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Symmetry in Islamic Decoration


    "Symmetry is what we see at a glance; based on the fact that there is no reason            for any difference..." -Blaise Pascal


  • Explain aniconism then ask students why they think there is a lack of figural representation. 
  • Ask students about similarities they notice about the art in the cases. 
  • Point out the theme of symmetry in the art, have a student define the term (state there are 17 types of symmetry and all symmetry are created using reflections, rotations, and translations). 
  • Look specifically at the Iranian Star Shaped Tile and Square Tile with Stylized Tulip Design. Have students explain what symmetrical pattern they see (ex. I see the flower design being rotated throughout).


  • Students will be give a blank tile handout and markers. They will quickly fill in some patterns or symmetries they see in on the page. Allow for 3-4 minutes. 


  • Call 3 students up to the front and have them hold up the pages they just colored. Ask the audience, based on what you see here, what can we conclude about symmetry in art (hint at the many forms of symmetry)? Also ask, why is symmetry so important to Islamic decoration specifically?


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Last Updated

July 31, 2018 11:22 a.m.


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