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Learn the different tessellations and motifs of Islamic architecture from around the world.
The Art of Polymaths
During the Golden Age of Islam (8th – 14th century CE), Muslims created their own form of architecture, hybrid of different forms, traditions and practices. It is often called the art of polymaths, academics who are knowledgeable in multiple subjects, because it combines art and mathematics. For example, a simple 12 point star in this tessellation (pictured left) requires precise calculations to ensure all points are precise. Artists and mathematicians drew all motifs before they were painted on ceilings, tiles and woven into carpets.
All Islamic architectural buildings may looks the same, however, they are all unique to the local culture, practices and environment. For example in Shaanxi, China, you will find the Great Mosque of Xi’an. A mosque that has no dome or minaret and looks similar to Chinese Buddhist and Taoist Temples. The building is decorated with Chinese Arabic calligraphy called Sini Arabic, which decorates the walls and entrance of the mosque. The mihrab is decorated with Chinese motifs and the main prayer area features painted dougong (wooden brackets), that is common in Chinese architecture.
Create your own 8 point star motif or a tessellation online using different shapes!
Learn more facts and history of the Taj Mahal.