Echoes of Paradise: the Garden and Flora in Islamic Art
Flora and Arabesques: Visions of Eternity and Divine Unity
‘When flowers are not depicted naturalistically they are often used in fantastic arrangements.’
When flowers are not depicted naturalistically in Islamic art, they are often used in more or less fantastic arrangements intended to enhance the surface of a building or an artefact to their best advantage. Such floral compositions are often so intricate that they completely distract the eye from the physical characteristics of the object they decorate or, indeed, obscure them. Buildings and artefacts may appear as if draped with carved, painted or applied floral arrangements. Primarily decorative, such floral schemes still offer spiritual minds the opportunity to contemplate the eternal complexity of the Universe, which emanates and culminates in its Creator, Allah.
Great Mosque and Hospital of Divriği

Hegira 626/ AD 1228–9
Mengücekli Emirate
Divriği, Sivas, Turkey
The entire façade of this imposing structure is enhanced with fantastic floral designs, suggesting that a higher world can be found beyond its gate.