Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach Paperback – 3 May 1983
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'Will make intricate pattern-making much simpler to understand and create...highly recommended'
-- Tile & Stone Journal
About the Author
Keith Critchlow is Director of Research and Director of Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts at the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture. An internationally known lecturer on Islamic art, he is the author of "Pythagorean Geometry." He lives in England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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This book provides a comprehensive insight into Islamic Patterns in a clear and concise way. I have used this book on a number of occasions when I have needed inspiration for drawings, paintings and even for works of management strategy - curiously enough. It has a wonderful way of both focusing and relaxing the mind that seems to encourage channeled creativity.
The geometric designs are an ancient art who beginnings El-Said, among others, has traced to Egyptian Pharaonic dynasties and Mesopotamian city-states of the third millennium B.C. The precision comes not from astronomical phenomena or scientific instruments, but from "elaborate rules of mensuration" involving signifying numbers, multiplication, division, geometrical forms, and other elements. Operations within these and combinations of them could grow very complex; but they could always be broken down into elementary factors and basic functions. The ancient Islamic architects and artists were both inspired and bound by the systems of mensuration. The palaces, temples, monuments, and other buildings they made were paragons for following generations. Thus while there is an almost infinite variation in the designs because the rules of the classical mensuration were so elaborate, the reliance on the elementary geometric forms gives a superficial resemblance to all the designs. The uniqueness of an Islamic design is in its details; not in any experimental, sensational, or idiosyncratic composition or effects as in Western modernist art for example.
Although the principles of the geometric design have remained basically the same for centuries, there have been only a handful of works explaining and discussing these principles in an analytic and demonstrative way such as El-Said does. El-Said's book is outstanding for its lucidity and pithiness. The large portion of many pages are illustrations of the principles of geometric design by diagrams of how designs are formed from the fundamental forms and mathematical functions. These diagrams look something like the diagrams of chemical compounds seen in chemistry textbooks or pictures of snowflakes. This combination of lucid text and instructive visual matter make this an outstanding book for learning about the geometric design. What one learns applies to Islamic architecture and art throughout history and in different geographical areas.
In fact the patterns are present also in other cultures so this book is about the archetypes of creation, the sacred geometries that remind us that the whole inhabits the parts - the undeniable spark that connects all life together. Neatly illustrates the flower of life matrix and its manifestations
For the maths lovers, also a lot on magic squares.
Very well explained in text and wonderfully illustrated. I have mine in an old edition and keep buying as a gift for friends - it's a jewel, Keith Critchlow is a name I respect.
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