The complex geometry of Islamic design – Eric Broug

In Islamic culture,
geometry is everywhere. You can find it in mosques,
madrasas, palaces and private homes. This tradition began in the 8th century CE
during the early history of Islam, when craftsmen took preexisting motifs
from Roman and Persian cultures and developed them into new forms
of visual expression. This period of history was a golden age
of Islamic culture, during which many achievements
of previous civilizations were preserved and further developed, resulting in fundamental advancements
in scientific study and mathematics. Accompanying this was an increasingly
sophisticated use of abstraction and complex geometry in Islamic art, from intricate floral motifs
adorning carpets and textiles, to patterns of tilework that seemed
to repeat infinitely, inspiring wonder
and contemplation of eternal order. Despite the remarkable complexity
of these designs, they can be created
with just a compass to draw circles and a ruler to make lines within them. And from these simple tools emerges
a kaleidoscope multiplicity of patterns. So how does that work? Well, everything starts with a circle. The first major decision
is how will you divide it up? Most patterns split the circle
into four, five or six equal sections. And each division gives rise
to distinctive patterns. There’s an easy way to determine
whether any pattern is based on fourfold, fivefold, or sixfold symmetry. Most contain stars surrounded
by petal shapes. Counting the number
of rays on a starburst, or the number of petals around it, tells us what category
the pattern falls into. A star with six rays,
or surrounded by six petals, belongs in the sixfold category. One with eight petals is part
of the fourfold category, and so on. There’s another secret ingredient
in these designs: an underlying grid. Invisible, but essential to every pattern, the grid helps determine the scale
of the composition before work begins, keeps the pattern accurate, and facilitates the invention
of incredible new patterns. Let’s look at an example of how these
elements come together. We’ll start with a circle within a square,
and divide it into eight equal parts. We can then draw a pair
of criss-crossing lines and overlay them with another two. These lines are called construction lines, and by choosing a set of their segments, we’ll form the basis
of our repeating pattern. Many different designs are possible
from the same construction lines just by picking different segments. And the full pattern finally emerges when we create a grid with many
repetitions of this one tile in a process called tessellation. By choosing a different set
of construction lines, we might have created this pattern, or this one. The possibilities are virtually endless. We can follow the same steps
to create sixfold patterns by drawing construction lines
over a circle divided into six parts, and then tessellating it,
we can make something like this. Here’s another sixfold pattern
that has appeared across the centuries and all over the Islamic world, including Marrakesh, Agra, Konya
and the Alhambra. Fourfold patterns fit in a square grid,
and sixfold patterns in a hexagonal grid. Fivefold patterns, however,
are more challenging to tessellate because pentagons
don’t neatly fill a surface, so instead of just creating
a pattern in a pentagon, other shapes have to be added
to make something that is repeatable, resulting in patterns that may seem
confoundingly complex, but are still relatively simple to create. Also, tessellation is not constrained
to simple geometric shapes, as M.C. Escher’s work demonstrates. And while the Islamic
geometric design tradition doesn’t tend to employ elements
like fish and faces, it does sometimes make use of multiple
shapes to craft complex patterns. This more than 1,000-year-old tradition
has wielded basic geometry to produce works that are intricate,
decorative and pleasing to the eye. And these craftsmen prove just how
much is possible with some artistic intuition, creativity,
dedication and a great compass and ruler.

Comments 100

  • That compass and ruler always remind me of freemason but they're not muslim tho

  • The comment section showed just how different ted-ed audience compared to other channel 🙂

  • arabic translation is bad and not complet wich give a lot of uncompleted (wrong) infos and it make it sems that the islamic culture just copied other cultures please correct the translation

    الترجمة العربية سيئة و غير مكتملة ما يعطي الكثير من المعلومات الخاطئة او الغير كاملة و توحي بأن الثقافة الاسلامية نسخت الثقافات الاخرى. الرجاء تصحيح الترجمة

  • And now not even 500 universities are there in islamic world…so sad

  • This is not only islamic. This is mixed turkish culture and islamic culture. Anatolian mosques have a lot of geometric shapes. They made by Selcuklu Emp. and Ottoman Emp.

  • Not all tilings are as simple. Specially, the 3d ones such as the one at Isfehan's Imam mosque

  • Art progressed only when there was peace in the society. Religion was meant to bring peace. Every one who craves to bring ideal society, must understand this … religion is a means to bring peace not aim in itself. It's art and science that really matters in progress of society.

