight pointed stars in the outer border. The colours are a bit gloomy, but still a wonderful example.

This is an example of how these Zillij works on a wall. This one is taken from Saadian tombs in Marrakesh, Morocco. Note that the dado is decorated with Quranic inscriptions, in two different styles – Kufic and Thuluth. Again, the radial form of the design shows and accentuated (and highlighted) with two different colours, red and blue, complimented with tones of light green, tan and black.

More coming next week, keep visiting!

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