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Title: Geometry in early Muslim architecture, c. A.D. 692-1125
Author: Gedal, Najib
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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Proportional systems in the Muslim decorative arts are often manifest and easier to detect than those which may underlie their architectural forms. In order to study the plans of early Muslim architecture and gain understanding of the method by which they were generated, fourteen examples of early Muslim buildings, dating from AD 692 to 1125, have been geometrically analysed using measured plans and actual dimensions. These examples cover a vast area of the Muslim world, from Syria and Iraq in the north, to Egypt and Córdoba in the west. The results of the analysis demonstrate that a proportional system, familiar to most ancient cultures and based on a circle inscribed within a square and subdivided to create a set of grid lines, relating in a proportion of 1:2 and 1: 12, proves to be of notable relevance The thesis initially explores the nature of the evidence and the limits of inference in relation to the subject of geometry in early Muslim architecture, then focuses on the architectural planning of the Near East prior to the coming of Islam and on the work of medieval Muslim scholars. The thesis examines the concept of squaring the circle, its components, and its role as a proportional system in two -dimensional Islamic architectural decoration. Chapter Four ( "Geometric Analysis of Individual Buildings "), is the main part of the thesis, setting out an investigation of the proportional system of structures varying from mosques and palaces to cupolas and mihrabs. It is intended to be read in conjunction with vol. II of the thesis, which contains the analytical drawings and proposed geometric schemes. By pursuing two separate lines of enquiry on each of the selected buildings, the first based on geometrical lines superimposed on published plans, the second through mathematical calculation using actual dimensions, it is proved beyond doubt that early Muslim buildings were in fact geometrically organized. Finally, the thesis concludes by considering alternative systems of analysis in order to compare its findings and establish the validity of its proposed geometric schemes for the examples selected.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available