Skip to content
BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access October 18, 2021

A study on the construction technology of the Seljuk minarets in Isfahan with focus on their geometric brick pattern

  • Ali Safaeianpour and Nima Valibeig EMAIL logo


Using decorative elements is an inseparable aspect of Iranian architecture. Architectural ornaments in many buildings, including the minarets, represent the architect’s craftsmanship. As such, the minarets in Isfahan have different types of brickwork ornamentations, such as 90-degree herringbone (Khofteh-Rasteh), basket weave bond (Hasiri), and other complex types. Additionally, the highest minarets are usually constructed in a truncated conical shape to reduce their overall weight and ameliorate their stability against the wind, and lateral forces. Therefore, while the geometric integrity of brickwork patterns should be maintained, all the ornamentations are applied on a shrinking surface area. However, the practical solutions for the construction processes in these structures haven’t been sufficiently investigated. Hence, this study aims to explore the methods of brickwork projection on the minarets and analyse the changes in girih patterns at different height levels. Accordingly, after surveying the selected single minarets in Isfahan, they were modeled using drafting software applications and then analysed.


[1] Valibeig N, Tavakoli S, Khodadadi N. Form and Geometry in Decorative Tile Work in Khayyatha Mosque, Isfahan. Europ Online J Nat Soc Sci: Proc. 2015;3(4):534-546.Search in Google Scholar

[2] Özdural A. Mathematics and arts: Connections between theory and practice in the medieval Islamic world. Historia Math. 2000;27(2):171-201.10.1006/hmat.1999.2274Search in Google Scholar

[3] Balilian Asl L, Sattar-Zadeh D, Khorshidian S, Nouri M. The Study of the Characteristics of Geometrical Knots in Islamic Decorations from the Viewpoint of Fractal Geometry. J ICAS: Iran Islamic City Studies. 2011;2(6):83-95.Search in Google Scholar

[4] Nourian Y, Kasraei MH. A Comparison of Traditional Knot to Contemporary Islamic Patterns;Focusing on their Applications in Contemporary Architecture. Cult Islamic Arch Urban J. 2017;2(3):63-75.Search in Google Scholar

[5] Bodner BL. Constructing and Classifying Designs of al-Andalus. In Meeting Alhambra, ISAMA œ Bridges Conf Proc; 2003.Search in Google Scholar

[6] Broug E. Islamic geometric patterns London: Thames & Hudson;2008.Search in Google Scholar

[7] Bakirer Ö. A study on the use of brickbonds in Anatolian Seljuk architecture. Life. 1932;72:742-747.Search in Google Scholar

[8] Dimitri. R, L.De Lorenzis, G.Zavarise. Numerical study on the dynamic behavior of masonry columns and arches on buttresses with the discrete element method. Eng Struct. 2011;33(12):3172-3188.10.1016/j.engstruct.2011.08.018Search in Google Scholar

[9] Samanian S. Islamic Geometric Patterns: The 3rd Semester Technical and Professional Training in Carpet Design Tehran: Cultural-Artistic Institute of Shaqayeq Rousta Pub.; 2001.Search in Google Scholar

[10] Bodner BL. The Eleven–Pointed Star Polygon Design of the Topkapı Scroll. Proc. Bridges: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture, (Banff, 2009), eds. CS Kaplan and R. Sarhangi, Tarquin Books. 2009:147-154.Search in Google Scholar

[11] Özkar M, Lefford N. Modal relationships as stylistic features: Examples from Seljuk and Celtic patterns. J Amer Soc Inf Sci Technol. 2006;57(11):1551-1560.10.1002/asi.20431Search in Google Scholar

[12] Reis-Zadeh M, Mofid H. Reviving Forgotten Arts: Principles of Traditional Architecture in Iran Narrated by Hossein Lorzadeh Tehran: Mola;2012.Search in Google Scholar

[13] Bonner J. Three traditions of self-similarity in fourteenth and fifteenth century Islamic geometric ornament. In Meeting Alhambra, Isama-Bridges Conference Proceedings. University of Granada; 2003:1-12.Search in Google Scholar

