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History of Architecture UNIT 6

Islamic architecture and its implementations

Islamic Architecture
The Mosque

A mosque is a Muslim house of worship. Typically a flat, rectangular building with a circular dome on top. Towers, called minarets, are part of the structure. The central organizing feature of a mosque is its orientation toward the spiritual center of the Muslim world the Kaaba, in the house of God in Makkah.

Badshahi Mosque Lahore, Pakistan


Where muezzin stands to call faithful to prayer (adhan) Over time minarets have become more prominent in appearance Muslims pray five times a day Adhan can be heard over great distances-ten block with loudspeakers


A courtyard where Muslims can meet without disturbing those inside. An arcade surround the sahn and provides shelter from heat and rain. Ablution fountains use to wash hands, feet, and face before prayer.

Prayer Hall
Muslims remove shoes before stepping onto the carpeted floor Open designs allows for standing, bowing, prostrating, and kneeling during salat


Raised pulpit where imam stands while leading khutba (Friday service) Top step, with canopy, is left vacant out of respect for Muhammad Located to the right of the mihrab along the qiblah wall (which faces kaaba)

Indicates which wall in the prayer hall faces the qiblah wall Provides a place for imam to stand when leading prayers Shape symbolizes cave of the world

Circular ceiling formed by series of vaults Ensures visibility by lighting the prayer area Creates a sense of warmth and openness

Geometric Calligraphic Organic/figural Medallions

Organic and figural works are easily identified by their curving lines.

You will also see human and animal figures, as well as flowers and vines.

The swirling leaves and flowers on this peacock plate from Turkey almost hide the dainty blue bird in the center of the plate.
Here I Am!


Medallion style
usually has a central image that is more important than other elements of the design.

It is easy to see the medallion in the center of this carpet from Iran.


According to the Encarta "Islamic art is developed from many sources: Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine styles were taken over in early Islamic architecture; the influence of Sassanian art the architecture and decorative art of pre-Islamic Persia was of paramount significance; Central Asian styles were brought in with various nomadic incursions; and Chinese influences had an important effect on Islamic painting, pottery, and textiles." There are repeating elements in Islamic art, such as the use of geometrical floral or vegetal designs in a repetition known as the arabesque. The arabesque in Islamic art is often used to symbolize the transcendent, indivisible and infinite nature of Allah. It is a common myth that human or animal depiction is forbidden altogether in Islamic art. In fact, human portrayals can be found in all eras of Islamic art. Rather, human representation for the purpose of worship is considered idolatry and is duly forbidden in Islamic law, known as Sharia law. There are also many depictions of Muhammad, Islam's chief prophet, in historical Islamic art.

ARCHITECTURE Perhaps the most important expression of Islamic art is architecture, particularly that of the mosque (four-iwan and hypostyle). Through the edifices, the effect of varying cultures within Islamic civilization can be illustrated. The North African and Spanish Islamic architecture, for example, has Roman-Byzantine elements, as seen in the Alhambra palace at Granada, or in the Great Mosque of Cordoba. CALLIGRAPHY Part of a series on Islam. BELIEFS Allah Oneness of God Muhammad Prophets of Islam PRACTICES Profession of Faith Prayer Fasting Charity Pilgrimage HISTORY & LEADERS Timeline of Muslim history Ahl al-Bayt Sahaba Rashidun Caliphs Shi'a Imams

TEXTS & LAWS Qur'an Sunnah Hadith Fiqh Sharia Kalam Tasawwuf (Sufism) MAJOR BRANCHES Sunni Shi'a Culture & Society Academics Animals Art Calendar Children Demographics Festivals Mosques Philosophy Politics Science Women ISLAM & OTHER RELIGIONS Christianity Jainism Judaism Sikhism PILE CARPET No Islamic artistic concept has become better known outside its original home than the pile carpet, more commonly referred to as the Oriental carpet (oriental rug). Carpet weaving is a rich and deeply embedded tradition is Islamic societies, and the practice is seen in cities as well as in rural communities and nomadic encampments.

The lowest voussoir on each side of an arch. It is where the vertical support for the arch terminates and the curve of the arch begins. A piece of construction used for filling in the upper angles of a square room so as to form a proper base to receive an octagonal or spherical dome. Squinches may be formed by masonry built out from the angle in corbeled courses, by filling the corner with a vise placed diagonally, or by building an arch or a number of corbeled arches diagonally across the corner.

1. Corbeling, built at the upper corners of a structural bay to support its tangent, smaller dome or drum. 2. A small arch across the corner of a square room which supports a superimposed mass; also called a sconce.

The squinch system consist of projecting a small arch across the upper part of the angle of the square hall, thus converting its square shape into an octagon, which again if necessary, may be transformed in the same manner into a sixteen sided figure, a convinient base on which the lower circular rim of the dome may rest without leaving any portions unsupported. In this instance the squinch takes the form of a small vault, or half dome, with an arch on its outer and diagonal face.

DOMES Dome is a structural element of architecture that resembles the hollow upper half of a sphere. Dome structures made of various materials have a long architectural lineage extending into prehistory. The earliest domes have been found in the ancient Middle East and India in modest buildings and tombs. Domes are seen as a common feature in ecclesiastical architecture of many varying creeds. Domes were first popularized in Europe and the Middle East by their frequent use in Roman - and especially Byzantine - religious and secular architecture. Domes became popular in Renaissance Christian architecture from the 15th century onwards, reaching a zenith in popularity during the early 18th century Baroque period. Domes do not have to be perfectly spherical in cross-section, however; a section through a dome may be an ellipse. If the baseline is taken parallel to the shorter of an ellipse's two diameters, a tall dome results, giving a sense of upward reach. A section across the longer axis results in a low dome, capping the volume instead. A very low dome is classified as a saucer dome. All the surfaces of any dome are curved.

