THE BEAUTY OF ORIENTAL CARPETS can be approached not only in terms of art and mathematics, but also within the contexts of Islamic art and spirituality. Historically, throughout the Islamic world from Spain to Indonesia, patterns appear in architecture and interiors to organize space and to beautify the built environment. All patterns reflect the pure beauty of numbers, considered to be of divine origin in Islamic doctrine. And by their very nature, patterns exhibit multiplicity as expressions of unity, which is an attribute of God. Patterns in Oriental carpets may thus be seen as expressive of a world view in which multiplicity exists in relation to the unity of all existence.
Congregational Mosque in Isfahan, Iran (detail of mosaic tile).
Photo by Carol Bier, 1975.