Robert Estalella

Arabic mosaics


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Plots of geometric patterns of arabic mosaics.

The mosaics shown here were drawn using the program mosaic. The program can draw circles, lines, and points as intersection of lines or circles, as if using a ruler and a compass. The program reads a geometrical definition of the base tile of the pattern, rotates and copies the base tile to create the mosaic tile, which is plotted at the points of the grid defining the mosaic. See an example of def_file, and some examples of base tiles, mosaic tiles, and interlaces.

Inspired by Eric Broug's book, Islamic Geometric Patterns, Thames & Hudson, London, 2008.

When posible, the colors of the mosaics have been choosen to match those of the original mosaic. Among the mosaics shown you can find the 19 designs of Broug's book, Alhambra mosaics photographed by me and from an exhibition at the Design Museum of Barcelona, mosaics seen in a trip to Morocco, and other mosaics from images found in books or the Internet.

Classification

Each mosaic is classified with a code, for instance, sy4/p8/d2r. In general, the code is
syR/pP/dD[r]
where the three numbers R, P, and D characterize the mosaic pattern:

References


Designs from Islamic Geometric Patterns (Eric Broug, 2008)

In order of incresing complexity, and identified with the book page number.
p27 (sy4/p8/d2r):
The Great Mosque of Córdoba (784)
p30 (sy4/p8/d2r):
The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia (670)
p34 (sy6/p6/d1):
Mustansiriya Madrasa, Baghdad, Irak (1227)
p37 (sy6/p6/d2):
Esrefoglu Mosque, Beysehir, Turkey (1297)
p41 (sy4/p8/d2):
Capella Palatina, Palermo, Sicily (1132). A very common design, which can de found in d10 and m3
p43 (sy4/p8/d2):
The Koran of Rashid al-Din, Tabriz, Iran (1315). The same design, tilted 45 degrees. See also m4.
p46 (sy6/p6/d1):
The 'Abd al-Samad
Complex, Natanz, Iran (1304). Slightly modified to avoid degenerate triple points of interlaces.
49 (sy6/p6/d2.5):
The Great Mosque of Damascus, Syria (709)
p52 (sy6/p12/d3r):
The Great Mosque of Herat, Afghanistan (1200). You can find the same design in 4.52 and a15
p55 (sy3/c):
The Alhambra, Granada (1302-91). See different variants of this design in a1 and d25.
p58 (sy2/i):
The East Tower of Kharraqan, Iran (1067)
p62 (sy4/p8/d3):
The Huand Hatum Complex, Kayseri, Turkey (1238)
p66(sy4/p8/d2r):
The Mosque of al-Salih Tala'i, Cairo, Egypt (1160)
p71(sy4/p12/d4r):
Ben Yusuf Madrasa, Marrakesh, Morocco (1564). Slightly modified to improve the geometry.
76 (sy4/p8/d2r):
The Tomb of Jalal al-Din Hussein, Uzgen, Kyrgyzstan (1152)
p82 (sy6/p12/d4r):
The Mosque of al-Nasir Muhammad, Cairo, Egypt (1318). See the same design in 1.54 and a10
p88 (sy4/p12/d4r):
Mamluk Koran, Damascus, Syria (1338)
p99 (sy4/p12/d3r):
The Tomb of Bibi Jawindi, Uch, Pakistan (1494)
p104 (sy6/p12/d4r):
Qarawiyyin Mosque, Fez, Morocco (857). Slightly modified to allow interlaces tessellation.