  • The reason Muslims draw just patterns is from their belief that the creation of living forms is unique to God, and mere humans arent allowed to "create" such stuff in a drawing. In Judaism there's a similar ban on creating "god" like figures, but it is less strict.

  • It is only geometry. Mehmmed did not talk about geometry.

  • They invaded or stole from others!!!

  • These are mostly moroccan designs…

  • Duh, the Muslim faith was planted by Catholics and Catholicism is a masonic designed mocking religion. They fancy their ancient gematria/ geometry.
    Muhammad was coached by a catholic monk after his time as an orphan.
    Islam is a young faith littered with falsehoods by the mocking church that planted that lie. Deal with it, truth is irrefutable.

  • You deliberately removed Persian science and Architecture and called it Islamic for next step to remove Persian name from that . It’s not work baby

  • I barely knew that they adopted the Roman and Persian art in the early period of Islam. Earlier i thought because in Islam, its forbidden to paint a living creature, so they use plants and many other things including the complex geometry. Well thanks to this channel !

  • ¿¿¿“In a ppPppentagon other (((>shapes<))) have to be added to make something repeatable”???

    “4-fold pattern fit in a square grid.”

    “6-fold patterns in a hexagonal grid.”

    “V-fold patterns however, are more challenging to tessellate because ppPppentagons don’t neatly fill a surface. So instead of just creating a pattern in a pentagon other ‘shapes’ have to be added to make something repeatable resulting in patterns that may seem confounding complex, but are relatively simple to create.”

  • Don’t let Fox News see this.

  • Wooow that's just fascinating 😍❤ I love how u explaned that gorgeous art.

  • Ted-Ed are you going to do a positive video about other religions as well?

  • reason is, to making picture is forbidden in islam..'only the god able to create something'

  • wow…amazing….

  • Chaos and order

  • There is no such things like ''Islamic Geometry". These are middle eastern Arabs works. It is a fact that they adopted Islam. Perhaps Islam inspired their creativity in a way.

  • It mesmerizing but also saddens me that, our ancestors were more progressive than Muslims we are today. Islam is not just a religion but also a lifestyle. It shows you all the prime things to live, from eating foods to all the way to science and politics. And after spending 18 springs of my life I just realized that, People from our own community and society has tried to twist these thing in a bad way to match their selfish needs (whatever a bad cleric do to gain fame and reach). Whenever I looked at the old ways of Islam I felt" just" yet the ways I am seeing isn't just as right, looks like someone bent it. I even feel the ancestors of ours were more modern then we are today. All these people who can burn the world to ashes to match their needs and nitpicking violence is hampering and holding not only Muslims but also all kind of people of earth to show what is good and what we can archive if we walk along the same way. It is the same thing afterall we all seek…

  • I am proud to be a part of this as a Turkish and a Muslim. However, these issues are never discussed in today's education system. We are removed from our own values ​​and culture. Regardless of your nationality, embrace your own culture.

  • Could create Beautiful shapes but cant stop a war,Great Logic

  • They didnt invent it it existed for thousand of years before the arab conquest lol what a joke of a video look up ancient assyrian sacred geometry

  • WOW Arabs have brains ?

  • Makes me want to bring the golden age of Islamic culture back.

  • QURAN INCLUDES [email protected] of Islam; "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book(Christians ,Jews,), until they pay the Jizya(non-muslim)tax with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.-Quran 9:29

  • "it is the law that no Muslim should be killed in Qisas (equality in punishment) for the killing of (a disbeliever)'said; Prophet Muhammad' Sahih Bukhari 1:3:111

  • The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them<—(???).   —how they are deluded away from the Truth! Quran 9:30

  • Wow, terrific

  • Pen and paper skills are satisfying enough. Imagine applying these motives onto marble, rock and woods on massive scale without today's power tools and let them all be precise as in the paper.

  • The westerners had thought the muslim how to do it, or done it themselves for them, the western countries including the catholic church advance certain nationals such as the arab and the jews knowing that both have borrowed from other nations which they work to demote, it is terrible that this channel is participating in this lie, you are acting as lying bunch of devils…. the arab and the muslims have never and will never do anything work while other then by tremendous efforts wasted on them in particular to be called as "advanced people"…..

  • Zombie religion. Cancer to human mind

  • That was golden era of Muslims. When Muslims destroyed Roman and Persian empires.

