Arabesque

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Stone relief with arabesques in the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus
Border decoration to an Ottoman miniature, early 16th century

Arabesque is an artistic decoration. It uses "surface decorations based on... interlacing foliage, tendrils" or plain lines.[1] Another definition is "Foliate ornament, used in the Islamic world, typically using leaves... combined with spiralling stems".[2]

Arabesques are usually of a single design which can be 'tiled' or repeated as many times as desired.[3]

The term "arabesque" is used as a technical term by art historians for decoration in Islamic art from about the 9th century onwards, and European decorative art from the Renaissance onwards. Note that Islamic geometric patterns are a different style from arabesques.

References[change | change source]

  1. Fleming, John & Honour, Hugh 1977. Dictionary of the decorative arts. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-670-82047-4.
  2. Rawson, Jessica 1984. Chinese ornament: the lotus and the dragon. British Museum Publications, p236. ISBN 0-7141-1431-6
  3. Robinson, Francis 1996. The Cambridge illustrated history of the Islamic world. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66993-1.
Decorative panel from Abbasid Samarra, 9th century