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Masjed-e Shah - symmetry

Marjolein Katsma

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Wall Art

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Share this page Photo © 2009 Marjolein Katsma | Text © 2010 Marjolein Katsma

Tags for this photograph:
blue, white, black, yellow, cyan, travel, mosaic, tiles, glazed tiles, glaze, wall, symmetry, iran, esfahān, esfahan, isfahān, isfahan, islamic art, masjed-e shāh, masjed-e shah, masjed e shah, shah mosque, imam mosque

One of the impressive landmarks of Esfahān, and a Unesco World Heritage site together with the impressive Imam Square on the southern edge of which it is located, is Masjed-e Shāh or Shah Mosque. It is truly astounding, both for its architectural and spatial qualities, as well as for its rich, seven-color mosaic tile which covers almost all inside surfaces from eye level upwards.

Sadly, this time I had dreadfully little time for a visit but I really wanted to take some photographs; I decided to concentrate on capturing some unusual details and viewpoints (helped in my choice by ongoing restoration work).

This is a tiled panel on the side of an arcade pillar. Bright colors (five only here, with a lot yellow), and – at first sight – a pleasingly symmetric design. But if you look closely, nothing is quite symmetrical: it looks as if the design was hand-drawn across the bare tiles, completely disregarding the seams between the tiles, and then filled in with the different colors for the glaze.

This panel looks to be in good condition, but tiles can crack and fall off – and the fact that the decorations do not take the geometry of the tiles into account will make repairs very difficult. See the related image (below) for an example what this can lead to…

Masjed-e Shah - leftovers

Taken in Esfahān, Iran 2009
Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1

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Masjed-e Shah - leftovers

Artwork Comments

  • Eyal Nahmias
  • Marjolein Katsma
  • Lindie Allen
  • Marjolein Katsma
  • DutchLumix
  • Marjolein Katsma
  • Dinni H
  • Marjolein Katsma
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