A dome can be thought of as an arch which has been rotated around its vertical axis. As such, domes have a great deal of structural strength. A small dome can be constructed of ordinary masonry, held together by friction and compressive forces. Domes In Islamic Period The role of domes in Islamic architecture has been considerable. Domes have been used in Islamic architecture for centuries. The earliest surviving dome is part of the Dome of the Rock mosque, built in 691 CE. Another prominent dome was added to the Taj Mahal, constructed in the 17th century with the Taj Mahal. And as late as the 19th century, Islamic domes were incorporated into Western architecture. DOME OF TAJ MAHAL Building has a white double - dome with a broad padma-kosa (lotus - petals) and beautiful Kalasafinial is mounted on the tomb. The huge bulbous dome of the Taj Mahal reaches a grand height of 144 feet [forty four meters] and is one of the major focal points of the building.

Situated on the flat roof of the building it dominates the yawning arches, or iwans of the four faades. The dome is placed on a truncated drum to retain volume, and is a regular feature of Mughal architecture and locates the exact centre of the building. PLANNING Geometry plays an important role in the overall designs of Mughal architecture, and the play of shape in the Taj Mahal is optimal. The ground plans of the main chamber and the base of the minarets use an octagonal template,

The right angles of the plinth and gardens engage the use of the square and the water channels are rectangular.

Subsequently, it is the dome, which brings cylindrical perfection to the site, and the circle, symbolizes perfection and unity. The Taj Mahal in fact boasts a double-dome, a false ceiling inside a large outer-skin. This device gives the imposing volume to the outside of the dome, whilst retaining comfortable proportions in the inside - which would otherwise be cavernous. The huge bulbous dome of the Taj Mahal reaches a grand height of 144 feet [forty four meters] and is one of the major focal points of the building.

Flanking the exterior are four domed kiosks or chhatris which add symmetry and verticality.

Ornamenting the summit of the dome is an open lotus, this acts as a visual anchor to the bulk of the dome underneath. The lotus nests under a gilded finial. Surrounding the drum of the dome is a dazzling necklace of bejewelled inlay. This is a startling example of how the decoration and architecture are used to compliment each other


Names: Type of site: Dates: Location: Dome of the Rock Muslim shrine Built 688-91 AD Haram es-Sharif (Temple Mount), Old City, Jerusalem

The diameter of the dome of the shrine is 20m 20cm and its height 20m 48cm. It is mounted on an elevated drum consisting of a circle of 16 piers and columns. Surrounding this circle is an octagonal arcade of 24 piers and columns.

The Dome is in the shape of a Byzantine martyrium, a structure intended for the housing and veneration of saintly relics. Al-Maqdisi reports that surplus funds consisting of 100,000 gold dinar coins were melted down and cast on the dome's exterior, which at the time had a strong glitter that no eye could look straight at it. During the reign of Sulieman the Magnificient the exterior of the Dome of the Rock was covered with Isnik tiles. At dawn, when the light of the sun first strikes the dome and the drum catches the rays, then is this edifice a marvellous sight to behold. The dome is topped by a full moon decoration which evokes the familiar crescent moon symbol of Islam. It is aligned so that if you could look through it, you would be looking straight towards Mecca. The Arabic inscription around the octagonal part of the Dome of the Rock are verses from the Qur'an. The tiled area just below the golden dome is the drum. Its glazed tiles were made in Turkey, and its Arabic inscription tells of the Night Journey of Muhammad.

The beautiful multicoloured Turkish tiles that adorn the shrine's exterior are faithful copies of the Persian tiles that Suleiman the Magnificent added in 1545 to replace the damaged originals. The lower half of the exterior is white marble. The exterior mosaics were repaired in the Mamluk period, and then wall with its intricate inscription by filling up the thirteen small arches that originally topped each facade.

Inside the shrine, an arched wall called the octagonal arcade or inner octagon follows the exterior shape. An open space between this and the central circle forms the inner ambulatory around the Rock, carpeted in lush red. It is mounted on an elevated drum consisting of a circle of 16 piers and columns. Surrounding this circle is an octagonal arcade of 24 piers and columns The cupola, the interior of the great golden dome, features elaborate floral decorations in red and gold, as well as various inscriptions. The mosaics of the interior feature both realistic and stylized representations of vegetation and related themes. The interior of the dome is lavishly decorated with mosaic, faience and marble.

Muqarnas is one of the most characteristic features of Islamic architecture and is used throughout most of the Muslim world. Muqarnas is usually associated with domes, doorways and niches, although it is often applied to other architectural features and is sometimes used as an ornamental band on a flat surface. The most impressive examples of muqarnas on the exterior of buildings are where it is used as corbelling for balconies on minarets The singular beauty of the Muqarnas, from which numerous concave hollows hang down in clusters. Their descriptions, however, are little more than brief introductions, and many details remain unclear.


Thank You
Presented By

Partha Sarathi Mishra

Asst. Prof. Lovely Professional University B Arch (ABIT-PMCA) M Arch (IIT Roorkee) email:-