**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

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“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.”

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