Earlier this week at Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT and about a month ago at the Aga Khan Museum, author and designer Eric Broug gave a visual introduction to Islamic geometric design, then showed participants how the rules and design principles of this design tradition enabled craftsmen to make beautiful and complex compositions.
Using the same tools as craftsmen have used for centuries, participants learnt how to make geometric patterns. Ismailimail is proud to share some of the pictures from the workshop held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“Geometry enlightens the intellect and sets one’s mind right. All its proofs are very clear and orderly. It is hardly possible for errors to enter into geometric reasoning, because it is well arranged and orderly. Thus the mind that constantly applies itself to geometry is unlikely to fall into error …”
– Ibn Khaldūn
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About Eric Broug
Eric Broug has been studying islamic geometry for over fifteen years, initially in Amsterdam, Holland. He is mostly self-taught, relying on a handful of books and a lot of practice to master this craft.
Eric moved to the United Kingdom in 2000 to attend VITA (Visual Islamic & Traditional Arts) at the Prince’s Foundation in London. He completed his MA in the History of Islamic Architecture at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), also in London. At SOAS, Eric specialized in the history of Mamluk architecture in Cairo, and in the history of muqarnas. He received a British Museum scholarship award in recognition of his research.
Eric’s passion for Islamic architecture and geometry is in equal parts academic and artistic. He is fascinated by the context in which Islamic geometric design was made. Who were the craftsmen? What was their position in society, were they numerate, were they literate?
About Aga Khan Documentation Center (AKDC) at MIT & Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at MIT and Harvard
Situated within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Libraries, the Aga Khan Documentation Center (AKDC), a part of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture (AKPIA) at MIT and Harvard, was established in 1979 by a gift from His Highness the Aga Khan. The Center supports teaching of, and research on, the history and theory of architecture, urbanism,environmental and landscape design, visual culture, and conservation, as well as the practice of architecture, in Muslim societies, with particular focus on the research and teaching activities of the faculty, students, and post-doctoral fellows at AKPIA.
The Center funds acquisitions and cataloging of visual and printed documentation on the visual and material cultures of the Islamic world, building rich collections in all languages and formats in these subject areas. In addition, the Center provides research, reference, and outreach services. The Aga Khan Documentation Center acquires research materials not commonly found in other collections in North America for the MIT Libraries, including a wide range of specialized periodicals, monographs on architecture, urban planning and development, maps, and documents of preservation and planning authorities. Through the acquisition of select personal archives, the Documentation Center is a repository of primary research materials.
A part of the Documentation Center, the Aga Khan Visual Archive consists of nearly 120,000 slides and digital images of architecture, urbanism, and the built environment. Begun in 1980 with images donated by graduate students traveling on AKPIA Travel Grants, scholars, architectural firms, and the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Archive continues to grow. Images in the Archive document historic and contemporary sites in the Islamic world, including many sites not found in any published resource or those that are no longer accessible or have been destroyed.
In addition, the Aga Khan Documentation Center is responsible for the curation of the intellectual and content core of Archnet, a globally-accessible, intellectual resource focused on architecture, urbanism, environmental and landscape design, visual culture, and conservation issues with a focus on Muslim cultures and civilizations. Over the past ten years, Archnet has worked to provide digital access to the collections of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Aga Khan Documentation Centers at MIT and Harvard, resulting in a growing library of over 79,000 images and 6,000 publications.
The Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT Libraries is partnered with the Documentation Center of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University. Harvard and MIT affiliates have reciprocal access to library collections at both institutions. The Centers provide, acquire, and borrow materials necessary to produce the best scholarship possible and through planned activities, aim to play a significant role in bringing together the various interests and fields of inquiry from both institutions.
About the Aga Khan Museum
The aim of the Aga Khan Museum will be to offer unique insights and new perspectives into Islamic civilizations and the cultural threads that weave through history binding us all together. My hope is that the Museum will also be a centre of education and of learning, and that it will act as a catalyst for mutual understanding and tolerance.
– His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan
The Aga Khan Museum (French: Musée Aga Khan) is dedicated to promoting the artistic, intellectual and scientific contributions of the Muslim Civilisations. Located in Toronto, Canada, the museum is an initiative of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network.
It houses collections of Islamic art and heritage, including artefacts from the private collections of His Highness the Aga Khan, the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London, and Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan, which showcase the artistic, intellectual and scientific contributions of Muslim civilizations.
The Museum collection contains over one thousand artefacts and artworks and spans over one thousand years of history. The objects – in ceramic, metalwork, ivory, stone and wood, textile and carpet, glass and rock crystal objects, parchment and illustrated paintings on paper – present an overview of the artistic accomplishments of Muslim civilisations from the Iberian Peninsula to China.
Via AKDN: Aga Khan Museum and Aga Khan Museum
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