From Thailand to Malaysia and Indonesia, there is less focus on geometric, star rosettes like those found elsewhere in the Islamic world. Instead, designs here are generally cursive and vegetive. Many traditional houses feature window grills, brackets, architraves, doors and paneling intricately carved with floral biomorphic patterns, each one a formal, cohesive representation of forms and movements found in the surrounding jungle. The patterns have both practical and spiritual significance. Many utilitarian objects, too, from spoons to quail traps, are decorated and honored with these reverent designs.

Central to the designs is the spiral, from which the motifs and leaves sprout. This representation of continual growth and movement is called *awan larat* (moving cloud). The spiral or *batang* (stem) progresses from the *benih* (seed) or *punca* (source) like a plant growing toward the light.

This creates a centrifugal movement that reflects the progression of creation from the creator to infinity, sprouting *daun* (leaves) and *bunga* (flowers). Artisans stress that these motifs should coil back as if bowing in humility to the source or creator.

The development of motifs in this regional style is due to a convergence of influences. It is common that at the center of a composition sits the *bunga teratai*, or lotus, a form rooted in Hindu-Buddhist traditions. It is a representation of purity, rising through swampy waters and remaining pristine to surface and reveal its splendor.

Some leaves that sprout from the vines are reminiscent of Greco-Roman acanthus in the classic lobed and folded form. Other motifs originate locally, such as the *daun lancasuka* motif from Patani in south Thailand that is recognizable by characteristics like uptilted ends of the tendrils or *ulir* (volute). The *kelopak dewa *(deity leaf) can by sourced back to the sixth century as a motif that symbolizes earth’s natural, elemental energy.

Central to the Malay artisanal practice is the concept of *semangat*, which represents vital force or primal energy that is invested in things that are created. It is most relatable in the grain of wood and the growth movement of plants, yet it is a quality found everywhere. To align with Semangat before working, an artisan should ensure the workplace is clean and personal quarrels are settled. Then through meditation and prayer the artisan can be free of *nafsu* (personal needs). This will allow connection to the *Guru Asal* (Primordial Teacher), which will in turn enable the manifestation of the archetypal forms that have been passed down through the generations.

This excerpt from a Malay poem describes the approach to a composition:

*Tumbuh berpunca,
Punca penuh rahsia,
Tumbuh tidak manenjak kawan,
Memanjat tidak memaut lawan,
Tetapi melingkar penuh mesra.*

Growing from a source,

A source full of secrets,

Growing without piercing a friend,

Climbing without clinging to a rival,

But intertwining with grace and friendliness.

**1.**

• Across the midpoints of the page, draw a horizontal line. Measure its midpoint and, using the compass, inscribe a circle to fill the page.

• Retaining the same radius, place the compass where the circle intersects the horizontal line on the right (red). Draw a semicircle. Do the same on the left side.

• Place the compass on each of the four points where the semicircles meet the circle. Use the intersecting points of the top and bottom arcs (white) to find the points that define the vertical axis. Note these will be above and below your paper, so make sure you allow for space. Draw the vertical axis across the circle.

• From the top and bottom intersections of the circle with the vertical axis, draw semicircles (blue).

**2. **

• Draw the radial lines by aligning the straightedge with the tips of the petals (red), and cross the center point.

• Using these same intersections (red), draw four more circles using the same initial radius measurement.

• Place the circle in the center of the design increase the compass radius a little, and draw an additional circle, which will create a border.

**3.**

• Adjust the compass radius to match the length of one of the petals (white), and use this measurement to mark the distance from the central border and the outer border.

**4.**

• Between the two shaded border circles, inside 1/8 segment, draw the central folded motif, using a circle to help proportion the form.

• Draw a spiral that emanates from this motif.

• Add the leaves, lightly sketch in vesica forms to represent the leaf shapes before adding their lobes and details, making sure everything is positioned evenly.

**5.**

• At the center of the composition, use a compass to draw a circle and then the existing radial divisions to add the petals of the lotus.

