The Complex Geometry of Islamic Design

I had seen this video several times before this on Facebook, but I didn’t thought of posting it on this blog before!

This is a beautifully made video of a short introduction to the world of Islamic Design and art. If you are interested in Islamic art you should find this a very interesting insight indeed.

It is a lesson by Eric Broug, one of the most prominent teacher of Islamic art and design. I had recommended his book once, and this video should show you why his works are quite popular with Islamic art enthusiasts.

Internet Finds -Virtual Museums

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the nations, like many many people out there I am too confined to my house, as I am seen as unfit to go to work like my fellow colleagues. So I have a lot of time to fill after WFH duties, and as a student of Islamic art, what can we do to satisfy our curiosity on the subject of Islamic art and architecture?

I came across an article in Facebook about several museums offering virtual tours of their galleries, and though some of them do offer galleries on Islamic art (and their offerings on other kinds of subjects are also very substantial, if you appreciate history and art in general, you should consider a visit!) most of them only share a little glimpse on the vast world of Islamic artistry. Here I share with you my fellow stay-at-home WFH friends to satiate the hunger for Islamic beauty.

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The British Museum of this very fascinating Virtual Tour of their collections, spanning thousands of years across the continents and cultures. In this Guitar Hero like format featuring a cute tinkle when you pass a something in the timeline, you only click on a dot to see a featured artifact (like what I did with this Gold Coin of Abdul Malik) and learn more about it as well as the history and the culture of which the item is identified with. It also features audio guides!

They also feature a Google Map of the museum, so you can virtually, step-by-step, visit the all galleries safely behind your computer screen.

It has been a lifelong dream of me to be able to visit the British Museum and perhaps one day I may be able to accomplish it, but for now this is sufficient. An excellent Virtual Museum from an excellent Museum!

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Although not as interactive as the British Museum Virtual Galleries, Museum With No Frontiers Islamic Art section is a robust gallery of information on many topics of Islamic Art. You can discover the usual subjects such as the Geometric art or Calligraphy, or something that is more obscure like the Mudejar Art in Spain. If you love Islamic art like me you wouldn’t want to miss this opportunity of take a look at these galleries and learn a little bit more about the beauty of Islamic art and architecture!

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The Met Museum does not have its own virtual gallery, however there are a lot of resources and articles on a wide variety of subjects on Islamic art, a peek into a specially built room within the museum as well as videos and collection highlights. The collections are beautifully presented digitally and definitely worth a visit.

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Although offering no virtual museum of their own, you can still browse several selected artifacts in the galleries of this museum. Like other museum they are also affected by the COVID-19 scare, and closed their doors. The museum features Islamic art and architecture encompassing many of the Islamic regions, including the less noted but no less important Nusantara (Malay Peninsula) region. Being so close I have to feature this museum as it is one of the first places I went to for my independent Islamic art study. Come take a look and you have have a warrant to visit this place the next time you travel after this pandemic is finished.

I hope these virtual galleries and museums will tide you over during these hard times and perhaps inspire you for your next museum visit once this dire situation is over, and most importantly it will take your mind off eating your supply of food…I know it did for me! Happy browsing!

 

Qatar Museums’ Pattern Canvas Online App

So I recovered *some* of the Oman exhibit photos from my rapidly deteriorating laptop, and I am desperate to find ways on how to get my photos off it before it goes six feet under. Though I did managed to transfer those photos safely to my external hard drive, then WordPress -or rather, my internet connection,- does not allow them to be uploaded to the blog.

Also, Do you remember the thing I posted about crowdfunding thing? Yeah….it’s not going to happen. apparently us Bruneians don’t deserve crowdfunding. The funding I am only entitled to are interest-laden loan schemes offered by the banks. Goodbye, new computer.

*smh*

Anyway, while waiting for the other photos of the Oman exhibit to come up and be upload-able to the blog, I was lead to yet another fun app on the internet, for you to use for your Islamic Geometric Design needs.

Behold, the Qatar Museums’ Pattern Canvas – Play Designer app. Whew, that’s a mouthful. Please click on the photo to access the app.

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What you have here is an offering from the Qatar Museums that allows you to play with a number of geometric shapes – namely triangle, square, circle and diamond – and arrange them on a blank canvas to create a diverse, kaleidoscopic designs of geometrical beauty, or chaos, whichever you choose.

You are offered a number of tools to help you create your masterpieces. You can choose from six different colours for the borders of the shape and the shape themselves, the thickness (or absence of) the borders of the shapes, reflections (or symmetry, as we geometry lovers would have referred to) of the shapes ranging from two to eight reflections, as well as a slider to control the size of the shapes you would like them to appear on the canvas.