Mosaics and pictures from Islamic geometric design, Eric Broug, 2013

2.37 (sy6/p6/d2):
Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo, Egypt (969-71). The same design can be found in 4.24
2.44 (sy6/p6/d2):
Madrasa of Abu al-Hassan, Salé, Morocco (1333)
3.11 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Ali Ben Yusuf Madrasa, Marrakesh, Morocco (1564-65)
3.28 (sy4/p16/d6r):
Saadian tombs, Marrakesh, Morocco (1578-1603). The same design can be found in the Alhambra, mosaic a11
3.37 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Mamluk Sultan Qala'un, Cairo, Egypt (1284-85)
3.58 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Ghurid portal of the Friday Mosque, Herat, Afghanistan (1446)
4.24 (sy6/p6/d2):
Timurid tile panel (Central Asia, 14th-15th centuries) showing two different 6-point star mosaics. See the same design in 2.37.
4.52 (sy6/p12/d3r):
Enamelled earthenware fragment, Konya, Turkey (12th century). See a similar design in p52 and a15.
4.38c: (sy6/p6/d2):
Several window lattices in stone of the Mamluk Sultan Qala'un, Cairo, Egypt (1284-85)
4.38a, d: (sy4/p8/d2r, sy4/p12/d5r)
1.54 (sy6/p12/d4r):
Kasbah of Telouet, Morocco (contemporary). See the same design in p82 and a10.
p233 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Design with 8-point stars with rays and petals

The Alhambra

a1 (sy3/c):
One of the most beautiful mosaics in the Alhambra, with curved petals, hexagons, and 6-point stars. See similar designs in p55 and d25.
d25 (sy3/c):
Very similar mosaic, with curved petals and 6-point stars (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016). See similar designs in p55 and a1.
a2 (sy4/p8/d2):
Mosaic with squares and 8-point stars. A popular mosaic that can be found at present in houses in Morocco. See m7 and d11.
d11 (sy4/p8/d2):
Another version of the same mosaic (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016). See a2 and m7.
a3 (sy4/p4/d1):
Mosaic with large octagons, color hexagons, and small squares
d12 (sy4/p4/d1):
Mosaic with 8-point stars in a tilted square pattern (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016)
d28 (sy4/p8/d2):
Mosaic with 8-point stars in two colors and complex black and white tiles with a single shape (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016)
a28 (sy4/p8/d2):
Stucco wall in the Alhambra, with the same motif as the former mosaic
a26 (sy4/p8/d2):
Stucco wall in the Alhambra, with a complex interlace pattern creating 8-point stars
a15 (sy6/p12/d3r):
Stucco wall, with decorated 12-point stars
d22 (sy6/p6/d1r):
Simple and beautiful mosaic with hexagons and small triangles (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016)
d42 (sy4/p8/d3):
Mosaic with large and small 8-point stars, with color and black petals (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016)
d44 (sy1/i):
Mosaic with flattened hexagons, in three colors (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016)
d10 (sy4/p8/d2):
Mosaic with 8-point stars surrounded by dark crosses (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016)
a6 (sy2/i):
The famous "bat mosaic", with blue and black "bats", and white hexagons and 4-point stars
a4b (sy2/i):
Mosaic with horizontal and vertical tiles, and tilted 4-point stars, with a color pattern emphasizing the stars
a4a (sy2/i):
The same mosaic, with a color pattern emphasizing the horizontal and vertical tiles
a5 (sy2/i):
Mosaic with white and color 6-point-stars, tilted to the right and to the left
a7a (sy2/c):
"Spaceship" mosaic with curved edge tiles of just one shape, in two colors, and four different orientations
a7b (sy2/i):
"Bone" mosaic with tiles of just one shape, in three colors, vertical and horizontal
a7c (sy2/c):
"Leaf" mosaic with tiles of just one shape, in three colors, vertical and horizontal
a7d (sy2/i):
"Pin" mosaic, another mosaic with tiles of just one shape, in three colors, vertical and horizontal
a7e (sy2/i):
"Glider" mosaic, another mosaic with tiles of just one shape, in three colors, vertical and horizontal
d30 (sy1/i):
Mosaic with tiles of just one shape, in two colors (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016)
d38 (sy1/c):
Mosaic with tiles of just one shape, with curved edges, in two colors (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016)
a8 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Mosaic with color and white 8-point stars
a9 (sy4/p4/d1.5):
Mosaic with 4-point stars
a11 (sy4/p16/d6r):
Colorful mosaic with 16-point stars, and small 8-point stars. One of the most complex non-interlaced Alhambra mosaics
a12 (sy4/p12/d4r):
Extraordinary Alhambra interlaced mosaic, with large 12-point stars of different designs, with rays and petals, and smaller 12-point stars. The large stars are interchangeable. Here, a version with just one kind or large 12-point stars, and other versions, with different kinds of large 12-point stars, with black petals, with black and orange coompound petals, and with light blue and blsck compound petals
a13 (sy4/p8/d2r, sy4/p16/d6r):
Another impressive Alhambra interlaced mosaic, with large 16-point stars with rays and petals in the corners and the center, and small 8-point stars. Different versions show a large 8-point star, with double interlaces, or a large octogon with double interlaces
a14 (sy4/p8/d2):
Extraordinary mosaic, with multiple-colors interlaces
a16 (sy4/p8/d3):
Different variations of an interlaced mosaic composed of two kinds of 8-point stars
a27 (sy4/p8/d2):
Double interlaced 8-point stars
a10 (sy6/p12/d4r):
Mosaic with 12-point stars, white rays, and color petals
a0807 (sy2/p8/d2):
Complex mosaic with green interlaces, forming large and small 8-point stars, and irregular 7-point stars (Wade Photo Archive)
a1107 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Complex mosaic with double interlaces, showing a central 8-point stars surrounded by 8 larger 8-point stars (Wade Photo Archive)
a0315 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Mosaic with white 8-point stars with petals, and black 8-point star. The original is in quite a bad condition (Wade Photo Archive)
a0610 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Mosaic with a similar design, but with color tiles and interlaces (Wade Photo Archive)
a1005 (sy4/p8/d2):
Simple mosaic with 8-point stars (Wade Photo Archive)
a1009 (sy2/p8/d2r):
Mosaic with 8-point stars and lobed octagons (Wade Photo Archive)
a17 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Alhambra mosaic with a complex geometry. The geometry of the base tile is determined by the fifteen 8-point stars (some of them with missing vertices), in dark blue and black. The fit between the geometry of the central and outer parts of the mosaic is accomplished by the two crowns of 4 and 5-point pieces in black and yellow. The construction of the base tile requires the definition of 9 circles, 75 lines, 438 points, 226 areas, and 31 interlaces. The area shown is a 110% of the mosaic tile.