**6.**

• Add half the flame petal to the central lotus motif.

• Fold a piece of tracing paper, align the fold with vertical line.

• Trace all the biomorphic elements with a 2B or 3B pencil.

**7.**

• Flip the folder tracing paper horizontally, pivoting on the vertical line.

• Retrace the biomorphic elements for a second time.

**8.**

• Open and flip the tracing paper so that the pencil lines are facing down.

• Align the traced unit with the empty quadrants of the rosette.

• When the tracing is in position using a polished stone or your finger nail, rub the back of the tracing paper to transfer the graphite from the tracing paper back into your design.

**9.**

• Rotate the tracing, and repeat the transfer process in each of the quadrants.

**10.**

• With a sharp 2B or 3B pencil, redraw the pattern.

• Use more pressure on the tips of the leaves and motifs, graduating your strokes.

**11.**

• Paint in a watery wash of walnut ink.

• Add highlights using a white conte pencil.

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For our next journey into the art of Islamic patterns, we visit Marrakesh, Morocco, where we find a stunning carved stucco design on a wall in the Qasr al-Bahiyah. The design is framed within a niche topped by muqarnas, the characteristic stalactite-like forms that often articulate the transition from a wall to a dome, a vault or, as in this beautiful example, the upper span of an interior niche. Although woven strapwork and vegetal motifs embellish the star pattern, in this installment in this series we focus only on the underlying geometric scheme: a classic arrangement of 12-pointed stars with equilateral triangles between them.

The design overlooks one of the famous *riyad* gardens, which form their own interconnected, labyrinthine plan together with the rooms and courtyards. The palace was commissioned in 1859 by Si Musa, grand vizier to Sultan Muhammad IV of the ’Alawi dynasty, from which today’s King Mohammed IV of Morocco descends. The palace is famous for its many decorations, which feature not only carved stucco, but also painted cedar ceilings, *zillij *tile mosaics and marble floors. Completed in 1900, its construction involved materials and artisans from throughout Morocco over four decades, and it is now one of the most well-known architectural attractions in Marrakesh.

The star pattern employs the same harmonic ratio and repeating module using a ratio of 1 to the square root of 3 (1:√3) that was used to produce the pattern in the third installment of this series. This time, however, the 12-fold radial design is of a different character, one for which variations can be found throughout the Islamic world: There are multiple examples in Morocco and southern Spain, where it appears in ceramic, plaster, and even embossed leather. In Anatolia it can be found as a cut-tile mosaic from the Seljuk period, in the 13th century. In Egypt it features in a range of media, most notably in the pierced stone screens produced in the ninth century for one of the world’s oldest surviving mosques, that of Ibn Tulun in Cairo.

Our approach to recreating the design is simpler. Rather than constructing the whole design, here we work with a rectangular module that comprises only one-eighth of the design. Then, by using tracing paper seven times, we flip and invert the design, burnishing and retracing as we go. This completes the full, 12-pointed star tessellation. Modular pattern repetition is indeed a common traditional approach, as shown by evidence in patterns from Iraq and Persia west to North Africa. It has the virtue of great accuracy, as we focus on modular details that we can then repeat to create an expanded design sized to fit our own desired space, whether it is on paper or on a wall overlooking a garden.

**1.** Starting from a vertical line, extend radius R1 to draw a circle to fill the page.

**2.** From points A and B, use R1 to mark arcs to establish points E, C, D, F. Then highlight the harmonic rectangle ECDF in a different color. This is the frame of our fundamental 1:√3 repeating module.

**3.** With a light solid line, indicate the three diagonal segments FG, FC and HC. With a broken line, indicate segment GH.

**4.** Anchored first at F and then at C, create from each a quarter arc (90 degrees) with radius R1 (EF). Then again from F and then C, create a second, smaller quarter arc with radius R2 (EG).

**5.** With a softer pencil, the final motif can now be marked in bold. Highlight the points where the radial lines from drawing 3 intersect with arcs from drawing 4. Connect these in a zig-zag manner, and the design starts to emerge: one quarter of the central 12-pointed star.

