November 14, 2021

Islamic geometric art: the scientific approach

Islamic geometric art: the scientific approach

Art and culture have always played an essential role in the development of humanity. For several centuries, the cultural heritage preserved in museums and art galleries or passed down from generation to generation has served as a fundamental source for education and learning.

However, artisans in the Islamic world continue to practice their art while disclosing their methods only to their sons and a few dedicated apprentices.

In addition, Islamic art has been arousing the interest of a multidisciplinary scientific community. Some of the research carried out has focused on analyzing the construction of geometric ornaments. On the other hand, others offer methods of reconstructing old geometric patterns or even creating new ones.

The scientific methods of studying Islamic geometric decors are based on a mathematical approach that principally depends on symmetry and tiling:

• The methods that depend on symmetry start from a fundamental motif. Then, we can constitute a basic pattern by applying symmetry. Those patterns will be repeated through translation in two directions to form the final ornament.

• The tiling methods are divided into periodic and aperiodic techniques:

        -Periodic tiling methods, also called polygonal techniques, are first based on dividing the plane, followed by covering its tiles with star patterns.

        -The aperiodic tiling methods are based on a non-periodic tiling of the plane (this will be explained in a future post).

Aperiodic tiling of Penrose