I haven’t posted on here for some time due to being immersed in studying and practicing geometry. One of the aspects I’ve found most rewarding and stimulating is the process of analysing and reconstructing a pattern. It’s done wonders for the development of my understanding of geometric proportions and pattern making.
Reconstructing this incredible pattern from the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain was the biggest challenge I’ve taken on yet. It took several hours of staring at the bookmark above, while drawing and redrawing until the proportions made themselves clear. The process of creating a construction guide has provided further insights.
The result seems to be proportionally correct but if anyone who has knowledge about Islamic pattern construction, or even better this pattern in particular, has any observations they would be most welcome.. please leave a comment. Equally if you find it a useful guide, please let me know.
A time-lapse video demonstrating the construction of this pattern using compass, ruler and drawing tools:
A step-by-step construction guide:
my best source for this geometry is Issam El-Said and Ayse Parman’s book ‘Geometric concepts in Islamic Art’ – thanks for inspiring me to dig it out again!
Thank you for all the help you have given, and putting up with the people who needed it…. including me! DF
Thanks for the comment David.. glad you found it useful! (btw, is that the DF I know?)
Mind bending…well done Amit, will spend many an hour trying to replicate and will let you know.
Thanks Zeinab.. look forward to seeing your creation!
Wow!! I have been following your amazing work on Instagram, and only now saw you have a blog. SO exciting!!
Thanks for the support Dawn! I hope to make my site and blog more geometrically inclined in the near future so keep following..
That is wonderful to hear! I will keep a watch out for it 😉
I am sincerely grateful for the wisdom you have been kind enough to share. thank you!
Thanks very much Brandon.. glad you’ve got something out of it.
Hello. My first visit! Geometric designs are amazing. Samiramian.com has excellent tutorials on Udemy.com. Another great resource for information and history of Islamic Geometric Patterns is Eric Brough’s book. I love this quote “Praise the Infinite.” The Islamic patterns can be repeated to infinity with incredible shapes emerging. I’m sure it is a wonderful life-long study.
Por favor nombran libros donde los puedo conseguir en que parte Espero una respuesta…………Dentro de un tiempo viajare y si tengo los datos me seria mas facil Un cordial saludos
Hi, I don’t read Spanish but I think you’re asking about books. I’d recommend Islamic Design by Daud Sutton and Arts and Crafts of the Islamic Lands by Khaled Azzam.
Absolutely mesmerizing! Really beautiful and inspiring!
Susan (from the Granada trip)
Thanks Susan! Send me pics if you have a go at it..
This is beyond awesomeness! Thank you sooo much
Very nice and mind blowing pattern and thanks for make it livable. Do you think you will put this in PDF or hopefully soon we can see your book?
Many thanks. No plans to make a PDF.. I have learnt a lot since I published this and would probably approach this pattern differently now, although I think this is still a worthwhile method. Thanks for the support!
Very nice work, but I am sorry to say that the method for constructing the pattern is not correct; the result is a deformed shapes in the drawing. The four tips of the stars are not equal, this breaks one of the golden rules, every shape in the pattern must have at least one axis of symmetry. The key to this pattern is to make the four sides of the small petals equal. By the way, many patterns mentioned by Issam El-Said and Eric Brough are not correct. And the methods used to construct these patterns are complicated and often leads to deformed patterns.
If you want to know more watch the videos on my youtube channel.
Many thanks for your comment Mohamad. I am aware that this is an approximation that results in slightly distorted pentagrams. I created this analysis when I had only been exploring Islamic geometry for a few months. I have since studied with Daud Sutton who has explored 16-8 patterns extensively. He pointed out the approximation and showed me a reasonably simple ruler and compass method for the precise version of this pattern.
You can see in the work I have been producing more recently https://www.instagram.com/ambigraph/, I try to achieve reflective symmetry in the pentagrams and understand that this is what results in balance in the design.
I have seen your videos.. I especially like how they clarify the reasons why incorrect proportions harm the integrity of the designs. Thanks again.