  • اى تصميم فية فكر وابداع يعجبنى

  • لكن انا مؤمن بفكرة …. جمال الاشياء فى بساطتها كل ماكان التصميم بسيط كان ارقى

  • What do you mean by islamic design? There is no such thing. That is arab design. Arab is not equal to islam.

  • Amazing! Thank you. Very useful.

  • Well Technically , this is not ISLAMIC Art because there are no such instruction about such art in the Quran or hadith or any islamic scripture , just like a if a muslim invented mobile , you wont say , its an Islamic Invention , its an invention by Muslim. So Technically its more like Arabic or Muslim Art or may be Art of Islamic Golden Age , or something other than Islamic , since its not part of Islam.

  • 4:50 Square & Compass, The Freemasonic emblem. Now it makes sense.

  • Now I know why most of the Muslim architects are so creative❤️

  • @0:41 The narrator claims the supposed Golden Age of Islam was a thousand years ago and uses an image from 17th century Ottoman times. LOL
    Muslims are living their second tyranny today but nothing lasts forever. Glad tidings for Islamophobes: the Golden Age of Islam is yet to come!

  • Im glad islam is portrayed this way. Theres a youtube video where a south korean man remembers turkish men helping them during the korean war. He thinks muslims are not the way they are portrayed in media today.

  • It is Greek to me.

  • Nobody:
    People in this comment section:
    I m not a muslim but…..😌

  • Even though I have an astigmatism, I'm pretty sure my eyes are Islamic when I see these types of mesmerizing masterpieces. 👀💟❤💟❤💟❤

  • … its like a beautyfull Song and music in words of Geometrie – and we See God ist big Designer and constructeur.

  • une précision de l art islamique eblouissante

  • The Arabs also established the first universities & medical procedures. Without the Arabs, there would never have been a Renaissance in Europe (when the Arabs left Spain, the Vatican & courts of Europe rushed their scholars to pour over the books the Arabs had left behind to take back their know-how & eventually build on it). The Romans did the same thing when they finally defeated Carthage (originally Phoenicians) and hauled off to Rome all their books to learn their methods of agriculture, ship-building, construction, architecture, astronomy, warfare, etc., and make them their own. Eric Broug is very talented.

  • Doing star patterns is great to relax the mind. Mindfulness and meditation happen as one has to very attentive and careful. One wrong move & the pattern is messed up. You have to keep your mind on what you're doing and you end up with a beautiful design and a beautiful mind/brain.

  • its called arabesq and it has nothing to do with romans or persians

  • This design that I want to bring back in this era. InsyaAllah 😍

  • Islam owes Iranian civilization for its huge dedications to architecture and arts.

  • then you need to see shree yantra how perfect it is….

  • Thats effect of adaptive mind under influence of extensive strict culture… Society always need variation in shape of daily matter… In islam, drawing a shape of living form is absolutly prohibited.. While necessary of art, as standart of social statute neither economy substance, is inevitable demand… Than foreign element adapted..

    But endless repeating pattern isn't represent ideology of islam-even contrary-, neither geometrical tessellation isn't arabs original culture… Actually, when islam spread, its kill half-if not entirely-arabian tribe culture n art… Many element such as painting n sculpture punished… Islam ideology is straight line, with beginning n ending.. Repeating pattern is adapted from persian that close with hindia, source of endless cycle ideology… N islam gain math n geometri technic from alexandria… The result of fusion from that every element is geometrical tessellation into endless repeating circular pattern…

  • It's faaaaaaaaaaaar way back than Islam. It comes from the time of Noah

  • Simply wowwwww…

  • Also in Pakistan the constructions built in Mughal Emperor are enriched with complex geometr, such as Mosque Wazir Khan.

  • Also in Pakistan the constructions built in Mughal Emperor are enriched with complex geometr, such as Mosque Wazir Khan.

  • It's not the Islamic design which is the problem but the islam itself..
    Science & mathematics doesn't care about religion , in right conditions, breakthrough can come from any where..

    But so far, there are very less breakthroughs that have come through bcz of close minded & absolute nature of Islam..

    Islam is more of a political ideology hiding behind a religion..

  • Hats off to those💚

  • Basically, they adopted the culture of the fertile crescent, which isn't surprising at all.