While you are drawing on the canvas, you can freeze the shapes drawn on the canvas with a click of the mouse. Unfortunately you cannot choose whether your next pattern can be overlaid on top of the previous drawing or be combined with it – it is always the former. Too bad because it will create a plethora of patterns just with that small little detail.

It is not as robust and as interesting as the Taprats java app I introduced some time ago, but it is a nice distraction and a simple way to create patterns – which, somehow in my case, looks vaguely Islamic, but more of a psychedelic, 60’s 70’s inspired mandala designs, what with all that striking in your face colours.

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One of my patterns made with the app. Rather bland, I must say

While you play around with the app, please allow me to rummage through my storage for my Oman photos. It is got to be somewhere…

Internet Finds – A website for DIYers with Islamic Inspiration

I am currently working on a number of projects that really got hold of my time daily, I hardly have any moment to spare for blogging, and I truly apologize. The new semester will be starting soon for my university as well, so you can imagine how packed my daily schedule is!

I have found this website late last year while I was looking for ideas to decorate my new room soon,  and I was meaning to post it around late December (see what I mean?) This website, managed by a Muslim Arab-American woman by the name of  Lama, has tons and tons of contents and decorating ideas inspired by Islamic designs.

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She also has a page dedicated for stencils and decals that you may be able to use for your own projects. As a fellow DIYer and an admirer of the Islamic art, I am truly amazed by her work. She also has a shop, which sells various products made from fabric, decorated with calligraphy works, but the shop is not ready yet. She does have an Etsy shop  Although I had not purchased anything from the shop yet nor have I inquired her of purchasing her products, but I am particularly fond of the Quran covers she offered at her shop.

 

Please click on any of the pictures to go to her website directly at http://homesynchronize.com

Internet Finds – Geomation

I have been meaning to post this for quite a while now, since I saw it from a page in Facebook. Unfortunately the video on the page were only made available to be shared on Facebook, not on  blogs. Also it disappeared from Facebook pretty quickly.So I was scampering to find the video on youtube, not knowing what the title was. Turns out the title of the video was simply Geomation (D’oh!)

This video showcases an animation of a geometric pattern from the Alcazar, Seville in Spain. The pattern is quite a common one, and it looks simple enough from the start. However it becomes complicated with the number of eight pointed stars featured on the pattern, as well as the intersecting lines – it will definitely be very difficult for beginners to follow and very confusing.

The music of the video is rather creepy for me, but bear with it and watch as lines and circles forms into stars and diamonds before your eyes.

Drawn animation of a geometric pattern from the Alcazar, Seville, Spain.

Internet Finds – More Islamic Art Influenced Interior Design

I actually saw these articles from one of my favourite website, Apartment Therapy, in early February. However, I keep forgetting to post  plus I was a bit too busy since the beginning of the year that I only remembered just recently. It is a funny thing too, because I find them very interesting and also I actually gasped and wowed at the second one!

All pictures are courtesy of Apartment Therapy. Please click on the images to go directly to the articles.

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The first articles takes a peek into the apartment of a Venezuelan lawyer and focuses on her custom made Mandala bookcase. The Mandala design looks -and certainly can be described as – an Islamic 12 pointed star. According to Veronica, the owner of the unique bookcase, she wanted a library, but also wanted to be different, so she commissioned a carpenter to make it for her. I liked that she added Oriental style accessories to the room i.e the rug and the lantern in the middle of the coffee table.

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The second is a before-and-after article, a very dramatic transformation of a plain small room into a very busy-yet-peaceful dining room. Perhaps it is the Moroccan Zellige inspired wallpapers that strikes me the most, but actually it is the harmony of the patterns in the room that really amazed me. The whole room is designed by Matthew Patrick Smyth, who is obviously inspired by Moroccan patterns, and added modern, minimalistic furniture to it.

Internet Finds – TEDxSummit intro: The power of x

A few weeks ago, my facebook wall was quite abuzz with this video about something mentioning a dance that imitates the Islamic geometry design. Comments were all positive, many say it was very impressive, some say amazing. I was, of course, very interested and excited to see what is it all about! However, having a very undependable internet connection, I couldn’t open the video at all, not even in the lowest quality possible! For shame..

Now, in the dead of the night, I can finally see the whole video on an acceptable setting and by goodness the comments were right, he video is just amazing to see!

I quote the description in the video page on Youtube –

Dancers + camera + kaleidoscope = this infinitely gorgeous short video. (Watch in 1080p fullscreen if you can.) It’s made for TEDxSummit, an unprecedented gathering of TEDx organizers from around the world– and the video celebrates “the power of x” to multiply great ideas.

The video, as the description above said, were a combination of many artistic elements. The whole video was shot using an eighteen metre tall mirrored triangular structure (imagine that!) with the help of dancers whose choreography created designs with their poses. Since they were using a triangle structure, the designs recreated were six-pointed in nature – hexagrams and hexagons. It is simply a sight to behold!