**6.** Continue the same process, and extend the bold lines to the frame of the rectangle to complete the fundamental repeating module.

**7.** Place tracing paper on top of final drawing from 6. Lightly mark the quadrilateral frame ECDF. In addition, lightly mark corners C and F with small crosses: These will serve as registration marks that will help you align the design for expansion and tessellation. Use a straightedge to trace the design with a soft pencil. Then on a fresh sheet of paper, flip the tracing paper over across the vertical chord CD. Now retrace the design, also with a soft pencil: This will create, on the paper, an adjacent reflection of the original design. You will now have the design in soft pencil on both sides of the paper, left-handed and right-handed versions.

**8.** Repeat the process through the horizontal axis. You now have the four repeated units including the original module. Notice how these alternating reflections can be repeated indefinitely to extend the design over an infinite space: This is tessellation.

**9.** Repeat the process to create a reflection of the four-piece drawing in the previous step. Your final drawing will show the expanded design built up now out of eight of the basic modules. (Note that the original module is highlighted at top left). The pattern starts to become clearly recognizable as our historical design from Marrakesh. Add color, tone and further embellishments to bring out the beauty of the design.

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Rüstem Pasha served as Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Süleyman, and in 1563 he commissioned architect Mimar Sinan to build a mosque in Rüstem’s name near Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Now one of the city’s historic sites, Rüstem also commissioned for it a dazzling array of ceramic tiles painted with subtle and sophisticated patterns

In this fourth installment in our series, we recreate one of these tile patterns, a 12-fold composition that, in several variations, decorates the spandrels and dado around the interior. It is comprised of four continuous spirals woven into a radial rosette. The structure beneath its curvilinear geometry is a six-fold division of the circle, which was also used in installments one and three in this series.

Motifs comprise abstract palmettes, stylized flowers, within decorative patterns. Motifs of local plant life distinguish reginal styles from one another. The designs reflect thus a continuum of the surrounding nature.

The leaf-shaped motifs along the interwoven lines of the rosette are known as Rumi motifs, a reference to Asiatic Rome, that date back to the fourth century BCE as well as later stylistic developments by both Uyghurs in the ninth century CE and the Seljuks in the 11th century CE.

A floral motıf, known as a *penç*, deriving from the Persian *penj berg* (five petals), fills the center of the composition. It is rendered here as three concentric rings, comprised of two outer rings of 12 double-lobed petals and a central curvilinear pattern, also of 12 petals. This motif is part of the Hatayı decorative canon that was introduced to Anatolia from central Asia from origins found in Old Uyghur ceramics. The name Hatayı is associated with Herat, Afghanistan, the cultural center of the Timurids and a key trading station along the trans-Asian routes that became known as the Silk Road.

The composition has been skillfully painted onto Iznik tiles, named after the town of Iznik that nestles on a lakeside not far from Istanbul. It was there that in the early 16th century an “Imperial ware,” now called Iznik, was developed using a fritware (glass) body and high-quartz content. The extremely durable results are unaffected by water, moisture, chemicals and temperature changes, and under their protective glaze, their colors have not faded over centuries.

The first stage in producing this masterpiece in ceramic was to draw the pattern on paper. Then the lines were pierced with tiny holes, through which the design could be transferred onto the tile with pigment ready to be hand painted before firing in the kiln.

The curvilinear, biomorphic form is created using a combination of straightedge, compass and freehand drawing. There are three key design elements to consider: spiral, symmetry and balance.

In classical Islamic as well as many other world art traditions, biomorphic designs are structured around a spiral, and from this the motifs and leaves sprout. The movement of nature inspires this unbroken flow of the spiral. It has no hard corners, and the curves are sweeping and gentle. As the spiral advances, it radiates secondary spirals, which in turn radiate others, and soon the page is overgrown. The spiral blossoms from its source like a plant from a seed growing toward the light. This centrifugal movement reflects the progression of creation, moving toward infinity.

