Geometry of Virtual Spirals in Qalib Kari: Case study of tomb of Dai Anga
Mughal architecture has been widely recognized for the use of geometry in planning and physical design, but it has not formed the subject of vigorous research in Pakistan. Mughals utilized geometry for the construction of domes, Muqarnas and production of stalactite decoration locally known as Qalib Kari. This Qalib Kari or interior decorations utilized in Mughal era domes represent elaborate geometrical designs with interlacing stars. These ornamented domes of Mughal architecture are unique and represent the level of knowledge and dexterity attained in Mughal era. Nevertheless, there is inadequate historical information available about the decoration of the domes’ interiors, although this was a most sophisticated program. Studies on decorations on arches and domes show different arrangements of particular elements create diverse patterns. However, these researches overlooked one point that in some cases, this arrangement also creates the optical illusion of curvilinear pattern, like a flower, on the inner spherical surfaces of domes. The author intends to focus on this illusion of curvilinear pattern and the dome of Dai Anga’s tomb (d. 1672) is the case study for this purpose. There has not been any such research in this regard and this is a relatively unknown area of research. For this study, different geometrical curves were superimposed on drawing of dome’s decoration in Autodesk AutoCAD. This research will help in further investigations concerning geometrical knowledge of domical decoration by the maymars (architects) of that time.
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