Unlike the Eivan and the Talar, the mehrab is a purely Islamic phenomenon although it is closely related in form and purpose to the Eivan. Here the connection is a direct one between man and God, emphasised by the use of thuluth script round the edges, or at the focal point. Rather than focussing man's attention on his place in relation to his God and his space, as the eivan does, the mehrab focusses the attention on God. whereas the Eivan relates to the "outer" or zaher, the mehrab relates to the "inner" or baten.
Ardelan and Bahktiar have suggested
"its bisected form leaves it an incomplete form, capable of attaining completion only by uniting man to the Universal Spirit and thereby accomplishing its own re-absorption." - The Sense of Unity, p71. Chicago Univeristy Press.
This symbolic unification is emphasised by the orientation of the mehrab towards Meccah.
The picture above shows the Mehrab in the Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque
Last Updated: November 13, 1998