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Art - Essay Example

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The dominant color of the tile is blue. There is a light, turquoise outline, of uniform width, all around the outside which defines the limit of the tile. Against this light outline there is a deep blue in-fill…
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Site Number October 14 Anonymous Tile with Twelve Pointed Star. ceramic mosaic with polychrome glaze. Isfahan, Iran: 15th century.
62.23 cm
Seattle Art Museum, Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection.
This object is a glazed tile in the shape of a twelve pointed star. The dominant color of the tile is blue. There is a light, turquoise outline, of uniform width, all around the outside which defines the limit of the tile. Against this light outline there is a deep blue in-fill made up of irregularly shaped mosaic fragments. Within this rim of darker blue there is lighter blue patterning which picks up the same shade as the outer border. The lighter blue sections resemble plant stems, and there are eight very bright white highlights which resemble budding flowers at the end of the light blue stem shapes. Within this outline there is a square gold pattern, with elaborate corners and mid-line embellishments. This part of the design encloses a dark center area within which dark and light blue patterns are woven, along with four larger, flower-lile motifs with bright white outlines and dark brown centers. Two interlocking eight point stars make up the centrepiece, one in light gold and one in light blue, with a small light blue dot and petal-like surround forming exactly the middle of the tile. All of these figures form concentric shapes around the tiny dot in the middle.
There is a very tight design principle at work in this tile. All of the angles and proportions are carefully measured so that the whole piece has a four, eight and twelve-fold structure. There is a geometric logic behind the stars, and the four quarters reflect each other bringing great
harmony and unity to the overall design. Within this extreme regularity there is also considerable low key variation. The use of fragments of tile within the dark blue and brown color blocks breaks these parts up, and gives them a quirky, interesting texture. Against this broken surface, the pure white sections appear startlingly solid and bright, and draw the eye to the four central flower motifs and the pinpoint in the middle which is surrounded with a petal-like ring of white. These shapes are not realistic depictions of actual flowers, but more like generic indicators of living forms. Likewise, the geometric features incorporate curves as well as straight lines, giving this piece an intriguing mixture of mathematical and biological connotations. The use of contrast is key to this piece, and this reflects the likely use of this tile on a wall or floor, adjacent to other similar or perhaps identical tiles, so that the patterning can extend in ever growing circles as each tile links to the next.
There is obvious wear on the surface of the tile, but in spite of this the design appears to me to be timeless. It is reminiscent of ancient Greek and Roman pavements, medieval tapestry, Middle Eastern carpets and modern Paisley patterns all at the same time. This is because of its vibrant color, which is testament to the technological skill of the designer and manufacturer, and the multiple meanings that are implicit in the linked shapes. I felt I had to work to produce my own meaning to the shapes. I think there is an Islamic message in the tile, relating to the beauty and greatness of Allah, and a holistic appreciation of the material world . The artist does not does not try to make a picture of the divinity, or imitate living things in a representational way, but merely pulls out their essence and represents this as a complex, fractal harmony. I sense a peace and tranquility in the tile, because of its regular structures. There is also a vibrance and joy in the sharp contrast of the white against the dark brown. All in all, the tile has a spiritual quality that inspired calm reflection and joy in me.
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