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Islamic Architecture History: Jmeh Mosque of Isfahn - Essay Example

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The intended meaning of the Jameh Mosque will be examined in the "Islamic Architecture History: Jāmeh Mosque of Isfahān", as well as the associated meaning the author experienced when visiting the mosque. This mosque is one of the oldest in existence and a crucial part of Islamic culture…
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Islamic Architecture History: Jmeh Mosque of Isfahn
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Download file to see previous pages The mosque is constructed in a four-iwan style. An iwan is a chamber-like structure. The four iwans face each other and form a rectangle so that the middle of the mosque is a large open-area courtyard. Undivided space encourages human interaction. Within each iwan, there are elaborate decorations to encourage prayer and worship. The decorative style is referred to as hypostyle. Through the centuries different groups have added structural supports, and decorative elements in accordance with the major architectural style of the time. This is true of other elements of the building, and it functions to give the building an entirely unique meaning. For instance, the walls are composed of varying types of brick designs, “some historians (i.e., Sayed Husein Nasr), say these patterns are associated with Sufi mysticism through their mathematical shapes.”2


Fig. 1 demonstrates the difference of forms within the iwan and shows the way that the building’s architecture is constructed to allow the passage of light and sun. The effect and meaning are one of creating a feeling of sanctity within the mosque. The iwans are also constructed in a way so they echo. Similar to the lighting this creates a sanctimonious effect. Sir Thomas Browne described this effect as "mystical mathematics of the City of Heaven" for the way the architecture and meaning interact.3 The iwans also function to divide the mosque so that during prayer men and women are separated. The flooring is constructed in a way to help the direct interaction between the human body and the floor during praying because there are not seating places inside.

Over the years a number of different architectural additions have been constructed onto the mosque. It wasn’t until a number of centuries after its initial construction that it ultimately took on the four-iwan style for which it is now renowned. The Muzzafarid Madrasa was added to the southeastern side. The Timurid Prayer Hall was added to the southwest. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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