geometry in islamic art: pinwheel activity...geometry in islamic art: pinwheel activity activity...

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Post on 25-Jun-2020




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  •  Geometry in Islamic Art:  

    Pinwheel Activity         

     Activity Overview  Participants will utilize five provided templates to create a pinwheel of shapes represented in Islamic art.   The interactive wheel will display: 

    ● How different shapes share similar attributes (such as axes of symmetry).  

    ● How complex shapes are formed by both the addition and subtraction of simple forms (circles, squares, and triangles). 

    ● How the combination of shapes represented in Islamic art can form tessellations. 

    Materials: Four Shape Templates, One Basic Template, Colored Pencils or Crayons, Scissors, One Brass Fastener. 

  • Step 1: 

    Cut out the basic template (this will become the square base of the pinwheel). Then cut out the following four shape templates: 

    ● Circle  ● Square ● Eight-pointed star ● Cruciform 


    Step 2: 

    Once all five templates are cut out, color each shape using a different colored pencil or crayon.  

    The contrasting colors will help participants visualize the intersection of different shapes and lines of symmetry.

  • Step 3: 

    Hole-punch all five shapes at the center and stack the shapes in the following order: 

    ● Basic template (Bottom) ● Circle ● Eight-pointed star ● Square ● Cruciform (Top) 



    Finally, use a brass fastener to join the drawings (at the center) and experiment with the rotating form.  

    Step 4: 




    Share your pinwheel with the Shangri La community! 




  • Reflection:  

    Consider Process: 

    ● What did you notice while creating your pinwheel? 

    ● What was the most difficult part? 

    Connecting to Geometric Principles: 

    ● What do some of the shapes on your pinwheel have in common? 

    ● What can you learn by rotating the shapes on the wheel? 

    ● What other shapes could you make using the blank template?  

    ● Do you think you could tessellate some of these shapes? Which ones? Why? 

    Connecting to the Collection at Shangri La: 

    ● Do you think Islamic art is strictly made up of the same four shapes you created?  

    ● What other shapes and forms can one find in Islamic art? 

    ● Visit our website and see what other shapes and forms you can find in our collection! 


  • Doris Duke Foundation Islamic Art collection featured in order of appearance: 

    Embroidered and Appliquéd Cotton Tent Panel (Khayamiya), Ottoman, Mamluk Revival. 19th century. Cotton. Object Number: 83.23. Overall: 153 x 68 1/2 in. (388.6 x 174cm). Carved Wooden Doors with Tessellated Geometric Motifs, Ottoman. 19th century. Wood, Polychrome Pigments. Object Number: 64.10a-b. Other (a): 88 3/4 x 20 1/8 in. (225.4 x 51.1cm) Other (b): 88 1/2 x 19 5/8 in. (224.8 x 49.8cm). 

    Woman Smoking a Hookah, British India. 19th century. Glass, Pigments. Object Number: 46.21.   


    Additional Resources:  

    ● From the Metropolitan Museum of Art: ○


    ● From the School of Islamic Geometric Design ○ 

    ● From Eric Broug: ○


    ● From Joumana Medlej ○ 



  • Activity Templates: 

    Blank Template 



  • Circle Template 





  • Square Template 





  • Eight-Pointed Star Template 





  • Cruciform Template