Once a section of spirals is drawn, they are reflected and repeated to fill a page, a wall or a dome. In so doing, symmetry is fundamental to harmonious design: It exemplifies completeness, perfection and the search for unity.

The decorative designs tessellate across the surface with an even rhythm and texture, with no part taking precedence. The designs oscillate evenly, an effect created by the repetition and arrangements of the motifs.

Because the act of drawing sacred patterns has often been considered an act of meditation, before creating a work the artisan would make sure the process itself was being approached with *adab* (etiquette). In addition to ablutions and meditation, this could include making sure all affairs were in order, the mind is empty of matters of the world and the body was relaxed and in flow.

**1**

- Across the midpoints of the page, draw a horizontal line. Measure its midpoint and, using the compass, inscribe a circle that fills 2/3 of the page.
- Retaining the same radius, place the compass where the circle intersects the horizontal line on the right. Draw a circle. Do the same on the left side.
- Place the compass on each of the four points where the circles meet the circle. Use the intersection points to draw four more circles so that there are now six circles around the first circle.
- Draw the radial lines (white) by aligning the straightedge with the tips of the petals and cross the centerpoint.

**2**

- Draw two encompassing circles by placing the compass point in the center, and open the compass to the intersections indicated.

**3**

- Adjust the compass radius to match the distance between the two smaller circles (red arrow).
- Using this measurement draw 12 circles around the circumference of the circle marked turquoise.

**4**

- Align the straightedge with the intersections of the curves, marked in white, and prepare to mark 12 new radial divisions in turquoise.
- Place the compass point on the turquoise intersections and adjust the compass lead to meet the ends of the red curves. Then draw curves that join up the spirals.
- Repeat the outer curves, but this time expand the compass proportionally to create a channel. And repeat the process for the small inner curves, again aligning the compass lead with the ends of the outer curves.

**5 and 6**

- Erase the overs and unders to weave the spirals together. Note the rotational order in which the weave is achieved.

**7 and 8**

- Notice the four interlocking spirals.

**9 and 10**

- Draw the Rumi motifs onto the spirals in one of the sections. Copy these motifs with a soft pencil on tracing paper. Use this tracing paper to pounce the design into

the remaining 11 sections.

**11**

- Draw a hexagram inside the center circle by drawing two equilateral triangles in the center circle.

**12**

- Inscribe a circle inside the hexagon created by the hexagram.
- Inside this circle draw another equilateral triangle (purple) and then smaller circle (green) inside this.

**13 and 14**

- Use these circles to proportion the concentric layers of petals that create the
*penç*motif.

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They are essential in the demarcation and articulation of architectural space. On a physical level, they moderate and modulate the passage of air and light, contributing to temperature, atmosphere and ambience. Composed using dynamic symmetries that are both unique and related to other traditions in the Islamic world, jaalis cast stunning patterns of evanescent light upon floors and walls of buildings.

India’s extreme climate, with its intense sun and heat, prompted the development of various styles of jaalis across the subcontinent through the centuries. They have been constructed in a range of media, including stone and plaster, in which inventive symmetries and distinct geometric devices proliferate.

For this third installment in the Art of Islamic Patterns series, we turn to Delhi, where the Isa Khan enclosure sits within the gardens of the funerary complex of Mughal Emperor Nasiruddin Humayun. It is named after Isa Khan Niazi, a nobleman in the courts of Humayun’s successors Sher Shah Shuri and Islam Shah Suri. The building was constructed in 1547-1548 CE with an octagonal layout characteristic of the style known as *Lodhi*. Alongside a balcony within its enclosure, an extraordinary, balustrade-height jaali of red sandstone displays a delicate, 12-fold radial design. Looking closely it shows beautiful interplay of 6- and 12-pointed stars as well as a subtle vibration that was created by overlapping figures that, although they might first appear to be circles, turn out to be 12-sided figures, or dodecagons.

