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027 - Sufi Sanctuary

8 + 6 Pt pattern on the Khanqah portal of the Sufi Shaykh Abd al-Samad Isfahani's shrine complex in Natanz.
Original watercolour on 300 g/m². 42 x 56 cm

Process portfolio

A visceral sacredness pervades this Ilkhanid shrine complex and muqarna-vaulted mausoleum of Shaykh Abd-al Samad of the Suharwardi order. It was built between 1304 and 1307 by Zayn-al-Din Mastari, the vizier of the Ilkhanid ruler Öljaitü. For 2000 years, this vast plane tree has provided shade and a resting place for visiting Sufis who, like me, have gazed in awe and amazement at the turquoise and cobalt glazed tile patterns and inlays on the portal of the Khanqah before leaving behind all their worldly belongings and attachments and entering the sacred sanctuary of the ‘real world of existence’. Inner noise and outer distractions, past and future seem to melt away. All that remains is presence of spiritual self. This pattern seems to express the eternal flow of life that courses through all things.

The geometry follows Alan Adams’ analysis and layout (2016). The palette of turquoise, cobalt and white reflects the original in situ tiled mosaics.

Thursday, 30 March 2017