A Model of Islamic Rectilinear Interlaced Lattices

Mevlüt

Fig.4. "Mevlüt", a Mosque Door.

SYMBOLOGY

The islamic craftsman gives a deeper meaning to his designs by means of a symbolic message, usually religious and numerical. In this way, his work and its product adquire greater importance. This meaning must also be understood by the observer, in order to grasp the full significance of the piece of art.

For instance, the RIGE shown above in fig. 4 is used by a Turkish kündekare (Mevlüt Chilar, Konya, master charpenter) in most of his mosque doors. To him, this design is full of meaning because the number of its pieces is 99, the number of Allah's names. Another case, an older one: during the roof restauration of the Salón de Comares, in Alhambra (Granada), a piece was noted to be better finished than the others. Once it was detached, an inscription appeared on its back, with an explanation for the meanings of the colours and for the number of main designs that form the ensemble [Cabanelas,1988].

All this shows that aesthetics alone does not explain completely this and other kinds of Islamic Art. See also references [Ardalan and Bakhtiar, 1979, Abou-esh, 1970, Burckhardt, 1976] on the symbology of zakhrafa.


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12-June-95