Home > Rug, Kelim, Soumak, Textile Post Archive >Turkmen Gul Format as quasicrystalline pattern?
Author:David R E Hunt
email: david112460@msn.com
Mon, Feb 26th, 2007 04:18:29 AM
Topic: Turkmen Gul Format as quasicrystalline pattern?

http://www.davidrehunt.com/99-tiles-1.jpg The above photo headlines an article in the Harvard University Gazette, "Medieval Islamic architecture presages 20th century mathematics", regarding the recent publication of an article in Science journal by Peter J. Lu at Harvard University and Paul J. Steinhardt at Princeton University. The introduction of the Harvard Gazette article states that "Intricate decorative tilework found in medieval architecture across the Islamic world appears to exhibit advanced decagonal quasicrystal geometry - a concept discovered by Western mathematicians and physicists only in the 1970s and 1980s. If so, medieval Islamic application of this geometry would predate Western mastery by at least half a millennium" and leads me to suspect that these "gihir tiling" and quasicrystalline tiling could be analogous to the process by which Turkmen weavers construct their repeating guls; or even better,that this tiling is an integral component of the decorative heritage which is reflected in turkmen weaving. The links to the articles are as follows. http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2007/03.01/99-tiles.html http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/315/5815/1049d http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7544360 Dave

Author: John Lewis
email: john_lewis@mac.com
Mon, Feb 26th, 2007 04:18:29 AM

I do not believe that turkmen weavers had any mathematical concept of symmetry and it has always interested me that where one thinks there is a symmetry (in the entire piece), on closer inspection it is broken. Individual motifs show symmetry but it is always simple e.g. a reflection Symmetry is part of a branch of mathematics - group theory. Here is an article that describes the symmetry referred to in the original post - http://www.mathcs.emory.edu/~jzich/files/quasicrystals-3.pdf. To me it is more credible that turkmen weavers had a "library" of motifs and frameworks and applied them in fairly predictable, but sometimes inventive, ways. I have never seen any evidence of complex symmetries in turkmen weavings but we live to be proved wrong. Who is this Peter Smith character?

Author: Cevat Kanig
email:
Mon, Feb 26th, 2007 12:06:00 AM

Hi Dave, I think geometry and symmetry were discovered before all civilizations that we know. In nature, geometry and symmetry had always existed, people just discovered them by looking at them, and they just copied what they see. And they just discovered the things that have been created. They just transform the forms of them by rotating and repeating them. The artist of the universe created magnificent and unbelievable arts. Art is a creation of subjective and objective forms that satisfies our feelings and thoughts. Below is woodwork of Geometric and symmetric form was discovered by Hittites Civilization 800 BC. http://www.cevatkanig.com/hittit.htm

Author: David Hunt
email:
Sun, Feb 25th, 2007 10:40:52 PM

Hi Rk Yes, the Turkmen gul format is not a quasicrystalline pattern, and any similarities could well be of a colollary nature. Interesting that this parallels Peter J. Lou's assertion that they are not sure of the nature of the relationship between the patterns and their underlying mathematics.There is a relationship, but what is it's nature? Did Islamic architects understand the math involved in their designs? This is the big question for Lou and Steinhardt. Aside from general interest, my purpose in posting this article lies in the fact that I am pleased with the way it meshes with this "theory" of mine, which states that a large scale medallion, a star and line "girih" pattern, had it's origins in the early Islamic period. During the course of the expansion of the Islamic sphere, it seems to have been taken with them to those regions in which Islam took root, and to this day evident as an expression of artistic heratige. The appearence of these more complex quasicrystaline patterns, derived from the "girih" pattern roughly correlates with the time frame in which the (believed) Turkmen rugs of the period moved from a more lattice oriented design, the Lotto rugs, to the more familiar (and constant) gul format.This also roughly coincides with the decline of the Timurids and the isolation of the Turkmen, resulting in stasis and the resulting constancy of the gul format. Ditto for the migration of the Turkmen to a more eastern location.. There are some similarities, between the quasicryastalline pattern and both gul and gul format, in that some guls seem composed of units roughly approximating these "girih tiles", and the grid like gul layout seems a rough approximation of a quasicrystalline pattern.But who can say, I don't presume to know for a fact that this is what transpired. Now, Mr.Smith, there is an adage here in the States which makes reference to "the stove calling the kettle black',so please. I enjoyed my time at ****. I have been going through much change as of late and have been contentious at times, but nothing egregious. I realize that some of the parties here have been at odds, but I am not a partisan of this conflic, nor do I intend to be. Dave

Author: jc
email:
Sun, Feb 25th, 2007 12:36:19 PM

David:

Yes, RK saw mention of this article when it first hit the street and read it with interest at that time.

However, the "similarities" "certain Islamic" design formats and patterns maintain with the complex structures this article describes can not, at least in our estimation, prove anything or, in a micro-sense, help us to better comprehend the originations or, more significantly, the meanings these patterns held way back when.

It does provoke some interesting corollaries but does it really explain anything for us?

RK seems to feel it doesn't and, in the final analysis, this is but one more instance of the unexplainable similarities scientific research can sometimes discover but not fully explain.

Author: Peter Smith
email:
Sun, Feb 25th, 2007 11:59:15 AM

RK Replies:

Ahh, Mr Smith again.

Hey there, clown, how about following your own advice? Go stay over in professor price's romper-room where the likes of you belong.

================================

Good! A dope and a doped discussingÖ Thatís gonna be funny! But stay here, please, and donít annoy us anymore on T_U_R_K_O_T_E_K.

Author: David Hunt
email:
Sun, Feb 25th, 2007 11:58:02 AM

Hi John Yes,the motives may be of Shamanism, but the article is a reference to the geometry of the patterns, not their symbolism. Dave

Author: John Lewis
email: john_lewis@mac.com
Sun, Feb 25th, 2007 07:42:59 AM

Is there very much direct islamic influence in turkmen weavings? Mostly to me, turkmen motifs look to be shamanistic in origin.

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