Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Inside Dome of the Imam Mosque of Shah Abbas I (1588-1629) (Masjid-e Jam 'e Abbasi) in Isfahon, Persia. He commissioned its construction in 1612 and it was completed in 1638 nine years after he died. But he did live to see completion of the enamel-tile mosaic dome which probably took most of the construction time. I couldn't find out the size of the tiles (there is no real scale to the photos) but am still looking.
This was the first capital of Iran, before Tehran, and it's mosques are considered the most beautiful and elaborate in the world. Some were damaged during the senseless war with Iraq in the 80's but fortunately most still exist intact. I have read that 94% of those in Teheran are poets, or at least consider themselves such; I don't know about what the 1.3 million in Isfahon consider themselves but I suspect a similar feature. What a wonderful aspect to be known for.

Iran is opening up to tourism apparently, and from Persepolis to Isfahon would be a trip to experience. see here

A Tibetan Buddhist sand painting. Unlike the structure above, this construction took about 6 days and 16 monks to complete and is destroyed shortly afterward to indicate the impermanence and temporary nature of life. I am impressed by the symmetry and mandala-like nature of each effort; and the yin-yang nature of the permanence of the Mosque and the impermance of the sand-painting.
I am also impressed with the idea that I can sit here in my cushy chair and observe each extreme of the possibilities!


  1. Such beauty, enough to take one's breath away! Thanks for the inspiration...

  2. I understand the point about the monks destroying the sand painting but thank the maker of the universe or whomever for cameras. calling it beautiful is and understatement of the highest order.

    As for buildings I have been about as dumb as a rock as far as being able to appreciate them. But even I can see the beauty in the mosque.

  3. So beautiful, so inspirational. Thanks for sharing this with us. Definitely a country to visit.

  4. amazing works of art... mandala seems such a universal form

  5. Love the Persian tile dome - as you would probably guess I think it resembles some kind of fractal.

    Speaking of the impermanence of sand mandalas... a month ago I made a drawing of an angel-like being flying through a vortex toward a light. Two days ago my dog ate it. LOL Several times now my dog has taught me that I should not be attached to material items. :)

  6. I'd love a tour of a mosque.
    What an interesting fact about the poets - I did not know this.
    I quite agree with the monks and their interpretation of life. Their sand paintings are incredibly beautiful.

  7. mmmm..... beautiful.
    i especially love the mosaic!
    funny, i scrolled through millions of spirals today ...

    i am reminded of the gorgeous mosaic ceilings of the Alhambra in grenada, spain; the mysteries of the mandala;
    and the love of discovery.


  8. When the Dalai Lama visited Canada, I watched a sand painting being built. It was on TV, mind, and so I did not get to see it up close, by my! how beautiful and so fleeting.

    The impermanence of it brought the beauty to the forefront; it brought home to me the idea that I must enjoy and be aware of the beauty that is in us and our World, as it can disappear so quickly.

    I am so thankful those buildings were spared the travails of war.

  9. how extraordinary and beautiful

    I don't know that I'd find the patience, knowing it was going to be destroyed

    tho, on the other hand, I spend hours and patience on the garden for beauty which is quite fleeting

  10. interesting about the poets. when i was in canada i had iranian friends though i did not know much about them being poetic but i like their songs. as i did not understand a word of the songs so i did ask and they did say those are quite poetic songs talking about women, the weather, a city, farmers, sailing and all.

  11. if all comparisons in the world lead to such beautiful thoughts as yours, there would be no wars ever...

    think all those aritsts in Iran wanted to eternalize one thought:

    all is one... all beings are engaged in an eternal dance... the only dance there is...

    and they wanted to remind us of this fact every moment of our life...
    that's why all those symmetrical patterns and forms were worked into buildings... carpets... clothing... vessels... etc...

    that's just my impression of my land's art...

    in Iran, Isfahan has got a second name: half of the world...

    /esfahaan, nesfe jahaan/

    love the way you connect our souls and our thoughts together...


  12. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing a world I am unfamiliar with.