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Last Updated: October 15, 1998
Persian Architecture is made up of eight traditional forms which taken together form the foundation on which it was based in the same way that music was once based on a finite number of notes. These are modulated by the use of colours and textures to leaven the surfaces and are held together in an overall construction akin to that of a sonata in which connexion leads to culmination through a transition space. To appreciate the skill of the architects and designers fully, it is necessary to have an appreciation of these fundamental concepts which are divided below, for convenience, under separate headings, although in the geometry and architecture of of the buildings they are woven together to present a seamless whole.
A full discussion of the underlying principles can be found in the paper entitled "The Alchemy of the Mosque" given to a joint meeting of the School of Architecture and the Islamic Society of the University of Manchester in 1997.
Most of the ideas and information in this section stem from the seminal study of the Sufi Tradition in Persian Architecture by Nader Ardalan and Laleh Bakhtiar entitled "The Sense of Unity" and published in 1973 by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, University of Chicago.