As indicated in the first two articles in this series, geometric patterns based upon 3- and 6-fold symmetries are one of the three main families of such patterns with Islamic art, and thus they are one of the natural starting points for journeys into these patterns. Twelve is six doubled, and thus there is an essential interrelationship also between 6-fold and 12-fold designs. Both are typically derived from the same proportioning module, sometimes referred to as a “harmonic rectangle,” which is expressed in mathematical terms using a ratio of 1 to the square root of 3 (1:√3).

This harmonic rectangle has been used elsewhere, too: for example in the ground plans of the Merenid Bou Inaniya Madrasa in Fez, Morocco, and as a framing device within the illuminated pages of masterpiece Mamluk Qur’ans as well as, more generally throughout the Islamic world, a way to produce modular repeating units on geometric surface designs.

The photo below shows the module repeated four times, and the instructions that follow will guide you in the construction of one.

**1.** Start from a vertical line, set compass radius to R1, approximately ⅓ width of the page. Draw a circle in the middle of the line.

**2.** Without changing the compass radius, and with the compass needle anchored at point A then point B, make 4 additional divisions of the circle. This will create our “harmonic” proportioning rectangle with the special ratio of 1:√3. This will form the fundamental repeat module for our design.

**3.** Link diagonal guidelines across our figure: A – F & D, B – E & C. Outside of the rectangle ECDF, these lines can be very light broken lines.

**4.** Add additional radial and diagonal lines, still as light guidelines.

**5.** Measure the distance of segment E-X. Then swing that arc to meet the line E-F at X1. Now measure a new compass radius R2 on the vertical line from F to X1. This will provide the radius of the key proportioning circles, which will contain the overlapping dodecagons in our final design.

**6.** Arrange the proportioning circles with radius R2 evenly as above across our rectangular module. Note that two centers of the proportioning circle, G and H, are outside of the frame of our rectangular module.

**7.** First lightly outline the 6- and 12-pointed star motifs in the center, as above. Then, with a bolder line, or colored pencil, start to outline the overlapping dodecagons and quarter dodecagons.

**8.** Note how additional proportioning circles centred at E, C, D and F enable us to establish the quarter stars nestled in the 4 corners of the rectangular repeat module. To complete the design, mark bold division with the larger gaps. The design can now be completed with shading, tone and colour to emphasise the interrelationship of different shapes and bring the design to life. Guidelines can be left as part of the final design or erased according to individual preference.

These marble-carved medallions seamlessly weave curvilinear geometry into a vesica, or quatrefoil, arabesque composition. The pattern repeats using radial symmetry to produce an interlaced, eight-fold rosette. This is traditionally interpreted to symbolize the four elements of matter—earth, air, fire and water—together with their four properties of dry, wet, hot and cold. These interpretations date to the fourth century BCE, the time of Aristotle, whose writings remained influential among many Muslim thinkers around the time the pattern was carved.

The vegetive motifs, drawn freehand, have their origins in the teardrop motifs called *Rumi* (Roman) and *tepelik* (pointed tip, or hilltop) motifs established in Anatolia. The distinctively Mamluk characteristics here can be seen in the symmetrical, spiral embellishments that coil inside the abstract leaves of the Rumi motif.

The mosque-madrasa complex was built between 1356 and 1363, during the Bahri Mamluk period, and it is ranked among the masterpieces of Mamluk architecture. Most Mamluks originated in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and while not free subjects of the Ottoman Empire, they were often educated, and their architecture was sophisticated and cosmopolitan, having within it influences from Byzantium, al-Andalus, North Africa, Central Asia and Persia.

Although this design is underpinned by geometric elements, it is classified as an Arabesque, or biomorphic, design. Both terms refer to patterns that are visual crystallizations of movement, abstract depictions of the vital, dynamic life force of nature that is expressed visually by every culture around our globe, generally using the shapes and materials most intuitive to them. These shapes describe the cycles and patterns inherent in nature, from the microscopic to the macroscopic: protons and neutrons as they spin around atoms; sound as it vibrates through the air; leaves as they uncurl from a fern; the whorls of fingerprints, the growth rings of trees and the currents of oceans.

