GEOMETRY AND ISLAMIC ART

Amongst the first Greek works to be translated into Arabic were Euclid and Pythagoras.

Islamic art began to create complex geometric designs to adorn places, mosques and other public places.

The development of this new distinctive art may have been due to the discouragement of images in Islam on the basis that it could lead to idolatry. In effect, the Muslim artist is recognizing the reality of the fundamental formula of Islam: "There is no divinity other than God".

THE CIRCLE...

... has always been regarded as a symbol of eternity, without beginning and without end.

The circle and its centre, are the point at which all Islamic patterns begin.

It is an apt symbol of a religion that emphasizes one God, symbolizing also, the role of Mecca, the centre of Islam, towards which all Moslems face in prayer.

INFINITELY REPEATING PATTERNS

Alternatively, the development of infinitely repeating patterns can represent the unchanging laws of God.

Muslims are expected to observe certain rules as were originally set forth by the Prophet Muhammad, characterized by the "Pillars of Faith".

In this way the rules of construction of geometric patterns provide a visual analogy to religious rules of behavior.

Geometric motifs are often found in riads, on walls, floors or doors.

The visitor may not be aware of their underlying principals, but how beautifully they evoke the world of crystals or snowflakes or the distant shining of stars!