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Later on more complicated patterns combining more than one geometry in a single pattern will be illustrated.
These next two examples of artefacts exhibiting Arabic geometry have been included even though they are less complicated in their underlying geometry and far more crudely assembled than that above.
Again the pattern is formed by the use of geometrically arranged ribs set on the same plane, containing foliate decoration, but here with contrasting materials used to emphasise the distinction between the two characters of Islamic design – lineal geometry and foliate decoration.
At its simplest, Arab scholarship enlarged our comprehension of underlying geometries, and Muslim craftsmen, not all of them Arabs, relied on this body of knowledge in producing their characteristic fields of tiles, mosaic, plaster and wooden patterns that were applied to elements of their buildings.
Generally they are seen as two-dimensional surface treatments, though there are examples of three-dimensional work in many areas of the Islamic world, particularly with the .
While many regard Islamic designs as being based on strict geometrical constructions, there are also Islamic designs that are formed with floral devices and where the governing geometry might not be immediately obvious.
This first illustration is of a plate with a beautifully articulated design of a ship, the rim being very crudely broken into four panels creating a degree of stability for the extremely mobile centre design.