These flowing, curvilinear patterns thus reflect, alongside geometry and calligraphy, one of the three distinct disciplines of classical Islam’s decorative canon. Within that, there exists a wide variety of regional styles of arabesque, and all follow the same archetypal principles.

In classical Islamic art, symmetry exemplifies perfection and unity, and is thus a reflection of divine qualities: The act of drawing can be undertaken as a meditation upon this harmony in the orders of nature.

**In this pattern, stages 1 to 4 are geometric, drawn using a compass and a straightedge. Stages 5 to 9 are biomorphic, drawn freehand, and the repetition of the motifs is rendered using a soft pencil and transferred by tracing paper.**

**1.**

• Across the midpoints of the page, draw a horizontal line. Measure its midpoint and, using the compass, inscribe a circle to fill the page.

• Retaining the same radius, place the compass where the circle intersects the horizontal line on the right (green). Draw a semicircle.

Do the same on the left side.

• Place the compass on each of the four points where the semicircles meet the circle. (The top two are marked in white.) Use the intersecting points of the top and bottom arcs to find the points that define the vertical axis. Note these are above and below your paper, so make sure you allow space. Draw the vertical axis across the circle.

• From the top and bottom intersections of the circle with the vertical axis, draw semicircles (red).

• Draw the diagonal lines by aligning the straightedge with the tips of the petals (blue) and cross the center point.

**2.**

• Draw a square from the intersections of the circle with the vertical and horizontal axes.

• Draw a set of 8 radial lines from the center point to the edge of the circle by aligning the ruler with each intersection of the square and the semicircular petals (white).

• From the farther intersections of the left petals with the square, draw 1 vertical guideline (red).

• Place the compass point in the center of the diagram and set its radius to meet the vertical guideline. Draw the proportioning circle for the central rosette.

• Without changing the radius, switch the compass to the left side of the circle, where it meets the vertical line. Make small marks where the compass crosses the upper and lower circumference of the proportioning circle.

• Use these points to draw a second, shorter vertical line (turquoise). Use where it meets the horizontal axis to draw, from the center point, a second, smaller proportioning circle.

• Place the compass point on each of the 8 points marked in blue. Set the radius to draw a set of 16 curves whose arcs connect the blue points with the 8 radial lines.

**3.**

• Expand the compass proportionally to the drawing and repeat the curves from the previous stage at a larger radius to create a channel or ribbon.

• Reduce the compass by the same value and repeat the curves once more to increase the width of the channel/ribbon.

**4.**

• Using an eraser to remove the lines that flow over one another, reveal the weave of the central rosette.

• Shade where the ribbon passes “under” to emphasize

the interlacing.

• Draw the freehand biomorphic element into one of

the sections (1/16 of the circle) using a 2B pencil.

(Hint: you may want to practice first using tracing paper.)

**5.**

• Place tracing paper over the biomorphic element. Tape it in place using drafting tape. Trace the drawing using a 3B (very soft) pencil.

• Using the straightedge, trace the vertical line onto the tracing paper. Then fold along this line, keeping the pencil lines on the outside.

• Trace the bilateral symmetry of the biomorphic section on the other side of the fold.

• Unfold the tracing paper and turn it over so that the pencil lines face the original drawing. Aligning it with the main drawing in the each of the sections around the medallion, and keeping it taped in place or held very steady, transfer the pencil lines from the tracing paper onto the main drawing by burnishing (rubbing) the tracing paper with a smooth stone or a spoon.

• Repeat this process for the four corner motifs. (Not shown in these examples.)

**6.**

• Using a 2B (soft) pencil, redraw the faint lines that have been transferred directly on the page. Start from the side opposite your drawing hand to to reduce smudging.

**7.**

• Even the weight of the lines, and color in with watered-down ink or watercolors.

**8.**

• Highlight with a stick of white chalk or pastel.

• Erase the radial lines, axes and all guidelines.

• Add background color if you wish.