  • Not Persian or Indian,it's Turkic,arabic and persian …Mixed…

  • Oh ya Islamic geometry
    Then please teded make a video on

    e=mc2 should be Jewish
    Calculus should be hindu
    Electric current Christian
    Why biased towards other faith teded

  • Where did you find the information that Muslim craftsman took pre existing motifs from Roman & Persian culture n developed them??

  • Sorry to say to all you folks of around the globe, you and TED guy never heard or read about Indian intelligence of geometry and its applications around the world ages before the birth of Islam. You all need to just study deeper and broad your horizon..

  • First observatory built in meden in 825. In India 1724 delhy, 1728 jaipur. Ujjen, mathura and banaras

  • (وما خلقت الانمس والجن الا ليعبدون )
    i only create the world to worship). it is a verse in quran that every muslim all the must mention the Allah once and all especially in Mosque so cant be there any graphics in the mosque walls because in there you can only thinking about Allah that is a point i wanted to clear another point i want to mention that all historical mosques in Syria by Bashar elAssd son of Hafz elAsst and the isreal take the first mosque in islam

  • I am looking at my 30 year old home floor since my child 😊hood its so complicated and😶🙎 if i focus on only one tile i see one design but if we add more and more tiles i see different design every time its so complicated and confusing😬 i saw them every morning from my bed and discover new design every day from the same tiles and really😆 they are unlimited designs……i love thiss kind of things😉

  • Watching this is like seeing visuals when you trip with shrooms

  • Buddy it's no "Madrasas" but "Madarsas

  • Hey, thanks, u help me a lot with these video 😁😁 my art home work is done 😆😆😆

  • Im living in the capital city of math

  • Heel leuk dit

  • i dont find the relation!! does qran and hadees naver says to use complex geometry?? then what an individual or some group of people doing is not consider Islamic culture. it may be Arab culture and nothing to do with islam

  • Invading high cultures and stealing their heritage. The problem is there is nothing "Islamic" about these geometries and you still cant produce anything original. Nice voice though.

  • Not everything Arabic is Islamic. Call it Arabic. Culture and religion are two different entities. Especially Islam for most of the countries.


  • OMG that's so sensational!
    This is my first time see non-Muslim told the world something perfect like that about Islam 💜
    Thank u alot .
    Allah bless u 💙💙💙💙
    All love from Syria 🤘

  • Suprisingly,people in the comments are not accusing us of terrorism when we have nothing to do with it..Thank God(Alhamdulilah as we say)..and thank you guys!

  • It's not "Islamic". These arts were made and flourished in Muslim Moorish dominated Andalusia, today Southern Spain. It certainly not Islamic, the religion didn't compelled or advocated it usage.

  • It's time to start good relationship and brotherhood among all religion….
    This can be done only by keeping your wish of being supreme, egoistic nature and few other bad things apart…..

    Let's make this world better

  • wow there are less dislikes than expected

  • Totally wrong information.
    It Not Islamic invention. It is Geometry.
    Although, According to Islamic religious beliefs any Sculpture, Statue, Music, Art is concerned as Haram

  • When the muslim was touch with the Qura'an and follow the teaching of Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W they are in dominant in all field of the word rather it is in ruling or in education cultural or civilization 😔

  • If islam is the religion of peace, why does islam hate non believers, gays, women, democracy, freedom, etc etc…? Why do muslims want to kill everyone who is not islamic?

  • Ok it just 2 tools but billion neuron in my brain collapsing

  • ..for rebirth??

  • that is great ,so is islam

  • Too bad they follow a fake wannabe prophet who was never chosen by the god of Abraham

  • Not these Geometric shapes but also there are a lot of things then Muslims invented, that they becomes trend for the rest of the world, those who called Muslims as a Terrorists, they don't know the actually reality of Muslims and Islam. love to see this video and thank you for the production team, please make more videos like these and show to the world that ISLAM is the religion of peace, not a religion of terrorists and rapists. Thank you Ted Team

  • 👍👍👍

  • تمت المشاهدة ضمن تطبيقات لغوية ماستر استشراق د نحمد الرهوان

  • The thing is "Might is right "
    When you dont have power then the powerful dont listens to you
    That is why people defines the gteatest achievements of muslims
    As a proganda.But the arabic inflenence on English tells the truth

  • Religion ruined all their possibility.

  • In every religion there is one all-powerful being. Religion is created to provide peace and stability, as well as provide peace of mind to explain unexplainable phenomena.

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