Hello! Dear Ambigraph, you wrote that Daud Sutton showed to you a reasonably simple ruler and compass method for the precise version of this pattern. Could you please also show it here? Or maybe there’s a link? (alas, I don’t have Daud Sutton’s book yet). Many thanks for all the beauty you’re sharing.
Hi and thanks for your comment. I’m afraid I’m not able to share it publicly as it is something he showed me privately and may be something he will be presenting as part of a wider exploration of 16-8 patterns at some stage. I highly recommend getting both his Islamic Design and Ruler & Compass books for a full introduction to drawing Islamic goemtric patterns. Thanks for your interest and support!
Wonderful stuff – oddly enough I have just finished this very design in vector graphic format but I do not use geometry since I learnt quite some time ago what you and Mohamad has discussed above and besides I need these designs in digital format. I photograph the original design with a portrait lens (to minimise the distortion) then ‘trace’ them in vector graphic software and then manually correct any errors and blemishes which most original have since these designs can be centuries old – also a painstaking process but it recreates the original which you can also digitally ‘paint’ in with correct colours in a uniformed manner.
Keep it up,
Many thanks for your comment. I would expect that tracing these patterns from source photos would lead to inconsistencies as the regular symmetry comes from following geometric principles and the understanding of these principles is an enriching practice. These are very easy to replicate using vector software. Best of luck with your work.
Gracias por este tutorial para una estrella floral de indice 16. Era un trabajo que estaba esperando que pudiera ver como se desarrolla el patrón, este es un trozo de un mosaico más grande que se encuentra en la Alhambra de Granada, en la Torre de Lindaraja. He visto los vídeos de Mahamad y sus puntualizaciones. Pero sigue siendo muy interesante ya que el patrón de mi diseño pasa por entender que las estrellas florales de indice 16 pasan por estar inscritas en una circunferencia de de x radio y la circunferencia de corte es 2/3 de la principal. Todo esto esta tratado en un libro difícil de conseguir por su poca difusión que se llama “TRAMAS GEOMÉTRICAS EN LA CERÁMICA DE LA ALHAMBRA.
Gracias por su vídeo al que me llevo Samaria Mian.
Thanks for this tutorial for a floral star of index 16. It was a job that I was hoping I could see as the pattern unfolds, this is a piece of a larger mosaic found in the Alhambra in Granada, in the Tower of Lindaraja .
I have seen the Mahamad videos and their details. But it is still very interesting since the pattern of my design goes by to understand that floral stars of index 16 happen to be inscribed in a circumference of “x” radius and the circumference of cut is 2/3 of the main one. Obviously there is a symmetry.
All this is treated in a book difficult to obtain because of its little diffusion that is called “GEOMETRIC TABLES IN THE CERAMICS OF ALHAMBRA.
Thank you for your video that I took Samaria Mian.
Many thanks for your comment.
Hi I am making a 16 starred ceiling just like the one in Alhambra (don’t worry I have done this sort of thing before ).
From a joiner point of view i.e. jointing it appears to be only 3 pieces i.e. 3 jigs but i can’t quite tell (without doing a drawing which I don’t really want to do if i can help it) what the first angle is at the centre of the main star.It looks like its just off 90 degrees i.e. they aren’t quite parallel but are then paralleled up later down the star,Is this correct and if so could you please tell me the angle the 16 points of the star meet at 92 degrees?
ps I will send you a photo when its finished we are doing it for our carpet showroom .
Hi Colin, Thanks for your comment.. your project sounds great and a nice challenge. In the original piece at the Alhambra, and traditionally, there is a central star surrounded by kites, in turn surrounded by petals. This has 45º angles at the tips. In my drawing I have included a further star inside this so there are two rings of kites before the petals. This central star has 67.5º tips. If you extend these lines inwards to create an even smaller star, this will have 90º tips. Hope that helps.. please do send images of your finished ceiling.
Thanks so much for the great detail in this tutorial. I think it will keep me busy for a couple of hours!
Thank you, hope you enjoy drawing the pattern.
I did it :). Very good tutorial. Thank you.
Brilliant .. well done!