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The Nasrid palaces of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, dating from the 13th to the 15th century, represent a high point in the cultural expressions of al-Andalus, or Muslim Spain, and of classical Islamic civilizations more generally. The building complex contains an extraordinary variety of designs rendered in stone, stucco, wood and tiles. Many are unique, and they have inspired artists from around the world. Among them was early 20th-century Dutch artist M. C. Escher, who sketched the tile* *design presented here and drew much geometric inspiration from the Alhambra.

For the first of the six pattern designs in this series, we chose a lively, curvilinear *alicatado*, as a cut-tile design is called in Spanish. (In Arabic it is called *zillij*.)** **This pattern appears on large panels of tiles glazed in blues, greens, ochres, blacks and whites set along the lower parts of the walls of the Alhambra’s renowned Court of the Myrtles. As a central motif of the pattern, the three-point swirl is today known in Spanish as *pajarita* (little bird).

Looking at the pattern of hundreds of tiles on the wall, the structure of the design is not immediately apparent. However, its geometry turns out to be relatively simple: It is a six-fold radial symmetry. Once this is understood, it’s not that difficult to reproduce it, step by step.

Six-fold radial symmetry patterns are, with their three-fold counterparts, one of the three most commonly used families of patterns within traditional Islamic geometric art. The other pattern families are four- and eight-fold symmetries and five- and 10-fold symmetries. Although other combinations appear throughout the Islamic world across centuries, these three pattern families have been used most frequently. For anyone beginning to learn about the patterns in the traditional arts of Islamic cultures, the six-fold symmetry is a good place to start.

The pattern instructions that follow work in two phases. The first follows steps 1–12 to build a single pajarita motif. It starts with a central circle on a line and builds six circles of equal radius around it. This forms the motif’s foundation, a particular construction that has been referred to as a “Creation Diagram,” a name that relates the pattern to the six days that God created the world, as told in both the Qur’an and the Bible. This Creation Diagram leads to the three-tipped pajarita swirl. The second phase follows steps 13–18. This phase arranges, around the Creation Diagram’s ring of seven circles, rings of 12 and then 18 circles. From this a tessellated trio of pajaritas can be produced. Like all Islamic geometric patterns, the pattern can be extended further—as the artisans of the Alhambra alicatado did—by repeating the steps or, more easily, by using tracing paper to transfer key points.

**1.** Start from a horizontal line. Draw a circle with Radius R1, approximately 1/6 the width of page.

**2.** Draw a second circle with the same radius to the right, on the circumference of the first circle.

**3.** Draw a third circle with the same radius to the left, also on the circumference of first circle.

**4.** Add four additional circles, evenly arranged around the first circle, as shown.

**5.** This is a classic Creation Diagram of six circles around one.

**6.** Again using Radius R1, but with a bolder line, find the six points shown and use them to draw the contours of the curvilinear pajarita motif. This can be filled with a solid color, as shown in step 10.

**7.** To produce pajaritas with inset hexagons or six-pointed stars, sketch in the three-fold radial axes and add a new proportioning circle in the center, Radius R2.

**8.** Place a hexagon in the center proportioning circle from step 7.

**9.** Alternatively or using a second parjarita (tracing paper can be used now), connect each point in the proportioning circle from step 7 with two points on either side. This forms a hexagram, or a six-pointed star. Outline its contour as shown.

**10, 11, 12:** Solid, hexagon and hexagram variations of a finished pajarita motif that can be colored or cut out.

**13.** Build the Creation Diagram per step 5.

**14.** Add an expansion ring of circles, each Radius R1, using center points as shown.

**15.** Add a second expansion ring using Radius R1, using center points as shown.

**16.** Refer to step 6 to outline three pajarita motifs. Note their relationship to the expanded Creation Diagram.

**17.** Using a central proportioning circle, Radius R2, as in step 7, add radial divisions to produce hexagrams and/or hexagons both within and between the pajaritas.

**18.** Finish the tessellation with optional tones. Remember that the choices of colors are up to the artist! Note how the pattern is now ready to be expanded further—infinitely—on six sides.