The Sky Within: Mathematical Aesthetics of Persian Dome Interiors

Reza Sarhangi
Bridges: Mathematical Connections in Art, Music, and Science (1999)
Pages 145–156


In the absence of metal beams, domes had been an essential part of the architecture of official and religious buildings around the world for several centuries. Domes were used to bring the brick structure of the building to conclusion. Based on their spherical constructions, they provided strength to the building foundations and also made the structure more resistant against snow and wind. Besides bringing a sense of strength and protection, the interior designs and decorations resemble sky, heaven, and what a person may expect to see beyond "seven skies." Some contemporary religious buildings or memorials still incorporate domes, no longer out of necessity, but rather based on tradition or for esthetical purposes. Yet the quality of the interior decoration of these new domes is diminishing. The aim of this article is to study the spatial effects created by dome interior designs and to provide information about construction of such a design. Decorations in dome interiors demonstrate art forms such as stucco, tessellated work, ceramics, paintings, mirror work, and brick pattern construction, as well as combinations of these forms.