Nexus Network Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 55–103 | Cite as

The Historical Significance of the Geometric Designs in the Northeast Dome Chamber of the Friday Mosque at Isfahan

  • Jay Francis BonnerEmail author


Surviving architectural monuments provide the primary source for understanding the historical development of Islamic geometric design. The early Islamic architecture of Khurasan and eastern Persia establishes the Samanids, Qarakhanids, Ghaznavids, Ghurids and Seljuks as principle contributors in the maturation of the geometric ornamental tradition. The collective architectural legacy of these cultures reveals the significance of their contribution to our knowledge of Islamic geometric design. However, no individual monument surpasses the historical importance of the northeast dome chamber of the Friday Mosque at Isfahan. New research indicates that many of the geometric designs employed within this chamber are the earliest examples of their ornamental variety. What is more, these patterns represent a methodological breakthrough in the application of the polygonal technique of pattern generation, thereby facilitating ever-greater stylistic and geometric innovation.


Geometric Design Pattern Line Regular Polygon Geometric Pattern Median Pattern 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The text, illustrations and photographs in this paper are excerpted from the author’s soon-to-be-published book titled Islamic Geometric Patterns: their Historical Development and Traditional Methods of Construction (Bonner 2016). The multiple portions of this book that have been combined into this paper have been edited in the interests of both space and continuity.

All photographs of the northeast dome chamber (Figs. 6, 25, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38) included in this paper are by the kind permission of the photographer and copyright holder Tom Goris in the Netherlands. Figure 5 of the minaret of Daulatabad outside Balkh, Afghanistan, and Fig. 3 of the carved Ghaznavid panel from the Kabul Museum are included by the kind permission of the photographer and copyright holder Thalia Kennedy. Figure 4 of the Taq-i Bust in Afghanistan is included by the kind permission of the photographer and copyright holder Bernard O’Kane. Figure 2 from the three mausolea in Uzgen, Kyrgystan is included by the kind permission of the photographer and copyright holder Igor Goncharov. The Sabz Pushan stucco panel in Fig. 1 is reproduced by permission of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Rogers Fund, 1940  (40.170.442) Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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Copyright information

© Kim Williams Books, Turin 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Santa FeUSA

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