Islamic geometry is an amazing, complex art that is made with very simple tools. All you need is a compass and a straight edge- and the results are fascinating. It’s amazingly meditative and interesting, and promotes focus and inner calm.
Geometry is an ancient art. There is evidence that even Stone Age people had a complex understanding of it. So, how did the term Islamic geometry even come into being?
During the time we call the “Dark Ages” in Europe (which were really not that dark, actually..) the art of geometry, along with many other arts and sciences, were being developed at an incredible rate through the crosspollination of cultures and the work of brilliant thinkers. Muslims took on knowledge inherited from the Greeks, translated manuscripts and developed all sorts of new advancements in science and art (seriously? yes…).
Geometric art had already been brought to some stunning achievements by the Romans and Greeks, Indians, and many other peoples. For Muslims, geometric art served as a visual expression of their belief in the creative intelligence underlying all things, This abstract art form fit really well with their notion that the Creator cannot be reduced to a body or form, but only hinted at by creating mosaics of seemingly endless, harmonious and perfectly balanced tessellations. In all the diversity of form created by geometry, the concept of Unity is omnipresent.
Geometry became so favoured that it was spread far and wide, where it blended with local art forms and took on different styles. It became widespread not only in Mosques and architecture, but also in every day crafts.
With the huge societal changes of the 20th century, this art was nearly lost. Thanks to the work of many researchers, teachers and artists, it is becoming hugely popular again.
Anyone, regardless of creed or background, can enjoy the practice of geometry as a meditative practice. It is a universal art, refined through the ages, and continually evolving.