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Mesopotamian and Greco-Roman forms are the two main sources for this style (600–1500), which makes use of symbolic geometry, using pure forms such as the circle and square. The major sources of decorative design are floral motifs, geometric shapes and Arabic calligraphy. The major building types are the mosque and the palace. Mosque plans are based on strongly symmetrical layouts featuring a rectangular courtyard with a prayer hall. Forms are repetitive and geometrical; the surfaces are richly decorated with glazed tiles, carved stucco and patterned brickwork, or bands of colored stonework. Plaster made from gypsum was carved and highly polished to give it a marble-like finish.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
Islamic architecture, Muslim architecture
Muslim architecture. (See illustration p. 548.)The architecture of the peoples of Islamic faith, also called Mohammedan, which from the 7th century onward expanded throughout the Mediterranean world and as far as India and China, and beyond, producing a variety of great regional works and local decorative styles. It is characterized by domes, horseshoe and round arches, tunnel vaults and richly decorated ornamentation which is geometric because of the ban on human and animal representation. Also see
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.