[VIDEO] Islamic Geometric Art – Know the Science Behind it

Islamic geometric art has dazzled and amazed artists as well as laymen for centuries with its intricate designs and complex patterns. The origin of these designs can be traced back to the use of geometry as art by Islamic craftsmen who were not allowed to draw human or animal figures to adorn their holy places. The inspiration for this design aesthetic is said to have come from pre-existing Roman and Persian motifs, in consequence, preserving and further developing the cultures of previous civilizations. What’s more, use of geometry for art is attributed to much of mathematical and scientific achievements during the golden age of Islamic history.


These elaborate patterns are a crucial part of Islamic architecture and can be seen gracing palaces, mosques and madrasas both modern and historic, around the world. These designs take shape in a variety of materials including carpets, ceramic, stone screens, windows, vaults, tilework, stained glass, textile, metal and wood work. No matter how detailed these designs look, if one studies them closely, they are actually based on mathematical grids using only the combinations of repeated circles and squares.

The only tools required to draw these complex patterns are a compass and a ruler.

British artist and author Eric Broug, a global ambassador of Islamic geometric design, demonstrates the math behind the complex geometrical patterns associated with Islamic design in the video below. According to Broug, whether it’s an intricate floral motif on a Moroccan carpet or the infinite multiplicity of geometric pattern on the tiles of a mosque in Uzbekistan, these designs can simply be made with the use of a compass and ruler. A circle within a square, divided up with straight lines can result in an infinite number of patterns. 4-fold, 5-fold or 6-fold symmetry and an underlying, invisible grid forms the basis of every pattern which helps in the accuracy of the design and in creation of newer patterns. Watch the video to see how a confoundingly complex design, when broken down in its basic elements is actually really simple to create.

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