Girih tile Art

strapwork Iranian art


As far back as the 13th century, Islamic architecture has featured amazing and intricate geometric patterns called Girih tile art. Historians and mathematicians had assumed that the craftsmen who created these patterns did all their work with compasses and straight edges. But a few years ago, it was discovered that many of these patterns were actually made using a set of five repeating tiles. This type of using tile to make things called Girih tiles. (The story of this discovery by Peter Lu and Paul Steinhardt is very interesting; read about it here).

“Girih” is Persian for “knot,” and refers to the straight lines that run through these tiles, forming what’s called “strapwork.” The strapwork is usually what you see on these buildings; the actual borders of the tiles don’t appear. For an example of this, look at the stone piece to the right. On the left side you can see strapwork, and on the right side you can make out an overlay of the tiles that contain the strapwork.

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In the past Iranian use this art to build doors and windows. Craftsmen used thousands of pieces wood and glass to build one of those kinds of windows. They didn’t use pins and glue to make this things. That’s the reason they didn’t break during time after 100 to 400 years. (after a while glue stop stick pieces together under the sun rays).

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You can visit this art at our daily tours in Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and other cities. This one (above picture) located in Golestan palace “Emarat-e-Badgir” near Tehran old Bazaar. join us in our daily city tour to know about story of this building.

In this art every piece of wood is latching to another like below picture and glass place in wood groove. craftsmen continue this way to fill the entire surface.

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