Alcázar de Sevilla

s12 (sy6/p12/d4r):
Mosaic with large 12-point stars, and smaller 8- and 6-point stars
s8 (sy4/p8/d2r):
Mosaic with large and small 8-point stars, heavily interlaced
s1 (sy4/p4/d1):
Simple mosaic in three colors
s2 (sy4/p8/d3):
Mosaic with large and small 8-point stars in two different colors
s29 (sy4/p8/d2):
Mosaic combining 8-point stars in two colors and 6-point stars
s2215 (sy4/p8/d3):
Mosaic combining 8-point stars of two shapes (Wade Photo Archive)
s2221 (sy6/c, sy2/c):
Two mosaics in the Alcazar de Sevilla with tiles with curved edges (Wade Photo Archive)
s2303 (sy2/6p2):
Mosaic with 6-point stars and black arrows (Wade Photo Archive)
s2311 (sy4/8p3):
Mosaic with two kinds of 8-point stars (Wade Photo Archive)

Great Mosque of Cordoba

c1 (sy4/c):
Lattice in stone from a window of the Great Mosque of Cordoba, with curved tiles of a single shape, in four orientations
c5 (sy4/p8/d2):
Lattice in stone from a window of the Great Mosque of Cordoba, showing interlaced 8-point stars and squares
c8a (sy4/i):
Decorative brick wall closing a window of the Great Mosque of Cordoba
c8b (sy4/i):
Decorative brick wall closing a window of the Great Mosque of Cordoba
c10 (sy2/i):
Brick wall decorating the lintel of a window of the Great Mosque of Cordoba
c12 (sy4/i):
Brick wall decorating the lintel of a window of the Great Mosque of Cordoba
c4.10 (sy6/p6/d2):
Lattice in stone from a window of the Great Mosque of Cordoba, with 6-point stars

Mosaics from India (images from http://patterninislamicart.com)

