Girih Tiles

Girih tiles are a set of five tiles that were used in the creation of tiling patterns for decoration of buildings in Islamic architecture. They are known to have been used since about the year 1200 and their arrangements found significant improvement starting with the Darb-i Imam shrine in Isfahan in Iran built in 1453.

The five shapes of the tiles are:

  • a regular decagon with ten interior angles of 144°;
  • an elongated (irregular convex) hexagon with interior angles of 72°, 144°, 144°, 72°, 144°, 144°;
  • a bow tie (non-convex hexagon) with interior angles of 72°, 72°, 216°, 72°, 72°, 216°;
  • a rhombus with interior angles of 72°, 108°, 72°, 108°; and
  • a regular pentagon with five interior angles of 108°.

All sides of these figures have the same length; and all their angles are multiples of 36° (π/5). All of them, except the pentagon, have bilateral (reflection) symmetry through two perpendicular lines. Some have additional symmetries. Specifically, the decagon has tenfold rotational symmetry (rotation by 36°); and the pentagon has fivefold rotational symmetry (rotation by 72°).

Girih are lines (strapwork) which decorate the tiles. The tiles are used to form girih patterns, from the Persian word گره, meaning "knot". In most cases, only the girih (and other minor decorations like flowers) are visible rather than the boundaries of the tiles themselves. The girih are piece-wise straight lines which cross the boundaries of the tiles at the center of an edge at 54° (3π/10) to the edge. Two intersecting girih cross each edge of a tile. Most tiles have a unique pattern of girih inside the tile which are continuous and follow the symmetry of the tile. However, the decagon has two possible girih patterns one of which has only fivefold rather than tenfold rotational symmetry.

Read more about Girih Tiles:  Periodic or Aperiodic?, Mathematics of Girih Tilings

Other articles related to "girih tiles, tiles, girih":

Peter Lu - Girih Tiles and Quasicrystals in Medieval Islamic Architecture
... work involves his discovery of the girih tiles, a set of fundamental geometric tiles used to create a wide range of patterns in medieval Islamic architecture ... method that could have been used by common workers to create extremely complicated patterns using girih tiles, and by identifying a medieval example of quasicrystalline patterns ...
Girih Tiles - Mathematics of Girih Tilings
... University published a paper in the journal Science suggesting that girih tilings possessed properties consistent with self-similar fractal quasicrystalline tilings such as Penrose tilings (pres ... for the artisans who fabricated the tiles, and the shapes of the girih tiles then would dictate how they could be combined into large patterns ...

Famous quotes containing the word tiles:

    I learn immediately from any speaker how much he has already lived, through the poverty or the splendor of his speech. Life lies behind us as the quarry from whence we get tiles and copestones for the masonry of today. This is the way to learn grammar. Colleges and books only copy the language which the field and the work-yard made.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)