Graduate Theological Union

Geometry and Islamic Art: Explorations of Number, Shape, and the Nature of Space

Dates: 
Friday, July 12, 2013 - 9:00am to 11:00am

Islamic Workshop Art, "Geometry and Islamic Art: Explorations of Number, Shape, and the Nature of Space", a presentation by the Center for Islamic Studies (GTU) visiting scholar, Carol Bier. Presented by the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS) UGM

Location: Graduate School UGM, 3rd Floor Room 306 (JI. Teknika Utara, Pogung, Yogyakarta, Indonesia 55281) 

Abstract

By the year 1000 CE Arab and Muslim mathmaticians had advanced the understanding of geometry they inherited from the Greeks, and they had adopted Hindu numerals and methods of calculation for mathmatical applications in daily life. Ongoing reaserch led to the development of new theoretical understanding of mathmatics. Al-Khwarizmi (died c. 850 CE) introduced what he called al-jabr wa muqabala, which became algebra. He articulated an emergent understanding of what came to be known as algorithms. His successors further advanced mathematical thinking that led to later developments.

Through a brief illustrated introduction and hands-on exercises, the workshop provides participants an opportunity to explore the aspects of Islamic art and architecture that rely upon relationships between number, shape, and the nature of space (i.e. the spacial dimension). We will explore the four basic symmetry operations and consider patterns that cover the plane in relation to radial symmetries, line symmetries (border patterns; friezies) and plane symmetries (field patters; wallpapers). We will examine how these principals find visual expression in Islamic art and architectural ornament, offering a program that engages students in understanding both mathmatics and mathmatical aspects of Islamic art.