Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry

Daud Sutton

In the arena of art and design books, Daud Sutton’s “Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry” emerges as a profound exploration into the mesmerizing world of Islamic geometric patterns and their intrinsic harmony. This book delves deep into the facets of one of the most sophisticated traditions in the history of human artistic expression, and it does so with a clarity and precision that both educates and inspires.

At the heart of “Islamic Design” lies the concept of harmony—a principle echoed throughout the various craft traditions within the vast tapestry of Islamic art. Countries and cultures within the Islamic world have produced an astonishing variety of artistic styles, yet they all share a unifying visual language that makes them instantly recognizable and immensely appealing.

Sutton details the two fundamental aspects of Islamic design—the flowing elegance of Arabic calligraphy and the enchanting beauty of abstract ornamentation. Both elements serve as a testament to an art form that transcends mere aesthetic and inches towards the divine.

Arabic calligraphy receives due attention as one of the great calligraphic traditions in the world. Sutton vividly showcases how the written word is not just a medium of communication in Islam but also a significant artistic expression capable of embodying profound spiritual significance.

On the more abstract side, Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry educates readers on the geometric patterns that characterize Islamic design, patterns known for their harmonious and symmetrical subdivision of space. These designs resonate with themes of infinity and a semblance of an omnipresent center, which can be seen as reflecting the infinite nature of creation and the central omnipresence of the divine in Islamic thought.

Complementing the geometric patterns are the stylized plant forms—spirals, tendrils, leaves, buds, and flowers—that represent life’s organic rhythm. These forms are skillfully analyzed, and their symbolic meanings are discussed, shedding light on the importance of natural elements within Islamic art.

For readers interested in geometry, art history, or cultural studies, “Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry” stands out as both educational and inspirational. Sutton’s narrative is accessible to all, from the curious novice to the seasoned art historian, and the illustrations that accompany the text are as illuminating as they are beautiful.

In conclusion, “Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry” is a masterful presentation of Islamic artistic tradition, and Daud Sutton deserves commendation for unraveling the complexity of this subject with such eloquence and insight. Whether one is captivated by the intellectual challenge of geometric designs or simply appreciates the serene beauty of Islamic art, Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry is a valuable addition to any collection.