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Flowers, Words, and Shapes: Islamic Art in Iran.
April 8, 2000


Allah. Allah. Allah. The word means "God" in Islam, and we have seen it written fancily and artistically all over the walls during our time in Iran. One interesting thing about Islamic art is that there are very few representations of human beings in it. Instead, there are
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The mosque at Omar Khayyam's tomb, near Mashhad: notice the colored tiles over the entranceway
many designs and symbols. The colors we see most often in Iranian art are blue, turquoise, and gold.

We have learned that most Iranian art is made up of patterns, shapes, and real and imaginary animals.
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A cut-out wooden window facing the courtyard
An example of tile work
In Ghazvin we saw a beautiful lion over the doorway to the entrance of the Imam Hussein mausoleum, as well as a tiled, circular picture in pinks and blues. Looking
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Detail of a lion figure over the doorway
Alcoves are spread throughout the courtyard. You can sit inside and appreciate the art around you.
throughout the courtyard and mosque inside, we could see different examples of floral shapes and tiles spread out everywhere.

The attention to detail in this art is amazing. A few things seem to repeat throughout Iranian art are the

mausoleum - a room where someone is buried
mosque - a Muslim church
lattice - usually crisscross pattern (like the tops of many apple pies!) made of wood that vines grow up
courtyard - a court open to the sky, usually closed on all sides
alcove - a recessed space

fancy, latticed doors, the arches with tile work throughout, and figures of animals and flowers. You can see some examples of beautiful Iranian art in these photos.


p.s. - Please e-mail me at

Abeja - At Home in Iran

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