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Islamic Geometric Patterns

arabic geometric pattern

As discussed in class, art historians would classify islamic art used in mosques into three categories.  The first is calligraphic art, discussed in earlier posts.  The second is arabesque, which is a pattern that includes lines and foliage.  This pattern is also common in rugs.  Lastly, there is geometric art, which uses simple shapes to create patterns.

In order to understand these styles, I created a pattern in Adobe Illustrator that is similar to an islamic pattern.  The pattern above is created by a set of polygons with six sides on a white background.  Though this is a very geometric pattern, it also has hints of vegetation that characterize arabesque patterns.  The white negative space, when viewed as positive space, create a flower.  In many ways, the geometric pattern is an abstraction and simplification of arabesque patterns.  This creates an image of life, but also an image of order, which i think is emblematic of the view of god in the Quran.  God provides life and order.

I choose to use shades of blue in the design, to replicate the patterns we saw in images of mosques shown in class.  The blue gives the design a royal feel, since centuries ago, blue dyes were typically too expensive for use by those other than the noble and royal classes.

While this pattern may appear simple, it became extremely apparent when designing this, that these geometric patterns are not easy to create.  In order for the pattern to fit together nicely, a knowledge of math was necessary.  The 6-sided shape needed to be designed very precisely to create symmetry and for the pieces to fit together.  Below is an image of the shapes needed to create the six-sided figure.  It required precision to create the shapes above.

Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 4.59.15 PM

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