The beauty of Islamic geometric designs, and the breathtaking skill of the craftsmen who created them, are admired the world over. The intricacy and artistry of the patterns can seem almost beyond the powers of human ingenuity.
In this handsomely illustrated volume, artist and teacher Eric Broug analyses and explains these complex designs for the first time in their historical and physical context. His own original drawings accompany magnificent photographs of mosques, madrasas, palaces and tombs from the Islamic world, ranging from North Africa to Iran and Uzbekistan, and from the 8th to the 19th centuries.
The creators of these patterns were usually anonymous and there is little evidence for their working practices, but a close and detailed study of the designs can tell us much. Combining wide-ranging empirical research with his own artistic skills and sensibility, Eric Broug shows how, over the centuries, craftsmen were able to adorn beautiful buildings with wonderful geometric patterns using the simplest of tools and without recourse to mathematical calculations. Design elements created from straight lines and circles were placed in grids and then repeated and varied to generate seemingly limitless arrays of dazzling patterns.
Chapters are devoted to each of the main ‘families’ of geometric design – fourfold, fivefold and sixfold – and to the complex ‘combined’ patterns. Every design is carefully explained, and illustrated with a wealth of stunning photographs and clear, meticulously detailed drawings.
Readers can follow the design processes by which these patterns were created and even learn to reproduce and invent geometric patterns for themselves, using exactly the same tools as the Islamic craftsmen of old: a ruler and a pair of compasses.