I have posted before about Robert Byron’s description of the Sheikh-Lotfollah’s mosque in Esfahan, Iran, in his Road to Oxiana. I am yet to travel to Iran, but long to visit the country and explore its architectural splendours. For the time-being however I can read, use my imagination, and explore them through the internet.
One element of their design captures my imagination above all else… the intricately tiled iwans and ceilings, often featuring complex tessellations and honeycombs. Last night I came across a fabulous collection of photographs of them here on the ‘This is Colossal’ website. Well worth a look, but must be even better to see with one’s own eyes.
Of the interior if the dome Byron wrote “I know of no finer example of the Persian Islamic genius than the interior of the dome: The dome is inset with a network of lemon-shaped compartments, which decrease in size as they ascend towards the formalised peacock at the apex… The mihrāb in the west wall is enamelled with tiny flowers on a deep blue meadow. Each part of the design, each plane, each repetition, each separate branch or blossom has its own sombre beauty. But the beauty of the whole comes as you move. Again, the highlights are broken by the play of glazed and unglazed surfaces; so that with every step they rearrange themselves in countless shining patterns… I have never encountered splendour of this kind before.”
But as fans of this genre of architecture, can you tell me where the ceiling shown below can be found?
One response to “Iran’s ‘Colossal’ Ceilings”
Tim – that ceiling is, believe or not, to be found in Wales. It is the Arab Room of Cardiff Castle designed by the William Burges (1821-1881) for John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. The 1st Marquess of Butes owned said castle from the mid-1700s and it stayed in the family until 1947 when it was given to the City of Cardiff. The Arab Room is located in the Herbert Tower. It was this room on which Burges was working when he died in 1881.