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They are. Islam is the last of the universal revelations of the present humanity and as such a re-affirmation of the primordial truth, of the Truth which has always been and will always be. As the final assertion of the primordial revelation Islam is also a means to the rediscovery of the sacred character of the first of God's revelations which is the created order itself.
There is within the spiritual universe of Islam a dimension which may be called 'Abrahamic Pvthagoreanism'. It is only during the past few years that at last a few scholars in the West are becoming aware of the fact that Islamic art is one of the most powerful forms of sacred art and not just abstract art in the modern sense of the word.
Thanks to the efforts of a small number of authorities, fore- most among them F. Schuon and T. Islamic art is gradually coming to be understood for what it is. His research has already had a profound influence upon a group of young Western architects and historians of art.
Now in the present work, the first of his extensive studies on the subject to appear in print, he presents for the first time to the world at large the blinding evidence of the meta- physical significance of geometric patterns in Islamic art This study, which is based on years of research and quest in a world rarely penetrated before in the West, is therefore a basic contribution to both Islamic an and science It is a "key to the understanding of many aspects of Islamic civiliza- tion and also of the reality which both surrounds and transcends man.
The nature of origins or the creation point of a subject is grounded in mystery. Clearly there has to be a precise differentiation between physical and metaphysical, between idea and expression, yet both are embraced by one reality. This formula consists of two pairs of words, each word representing a degree of reality, as well as each pair denoting the negation nafy and the affirmation ithbSt respectively: the negation refers to the manifest domain and the affirmation to the supraformal and the Principle together.
It is no less applicable m the field of geometry: no dimension without all dimensions In our manifest world the world of creatures we observe things developing, having a duration and being reabsorbed This elementary law of all phenomena can be symbolized geometrically in the way that space, seen as extension, is created by unfolding through the dimensions and can be 'folded up' again through the understanding of its nature.
For instance, we take a point which, having emerged, pro- ceeds to describe a line; the line moves laterally or in a curve to describe a plane; the plane rotates or moves in a further direction to describe or create the solid dimension - the 1 From the, Rasal by the Biothetttood of Puotv translated Oy S M Nav 2 See Tha Way ol Lao Tiu. Ofnannons ol islam. If we take these moves into the three dimensions as being symbolic of the creation of space of our world, then it follows that we can reverse them in the folding up of the dimensions, leading us back to the point of unity or the indivisible In terms of consciousness this can be described as the path of reabsorption.
All that we have attributed to the Universal nature issues out from it. With this enclosure formed, a cycje is completed, a world' in the form of a circle. The circle becomes the archetypal governing basis for all the geometric shapes that unfold within it.
The circle's primary inherent quality is one of sixness'. These eight tessel- lations form the basis both for philosophical qualitative number patterns and for the mathematical foundation ot the laws of repetition upon which Islamic geometrical art is founded The mathematical aspect of Islamic geometrical patterns has received scant attention in the West. Notable among the few scholars to have studied this subject in detail are F. Horn the lamafiat ol Shah WattvuRah originally published in France in The thesis of the present book is that these self-evident mathematical patterns with their esoteric philosophical values became the invisible foundation upon which the 'art' was built.
This meant that the Islamic artist was not only versed in mathematics in the geometrical sense, but that mathematics was integral to his art as it was a 'universal' structure supporting the intuitive insights that characterize all true art.
The great masters of this art were certainly motivated by and versed in spiritual disciplines that gave both content and meaning to their work and placed it in the tradition of aiding the viewer to raise his or her spiritual understanding. This latter quality is also found in the great Chinese and Japanese paintings of Southern Sung and later Zen respectively, in the yantras and mandalas of Hindu. Tibetan and Buddhist art, and in the sand pafnlings of the indigenous North American Indians.
AM these arts served as aids to an individual's spiritual wholeness through active or passive involvement. Islam's concentration on geometric patterns draws atten- tion away from the representational world to one of pure forms, poised tensions and dynamic equilibrium, giving structural insight into the workings of the inner self and their reflection in the universe.
The significance from the Islamic standpoint is that, in the effort to trace origins in creation, the direction is not backwards but inwards. Whereas the experienced world, the world of manifestation, is of necessity 'in' the three dimensions of space, the para- disiac world, or world of motivating intelligences, exists only two-dimensionatly.
In other words, as the intuitive mind, or the Soul, of an individual seeks sources and reasons for its existence it is led inward and away from the three-dimensional world towards fewer and more comprehensive ideas and principles.
The two-dimen- sional nature of the paradisiac world is reflected in Persian miniatures, which were painted in flat planes, without the perspective of a three-dimensional world; it is also the fundamental difference between medieval Christian art and so-called Renaissance art.
In his Oriental and Christian Art. Ananda Coomeraswami has been the most eloquent modern spokesman on the issue of what is 'real' art. Western conditioning on the validity of perspective and chiaroscuro has been the basis of the condemnation of Islamic art as decorative. Sadly it is our own lack of effort and insight that is at fault, not being concerned enough to seek the spiritual and philosophical reasons for the nature of the art of Islam with its unique integration between controlling laws and the beautiful variety of patterns and colours.
Islamic art is predominantly a balance between pure geometric form and what can be called fundamental bio- morphic form: a polarization that has associative values with the four philosophical and experiential qualities of cold and dry - representing the crystallization in geometric form - and hot and moist - representing the formative forces behind vegetative and vascular form. The one aspect reflects the facets of a jewel, the purity of the snowflake and the frozen flowers of radial symmetry; the other the glistening flank of a perspiring horse, the silent motion of a fish winding its way through the water, the unfolding and unfurling of the leaves of the vine and rose.
In mankind this polarization is characterized by the rigidity and geometry of the skeleton on the one hand and the flowing, ductile, fibrous muscular system which activates it. In Arabic calligraphy, epitomized in the sacred art of the Quran, not only is this polarization seen at its greatest extreme in the flowing and Kufic styles, but amongst the flowing styles of which there are twelve distinct varieties the polarization can be seen between the verticality of the upright aleph and the rhythmic flow in the horizontal direction of the other characters, starting with bey.
It has been suggested that aleph. By this the fundamental three-fold nature of reality is established - the descent of the light, the expansion into creation and in the symbolism of the written words of Quran the means whereby the 'light' returns to its source. The Islamic art of geometric form, then, can be considered the crystallization stage, both of the intelligence inherent in manifest form and as a moment of suspended animation of the effusion of content through form.
This book is primarily concerned with geometrical form as it relates to the circle - as the circle is the symbol par excellence for the 'origin' and 'end' of both geometric and biomorphic form.
At the same time all those rhythms in flowing line that we recognize as the intervals in everyday life - breathing, blinking, heart- beat, digestion and so on — reflect our intimate connection with the cosmic rhythms of day, month and year. The circle is also. New York and London. Related Papers. By Rania Elhelw. Motif patterns under the discussion of Sufism. By Journal ijmr.
By Samer Akkach. By Ray S Stevens. Remarks on confusions inherent in number symbolism. By Timothy Scott. Download pdf. Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we'll email you a reset link. Need an account?
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Islamic Patterns : An Analytical and Cosmological Approach
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Islamic Patterns: An Analytical and Cosmological Approach