Square – in the geometrical Islamic Art
This week I am showing you the photo challenge theme “Square” interpreted in the geometrical designs of Islamic Art, as seen in Lahore, Pakistan. In Islamic Art, generated from simple forms as the circle and the square, geometric patterns were combined, duplicated, interlaced, and arranged in intricate combinations, thus becoming one of the most distinguishing features of Islamic art.
The objects, which I photographed in Lahore, are part of the Lahore Fort and the Badshahi Mosque built by the Mughuls in the 15-16th century and UNESCO heritage sites. The other objects are a collection of wooden carvings from a Haveli, as the palace like houses with big courtyards are called. Today this particular building is part of a recommended restaurant in Lahore, the Cuckoo’s Den. The construction of this Haveli dates back to before “Partition Era”, which refers to the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, simultaneously getting their independence from the British rule of over 200 years.
This much to the history and background. A short note on the photography: it was a challenge in December in Lahore, with an undulating fog over the city, which is crossed by a river bed.
Lahore Fort: Squares in geometric designs
Squares in the ceiling of the mirror palace
This part of the palace is called the mirror palace for use of mirror inlays, along with mother of pearl, marble and precious stones.
Squares with floral designs
Floor with geometric design
Even though this floor does not have strict square geometric design, I could not resist adding it!
Squares in the geometrical designs of the Badshahi Mosque
The wooden carvings from the Haveli of Cuckoo’s den
Squares integrated to a geometric design
Reference and further reading
The metropolitan museum of Art
The complex patterns, as shown above, seem to embody a refusal to adhere strictly to the rules of geometry. As a matter of fact, geometric ornamentation in Islamic art suggests a remarkable amount of freedom; in its repetition and complexity, it offers the possibility of infinite growth and can accommodate the incorporation of other types of ornamentation as well.
The four basic shapes, or “repeat units,” from which the more complicated patterns are constructed are circles and interlaced circles; squares or four-sided polygons; the ubiquitous star pattern, ultimately derived from squares and triangles inscribed in a circle; and multisided polygons.
Islamic Art and Geometric Design– an exercise, try it!