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A marvellous book: the best book on designing Islamic geometric patterns
on 19 May 2014
I have 11 books specifically on Islamic geometric design on my shelf excluding this one. The others fall into 3 categories: catalogues of designs with little descriptive text (e.g. Bourgoin "Arabic Geometrical Pattern and Design"), attempts to impose spiritual and religious meaning on to the designs (e.g. Critchlow "Islamic Patterns: An analytical and Cosmological approach"), and analyses that attempt an academic analyses of the different patterns (e.g. Abas & Salman "Symmetries of Islamic Geometrical Patterns"). Although these books contain many beautiful patterns, they contain little text that is either useful or readable (he only exception is Broug's other book "Islamic Geometric Patterns").
It is therefore with great delight that I can wholeheartedly recommend this book which is well written, engrossing, encyclopaedic and beautifully illustrated. Instead of trying to impose some religious or artistic "meaning" on the patterns, Broug simply describes how, when and where the patterns were developed. He understands the construction of these designs intimately ("for the first ten years of my studies of this topic, I only ever worked with a pair of compasses and a ruler"), and attempts to pass that knowledge on. It is a great resource book for crafts people, and the only book that you will need on how to design Islamic patterns. It is not, however, an encyclopaedia of patterns, and would be best used in conjunction with one such as the Bourgoin book.