The Arch That Never Sleeps

The Arch That Never Sleeps

Perhaps no culture mastered the design and use of the arch more than the Muslims. Inheriting earlier arch forms from the Greeks and the Romans, Muslims developed a variety of new shapes including the horseshoe, multi-foil, pointed and the ogee arches. The passion they had for this motif is due to the regularly mystical/symbolic meanings associated with it, as well as its functional advantages. Their architecture uses it as a major structural and decorative feature. The arch soon spread to all cultures progressively becoming a global architectural motif. This article explores the significance of the arch, Muslims' understanding of it, and its transfer to Europe.

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