Skip to main content Skip to section menu

by Syed Jan Abas & Amer Shaker Salman (University of Wales, Bangor)
with forewords by Ahmed Moustafa and Sir Michael Atiyah, President of the Royal Society

This book on symmetric geometric patterns of Islamic art has educational, aesthetic, cultural and practical purposes. Its central purpose is to bring to the attention of the world in general, and the people of Islamic culture in particular, the potential of the art for providing a unified experience of science and art in the context of mathematical education. Unlike other books on Islamic patterns, this book emphasizes the educational potential in the context of modern physics, chemistry, crystallography and computer graphics. The symmetric structure of about 250 Islamic patterns is presented. Simple, but detailed original, unpublished algorithms suitable for modern computer graphics are given for the construction of two-dimensional periodic patterns. Endorsed by prominent experts from the fields of Physics to Systems and Cybernetics, this book promises to be a must-read, not only for specialised mathematicians, but also for students, graphic artists, illustrators, computer hobbyists, as well as the lay reader keen to explore Islamic art.

Published by: World Scientific


  • Islamic Patterns and Their Geometrical Structures
  • In Praise of Pattern, Symmetry, Unity and Islamic Art
  • The Gateway from Islamic Patterns to Invariance and Groups
  • Classification, Identification and Construction of the Seventeen Types of Two-Dimensional Periodic Patterns
  • Islamic Patterns and Their Symmetries

Readership: General. Chinese Translation by Churn-Jung Liau
Publishers: Rive Gauche Publishing House LTD (Taipei, Taiwan)
ISBN: 986-7854-59-4 (March 2004). Reviews:

"Symmetry is one of the most important and pervasive principles in Mathematics, particularly in its Geometrical form. Here, mathematics combines with art and exhibits clearly its aesthetic appeal. Islamic patterns provide a marvellous illustration of symmetry and Drs. Abas and Salman perform a useful service by taking this as their theme and blending it with ideas on computer graphics."

Foreword by
Michael Atiyah

"... a major contribution to the world of science and of particular value to the documention of the culture of Islam."

N Gedal

"... a masterly account of the way in which art and science are combined into aesthetic beauty by the Islamic geometric designs and motifs which decorate much of the Eastern World."

M Evans

"... This book will allow readers to travel through time and space, from ancient ornaments to the most modern computer graphics patterns."

C Pickover

"Ever since the discovery of the existence of seventeen space groups in two dimensions by Fedorov in 1891, it has been speculated that all seventeen could be found in Islamic art. But it is in this book that this remarkable fact is for the first time detailed and analysed, with beautiful illustrations. Rarely is there such a thought-provoking blend of esthetics and geometry with abstraction."

C N Yang

"Abas and Salman have assembled a fascinating collection that combines art, history, culture, science, mathematics and philosophy. Their examples range from a 12th-century minaret in Uzbekistan via the Alhambra in Granada to modern computer graphics of Koranic calligraphy on dodecahedrons and tori. They conclude by speculating on the prospect of creating Islamic patterns in virtual reality, where 'a seeker after unity in science and art would be able to submerge himself or herself in exquisite Alhambras of the mind'. Judging by the evidence presented here, it would be an unforgettable experience."

Ian Stewart
New Scientist, 1995

"The authors' love for Islamic art and symmetry shines through every page of this book."

The Chemical Intelligencer, 1996

"The authors' data can be used both for re-creating the original patterns as well as for the production of new variations and perhaps exploitation via CAD/CAM implementations. This involves a new method for extracting numerical data for use with computer graphics. The book is very richly illustrated with lovely color plates and some beautiful photographs."

Mathematical Reviews
Latest version of this page: 19/04/04

Site footer