ORGANIC PATTERNS: Islamic Geometry & Arabesque Art Forms

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This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.

Unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam scripture strictly forbids any depiction of creation such as animals, humanoids, etc through art, architecture or functional mediums in between. As such, Islamic scholars came to a consensus of what falls within the boundaries of "non-figurative art", agreeing that linear patterns of foliage, combined without line based ornament designs, calligraphy, or geometric shapes are suitable to be defined as Islamic. This revolutionary approach had a vast affect on art coming out of the desert, and in locations which sought inspiration from it.

Room from Damascus, Unknown, 1711 - 1712, From the collection of: Cincinnati Art Museum
Filled with cut stone, decoratively carved complex patterns of a multitude of materials like ceramics, painted wood panels / ornaments, among others that show a geometric texture and color combination. Despite its complexity, might seem fluid and organic to anyone first entering it, quickly realizing the intricacy and detail put into it.
Qur'an, Unknown, 950 AH, From the collection of: The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait
A beautiful incorporation of repetitive pattern design by geometric shapes bedazzles this Quran version. The density of Arabesque decorations is wonderfully oriented and harmonious, suggesting this belonged to someone important, maybe royalty.
(Fol. 8 verso / book image source), From the collection of: The J. Paul Getty Museum
Fragments of the oldest Quran (Koran) encompasses the essence of traditional Islamic art through minimalist interpretations of decorative art and calligraphy with consideration on both positive and negative space, vastly different from later designs which are associated with that era, but come later and are much denser in interpreting space.
Kufic Calligraphy, Fresco, Wazir Khan Mosque, Walled City of Lahore Authority, From the collection of: Walled City of Lahore Authority
A stricking mix of color, pattern variety, and decorative density makes for an art piece of this Mosque's ceiling and walls in Pakistan.
Mihrab (prayer niche), Unknown, Late 15th century - 16th century, From the collection of: Cincinnati Art Museum
Following a strict rule of vertical vs horizontal spaces, and various shades of the same color, this mosaic Mihrab points to the direction which worshipers are supposed to direct their prayers.
Ferman with a Tughra, Unknown, Turkey, 16th Century, 1500/1600, From the collection of: The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar
Arabic calligraphy was variously developed only after Islam was announced to the world; since messages are words, their written translations must not only be understood, but admired both aesthetically and religiously.
Embroidery, Unkown, From the collection of: Azerbaijan Carpet Museum
Used by many as a temporary prayer carpet for home use, this embroidery has a fair incorporation of contrasting elements such as color, layout combinations, and spacing allow the worshiper to delve in their prayer ritual without feeling far from a holy aura of being in a mosque.
Wooden Arch, Unknown, 1301 AH, From the collection of: The al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait
Local mosque decorations composed of materials abundant to its geographical location, and the skills of the workforce there as well. Wood carvers, as shown in the video, create these wonderful arabesque designs and plates for the Mihrab of their local mosque.
Tea set with chrysanthemums and arabesque patterns, Kyosatsuma, Kinkozan (1868-1927), Photo by Kimura Youichi, Original Source: Kiyomizu Sannenzaka Museum
This Japanese tea pottery set incorporates Arabesque style decoration, floral designs and pattern repetition techniques on ceramic material.
Bronze Casket, Unknown, India, 12th Century, 1100/1200, From the collection of: The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar
Bronze, copper, iron, and goldsmiths have used their skills to create intricate, culturally satisfying art pieces full of intertwined foliage and iconography. This is not an Islamic art piece but it clearly has heavy influence by the Arabesque art culture.
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This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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