The Porch of Omar - Vaulting

Map of Masjed-e-Jomeh Tilework in Vault


The effective use of glazed tiles contrasted with unglazed brickwork can be seen to great effect in the spoectacular treatment given to the roof of the eivan. The lozenge shaped motifs are derived from the Kufic method of writing the name of Mohammad as shown in the sequence below

Standard style Here you can see the standard method of writing Mohammad's name in Persian. Persian has no vowels and doubled consonants are normally written as single ones. Thus the name is made up of four characters 'M', 'H', 'M' and 'D'. These are written from right to left so that the actual word when transcribed appears as 'DMHM'.

Square Kufic style Square Kufic script reduces as much as possible of the characters to vertical and horizontal strokes. This makes it relatively straightforward to use with rectangular decorative objects such as bricks and tiles. It also dispenses with the dots that distinguish some letters from other similar ones, although that is not an issue in the name of Mohammad.

Decorative Kufic style Here the pattern formed by alternating vertical and horizontal strokes above has been turned at an angle so that a kind of quatrefoil pattern is produced. This example is taken from the minarets in the Masjed-e-Imam which flank the entrance to the sanctuary chamber, but there are many other examples of its use

Pattern Finally, the pattern can be rotated once again through 45 degrees and the irregularities of the previous form can be dispensed with leaving the familiar quatrefoil pattern which recurs repeatedly throughout Islamic Architecture.


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28-January-95