The Topkapi Scroll -- Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture (Sketchbooks & Albums Series)

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9780892363353: The Topkapi Scroll -- Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture (Sketchbooks & Albums Series)
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The scant number of drawings and the absence of any theoretical treatises on the architecture of the pre-Islamic world make the late fifteenth-century Timurid pattern scroll in the Topkapi Palace Museum Library an exceedingly valuable source of information. In the course of her analysis of the scroll, Necipoglu throws new light on the conceptualization, recording, and transmission of architectural design in the Islamic world between the tenth and sixteenth centuries. Her comparison of the Islamic understanding of geometry with that found in medieval Western art makes this book particularly valuable for all historians and critics of architecture. The text also has far-reaching implications for recent discussions on vision, subjectivity, and the semiotics of abstract representation. The book reproduces the entire scroll, with its 114 individual geometric patterns for wall surfaces and vaulting, along with illustrations showing the underlying geometries from which the individual patterns are generated. An essay by Mohahhad al-Asad discusses the geometry of the mugarnas and demonstrates how one of the scroll's patterns could be used to design a three-dimensional vault.

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About the Author:

Gulru Necipoglu is the Aga Khan Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at Harvard University.

From Publishers Weekly:

Featuring elaborate star-and-polygon patterns, the Topkapi scroll, probably made in Persia in the late 15th or early 16th century, was a manual of architectural designs used in complex vaults, geometric ornaments, mosaic tiles and polychromatic masonry. In this scholarly, sumptuously illustrated study, the scroll, preserved in Istanbul's Topkapi Palace Museum, serves as a point of departure for Necipoglu's history of Islamic architectural drawing and her trenchant critique of European "orientalist" assumptions about Islamic culture. Professor of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard, Necipoglu maintains that a shared classical heritage in the Latin West, Byzantium and the Islamic world was remodeled in each civilization by differing monotheistic traditions. She argues that Islamic geometric patterns, often dismissed as mere decoration, comprised a "sign system" reflecting religious and ideological currents, mathematical and scientific advances and mystical beliefs throughout premodern Islamic history.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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