Analysis of the Concepts of Plaster Decorations and Epigraphs in the Altar of the Great Mosque of Urmia

by   MAJ Dr. Sorush niknamian, et al.

Ilkhanid art has a unique and special status in the arts of Islamic periods because of the decorations used in the altars of its mosques. In this period, altars made of plaster were decorated and painted by different methods while special attention was paid to the morphology of altars. The altars were built based on geometrical calculations and with regard to Islamic models and concepts. This research focuses on the analysis of the altar of the Great Mosque of Urmia, which is one of the most glamorous plaster altars belonging to the pinnacle of Ilkhanid art. This altar represents the art and architecture of the seventh century AD that used a special geometry to decorate patterns. It can be used as a key to gain an understanding of patterns used in the Islamic decorations of Ilkhanid plaster altars. The objective of this research is to perform a geometrical and conceptual analysis of the motifs used in the designs, patterns, decorations, and epigraphs in the altar of the Great Mosque of Urmia (also known as “Masjid Jamiʿ Urumyie” (The Great Mosque of Urmia)). This a survey analytic research performed by collecting samples from the altar of the aforementioned mosque and analyzing them. Results of the analyses suggest that the patterns were not only mean for decoration, were based on meaning and concepts, and convey certain notions and symbols. The contents of the decorations were formulated so that they can establish a connection between the perceivers and the corresponding spaces. The findings of this research can be used to gain a better understanding of the patterns and decorations used in the Ilkhanid art and develop the patterns used in the contemporary art and architecture.


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