[14] Pelletier M, Bonner J. A 7-Fold System for Creating Islamic Geometric Patterns Part 2: Contemporary Expression. Triangle. 2012;360:2N.Search in Google Scholar

[15] Saheb-Mohammadian M, Faramarzi S. A Comparison between Quasiperiodic Order of Shah-Gereh and the Quasicrystal Structure of Silicon. Honar-ha-ye-Ziba: Honar-ha-ye-Tajassomi [Fine Arts-Visual Arts]. 2012:;4(5):69–80.Search in Google Scholar

[16] Cromwell PR, Beltrami E. The whirling kites of Isfahan: geometric variations on a theme. Math Intell. 2011;33(3):84-93.10.1007/s00283-011-9225-4Search in Google Scholar

[17] Bonner J. Consultancy, Bonner Design. Creating non-systematic Islamic geometric patterns with complex combinations of star forms. Proc. Bridges: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture and Culture, (Towson, 2012), eds. R.Bosch, D. McKenna and R. Sarhangi, Tessellations Publishing, Phoenix; 2012:593-598.Search in Google Scholar

[18] Kaplan CS, Salesin H. Islamic star patterns in absolute geometry. ACM Trans Graph (TOG). 2004;23(2):97-119.10.1145/990002.990003Search in Google Scholar

[19] Dunham D. Hyperbolic islamic patterns–a beginning. Bridges. 2001:247-254.Search in Google Scholar

[20] Hamzaoğlu B, Özkar M. Geometric Patterns as Material Things: The Making of Seljuk Patterns on Curved Surfaces. Bridges: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Education, Culture, Jyvaskylla, Finland; 2016:331-336.Search in Google Scholar

[21] Heydari MM. A Study on Minaret. Honar-ha-ye Ziba [Fine Arts]. 2008;34:49-58.Search in Google Scholar

[22] Saoud R. Muslim Architecture under Seljuk Patronage (1038-1327). Foundation for Science, Technology, and Civilization (FSTC). in Google Scholar

[23] Ghalenoei M. Investigating The Similarity of Sabzevar’s Jonban Minaret with Isfahan’s Jonban Minaret.” Memari-Shenasi [Architecture] Magazine. Memari-Shenasi [Architecture] Magazine. 2018;3:1-11.Search in Google Scholar

[24] Motaal MA. Effect of piles on the seismic response of mosques minarets. Ain Shams Eng J. 2014;5(1):29-40.10.1016/j.asej.2013.06.003Search in Google Scholar

[25] Haciefendioğlu K, Birinci F. Stochastic dynamic response of masonry minarets subjected to random blast and earthquake - induced ground motions. Struct Design Tall Spec Build. 2011;20(6):669–78.10.1002/tal.552Search in Google Scholar

[26] Azad M. A Review of Three Important Seljuk Minarets: Chehel Dokhtaran in Isfahan, Tarikhaneye in Damghan, Jame Mosque in Saveh. Iranian Arch Mag. 2013;5:39–56.Search in Google Scholar

[27] Pope AU. Persian architecture; 1969.Search in Google Scholar

[28] Godard A. Les Anciennes Mosquees de l’Iran [Ath’ar-â-Iran]: Arthaud; 1962.Search in Google Scholar

[29] Khodadadi Dehkordi. Iranian Seljuk Architecture with an Emphasis on Decorative Brickwork of the Qazvin Kharaqan Towers. J History Cult Art Res. 2017;5(4):384-394.10.7596/taksad.v5i4.613Search in Google Scholar

[30] Shekofteh A, Ahmadi H, Oudbashi O. Seljuk Brickwork Decorations and Their Sustainability in Khwarezmid and Ilkhanid Decorations. Iran Univ Sci & Technol. 2015;3(1):84-104.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2020-12-23
Accepted: 2021-03-09
Published Online: 2021-10-18

© 2022 Ali Safaeianpour et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Downloaded on 9.2.2023 from
Scroll Up Arrow