A Comparative Study of Decorative Patterns in the Blue Mosques of Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan and Sultan Ahmed in Turkey

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Analytical History and Comparative Studies of Islamic Art, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Associate Professor of Creative Arts (in Painting), Department of Painting, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate Professor of Art anthropology. Theatre Department of faculty member of Art, Tehran Branch, Iran.


Problem statement: Decoration is the most valuable part of Islamic Art. Decoration can reflect the religious beliefs and manifestations of culture and art of the Islamic period and with all the ups and downs it has had over the centuries, it has been able to expand significantly and leave lasting works through unique and unified expressions in different climates. Among all kinds of architectural decorations, tiling and painting are the most attractive among Muslim architects and are considered the most important and effective factors in the beauty and grandeur of Islamic buildings.
Research objective: The main purpose of this study is to examine the decorative patterns of the two ‘Kabud’ (blue) mosques of ‘Mazar-e-Sharif’ and ‘Sultan Ahmed’. The unique decorations of the blue mosques are compared to clarify the similar and dissimilar items in the decorative designs used on the tiles, which are inspired by nature and ethnic and regional influences and are derived from the art of ancient Iran and Islamic Iran.
Research method: The results were obtained by comparing the decorative patterns of the two mentioned mosques using the descriptive and analytical methods with the help of the tables, written documents, and data analysis.
Conclusion: ​​The origin of decorative patterns in the two buildings is rooted in Iran, but each region has used its own mechanism and creativity to localize the designs. The tiling decorations used in the two blue mosques of ‘Sultan Ahmed’ and ‘Mazar-e-Sharif’ are simple, with emphasis on the commands of Islam, and are abstracted from nature in a vegetal, geometric and symbolic manner. Along with beautification, they have meanings and show order, multiplicity, and unity, and add to the coherence of the spiritual atmosphere of the environment.


Abdullahi, Y. & Embi, M. R. B. (2013). Evolution of Islamic geometric patterns. Frontiers of Architectural Research, 2(2), 243-251.
Blair, Sh. & Bloom, J. (2012). Islamic art and architecture. Tehran: Doroos.
Burckhardt, T. (1986). Honar-e Eslami, Zaban va Bayan [​​Islamic art, Language and Expression] (M. Rajabnia, Trans.). Tehran: Soroush.
Godfrey, G. (2009). History of Ottoman architecture (A. Ishraqi, Trans.). Tehran: Matn.
Hoag, J. & Martin, H. (2011). La grammire des styles dans l’archiecture Islamique [The grammar of styles in Islamic architecture] (P. Varjavand, Trans.). Tehran: Elmi Farhangi.
Jahanbakhsh, H. & Sheikhi Narani, H. (2015). The place of decorations and tile designs in Iranian mosques, Chideman, 4(11), 108-117.
Javadi, Sh. (1980). Ghobbe-Ye Sabz Ghadimi-tarin Nemune-ye Kashi-kari-ye Mo’araq-e Iran [Green dome, oldest ​Iranian mosaic work]. Honar-ha-ye-Ziba, (7), 12-20.
Javadi, Sh. (2009). Decoration, the main element of beauty​ in aesthetics of Iranian art​. Bagh-e Nazar, 2(3), 51-57.
Khorami, H. & Akbaripanah, M. (2017). Typology of decorations and tiling patterns in the architecture of Yazd domes​. In The Conference on Islamic and Historical Architecture and Urban Planning Research in Iran. Shiraz: Mo’asese-ye Rah-e Mehrazi.
Kiani, M. Y. (1997). Taz’inat-e Vavaste be Memari-ye Iran Dowre-ye Eslami [Decorations related to the architecture of the Islamic period]. Tehran: Miras-e Farhangi.
Pourshiravi, A. (2012). Decorative design in tile making art. Tehran: Yasavoli.
Shaterian, R. (2011). Analysis in the Architecture of Iranian Mosques. Tehran: Nopardazan.