After spending over a month in Morocco and southern Spain, one of the things that stood out to me was how much intricate detail was put into the floors, walls and ceilings of many buildings. The finer details were typically reserved for palaces and larger homes, but even smaller guest houses would often have beautiful entrances and tiled walls. The Alhambra, a Moorish palace in Granada, has some of the most beautiful and detailed tile work in the world. Most of the designs include colorful, repeated patterns and arabesques, which are both commonly found in Islamic art. Some of the patterns in the Alhambra include rosettes (round flower patterns), tessellations (repeated shape patterns), and knots (braided patterns). For a more in-depth analysis of the common patterns in the Alhambra, click here.
MC Escher, the Dutch graphic artist known for his thought-provoking and mathematically-inspired designs, visited the Alhambra when he was in his early twenties. The repeated patterns he saw inspired much of his work, such as the tessellation drawings seen here.
To read more about the Alhambra and its history, see my post on Granada… and Wikipedia.