IND 0417 (sy6/p12/d3r):
Mosaic in 4 colors, with 12-point stars and 6-lobed floral motives (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0416 (sy3/p6/d2):
Mosaic in 4 colors, with 6-point stars and 6-lobed floral motives (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0430 (sy6/p12/d3r):
Mosaic in 4 colors, with 12-point stars and 6-lobed floral motives (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0434 (sy4/p8/d2):
Mosaic in 4 colors, with 8-point stars and 8-lobed floral motives (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0415 (sy1/p10/d3.5r):
Mosaic in 4 colors, with 10-point stars and 5-lobed floral motives. The 5-lobed motif prevents the rotational symmetry to be sy2 (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0414 (sy6/p6/d1):
Mosaic in 4 colors, with hexagons and 6-lobed floral motives (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0503a (sy2/p10/d2r):
Mosaic in 3 colors, with 10-point stars and 10-lobed floral motifs (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0510 (sy4/p8/d2):
Mosaic in 3 colors, with 8-point stars and 8-lobed floral motives (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0503c (sy6/p6/d2):
Simple mosaic in 2 colors, with 6-point stars (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0515 (sy6/p6/d2):
Simple mosaic in 2 colors, with 6-point stars and non-regular hexagons (Tomb of Itimad ud-Daula, Agra, India, 1622-28)
IND 0705 (sy2/p10/d3.5r):
Mosaic in 2 colors, with 10-point stars in a quasi-square array (Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra, India, 1605-13)
IND 0704 (sy2/p10/d3.5r:
Mosaic in 2 colors, with 10-point stars and small 5-point stars in a quasi-hexagonal array (Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra, India, 1605-13)
IND 0702 (sy2/p10/d2r):
Mosaic in 2 colors, with 10-point stars and pentagons (Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra, India, 1605-13)
IND 0703 (sy4/p8/d2):
Mosaic in 2 colors, interesting variation of a well known design with 8-point stars (Akbar's Tomb, Sikandra, India, 1605-13)

Mosaics from Morocco

 
m1 (sy4/p4/d1):
Mosaic in the main door of different houses in Asilah (Morocco), with square tiles in two colors
m5 (sy2/p4/d1:
A similar design, with tiles in three colors
m2 (sy1/p4/d1:
Mosaic of a table in Asilah (Morocco), with yellow squares and green rhombuses
m4 (sy4/p8/d2):
Tiled floor in Asilah (Morocco). This design is the same as that of the Koran of Rashid al-Din (Broug p. 43)
m7 (sy4/p8/d2):
Mosaic in the main door of a house in Asilah (Morocco). This design, with squares and 6-point stars, is also found in the Alhambra
m6 (sy2/p4/d1):
Mosaic in a restaurant in Rabat (Morocco). This design can be found in many places, including the Alhambra
m3 (sy4/p8/d2:
Mosaic in a mosque in Xauen (Morocco). This design is the same as that of the Capella Palatina (Broug p41)
m8 (sy4/p4/d1):
Another mosaic in the same mosque in Xauen (Morocco)

Roman mosaics from Empuries

e1 (sy2/i):
Roman mosaic in a floor in Empuries
e2 (sy4/p4/d1):
Another roman mosaic in a floor in Empuries, with squares and hexagons
e3 (sy6/p6/d1):
Simple roman mosaic in a floor in Empuries made of hexagons
e4 (sy4/p8/d3):
Beautiful mosaic in a floor in Empuries with 8-point stars and squares
e5 (sy4/p8/d1):
Roman mosaic in a floor in Empuries with octagons and squares
e6 (sy4/p4/d1):
Mosaic with rectangles and squares
e7 (sy6/p6/d1):
Simple mosaic in a floor in Empuries with hexagons and triangles
e8 (sy2/p4/d1):
Mosaic with squares and half-squares

Other mosaics

mc8-11 (sy4/p8/d2):
Mosaic from Morocco, with 8-point stars
ma11 (sy6/p12/d4r):
Beautiful mosaic from the Alcazaba de Málaga, with 12, 6, and 8-point stars
t1 (sy4/p8/d3):
Mudejar tiles in Toledo
d13 (sy2/p6/d1):
Tiled floor from Paterna, València (14th century). Hexagons and rhombuses in a rectangular pattern (Design Museum of Barcelona, 2016)
c2 (sy4/p8/d2):
Detail of the minvar of the Kutubiyya mosque, Marrakesh, Morocco (1137)