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Ceiling of the Audience Hall - Ali Qapu Palace - Isfahan, Iran

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Ali Qapu Palace (Persian: عالی‌ قاپو, ‘Ālī Qāpū) or the Grand Ālī Qāpū is an imperial palace in Isfahan, Iran. It is located on the western side of the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, opposite to Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and had been originally designed as a vast portal entrance to the grand palace which stretched from the Naqsh-e Jahan Square to the Chahar Baq Boulevard. The palace served as the official residence of Persian Emperors of the Safavid dynasty. UNESCO inscribed the Palace and the Square as a World Heritage Site due to its cultural and historical importance. The palace is forty-eight meters high and there are six floors, each accessible by a difficult spiral staircase. In the sixth floor, Music Hall, deep circular niches are found in the walls, having not only aesthetic value, but also acoustic. Ālī Qāpū is regarded as the best example of Safavid architecture and a symbol of Iran's Islamic heritage.

It was built in seven stages over a hundred year period. Begun in 1590 AD, Shah Abbas, here for the first time, celebrated the Nowruz (Iranian New Year) of 1006 AH / 1597 AD.

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  1. donns5:42
  2. Berkeleyborn5:55
  3. Haze19528:24
  4. eagleboi10:58
  5. ElvisBanana12:31


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Welcome back to you Haze, with a hug.


Many thanks my friend.


Thank you Donna for your kind comments. Have a great start to your week ahead.

This puzzle is a real treat -- to hear about the history and to see the ceiling art in detail and to have it explained for me and also to sit in on the discussion between ElvisBanana and Audrey. Many thanks to you.


It's good you're happy! And with those eight decades, you really do have wisdom. My folks are in their eighties and are doing great. (I still think you should write your autobiography. You've had an interesting life!)


I certainly have been blessed. . .and now with extraordinary memories as I now claim eight decades of evolutionary wisdom. . . or not. Just old and happy.


That's just mind-boggling! To be involved in such a monumental project must have been very fulfilling! You seem to have lived a fascinating life. Not many go from birth in Berkeley to helping create mosaics and domes to be used in Medina and Morocco! I'm so impressed. You should write an autobiography!!!


There was no resource, curriculum piece like it. I knew I couldn't create it. . . I'm a historian. . . quasi art historian? I knew it needed to be created by an artist working in the field. When I met Sylvia Godlas, she was principally doing ceramics, but had also become a lead person on the team to create 26 new domes on the Prophet's mosque Medina. She worked with artisans in Morocco to create the finished product. I gave her the task of creating something I could take and talk about to teachers. . .a few slides and commentary I could understand. Slowly, slowly over about a year, the pieces became more and more complex. Finally we saw that we had a publishable work and this became her task. It was very well received. . . standing-room only when she and presented it to social studies teachers across the US and abroad. Her domes, by the way, involve not cut-tile mosaic but carved wood mosaic - still incorporating those five major characteristics!


Wow! That's fantastic, Berkeleyborn! What an interesting field of study to have in your personal history. You obviously know about more than just the historical context and the significance of the art, but also how it's made! That's really impressive!


I used to give full-day teacher workshops on Islamic Art. . . and one day was getting into the nitty gritty, not just lecture and slides. So somewhere I've got my little bag of such tile pieces and everyone can manipulate them and see the placed face down (the back side is rather cone shaped. So there's plenty of room for that plaster to fill. We investigate the 5 characteristic of Islamic Art (5 major characteristic) and then employ one we each choose using stencils and fabric paint, on fabric. Haven't done it for a long time. . . all based on Sylvia Godlas's work "Doorways to Islamic Art" (there's nothing else out there with hands-on activities, slides and transparencies.


Wow, @Berkeleyborn ! You know quite a bit about the process. That's impressive! Where did you learn all of that?


Jim and ElvisBanana. . . thank you both for your comments. Yes, the labor is something to consider. The artist draws the designs and artisans hand cut the tile mosaic pieces using small hammers and leaning the the large tile piece against a stone for support. Each artisan will spend the day working on a single shape and tossing them in a basket such for his pieces. . .while others are cutting other shapes. They are then laid out on the floor FACE DOWN (so you must remember the design which you are not able to see as you work. Then the grout is carefully poured over the pieces, slowly so as to not move them. When dry, the large piece is put into its place on the wall or ceiling. I am only speaking about the flat surfaces. . . as to curved surfaces - ceilings and columns - I am uncertain.
So glad that your viewing of this (and not in person) has you pondering the work and the workers involved.


Thanks, @Berkeleyborn !

It's mind-boggling to imagine all the work that went into making this ceiling! From the design to the manufacturing of the pieces to the application of them... Wow! Everybody involved had a tough job to do. Infinitely more difficult than making a typical ceiling in a modern, Western building!


Beautiful workmanship here, hard labor and dedication obvious. TFS Audrey.

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