The Topkapi Scroll -- Geometry and Ornament in Islamic Architecture

Gulru Necipogulu, Author, Mohammad Al-Asad, With
Gulru Necipogulu, Author, Mohammad Al-Asad, With Getty Publications $175 (412p) ISBN 978-0-89236-335-3
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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. (Mar.)
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