A Word A Week Photo Challenge – Squares, in Lahore, Pakistan

Square – in the geometrical Islamic Art

Lamps with square geometric patternsThis 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

Lahore Fort: Squares in geometric designs

Lahore Fort: Squares in geometric designs

This part of the palace is called the mirror palace for use of mirror inlays, along with mother of pearl, marble and precious stones.

Lahore Fort: Squares in geometric designs

Lahore Fort: Squares in geometric designs

Sheesh Mahal or Mirror palace, Lahore Fort, Pakistan

Sheesh Mahal or Mirror palace, Lahore Fort, Pakistan

Squares with floral designs

Squares with floral designs

Squares with floral designs

Squares with floral designs

Squares with floral designs

Floor with geometric design

Floor with geometric design

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

Badshahi Mosque, Lahore

Badshahi Mosque, Lahore

The wooden carvings from the Haveli of Cuckoo’s den

Squares integrated to a geometric design

Squares integrated to a geometric design

Squares integrated to a geometric design

Squares integrated to a geometric design

Squares integrated to a geometric design

Squares integrated to a geometric design

Squares integrated to a geometric design

Squares integrated to a geometric design

Squares integrated to a geometric design

Squares integrated to a geometric design

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 Designan exercise, try it!

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8 responses to “A Word A Week Photo Challenge – Squares, in Lahore, Pakistan

    • It indeed is beautiful! An appreciating eye and a camera could bring out so much beauty of the war and terror torn country, suffocated internationally and from within due to a (thank God) minority, but fanatic minded group! My aim is to present to present the world a Pakistan, they don’t know! Thank you for the appreciation! Spread the word!

  1. Beautiful photography! It seems that it is a very styled form of the square and in many cases the square forms the frame for ovals and pentagons. It is interesting to see how creative the designs get using just these simple geometric shapes. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks, and you are welcome. Yes, it is this geometric base, which integrates other designs and how creative they have developed further,nt restricting themselves, instead being innovative – that appealed to me, when I looked again at these photos in light of this challenge

  3. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside | Stories of The Wandering Feet & Mind·

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