Thursday, November 16, 2017

Proves the rule

The poster for our event featured a detail of the Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz, a wonder in many ways. I was struck that, in its details, it's full of variations (at first I though inconsistencies) you don't at first notice. The trapezoids surrounding the central area, for instance, have mosaic tiles of all different colors, in many different constellations - though, again, it's not something the eye at first notices; nor is the larger harmony diminished by it once you have noticed it. I immediately remembered John Ruskin's celebration of the Gothic for just such diversity in unity - surely irrelevant here. (Though this mosaic was made only in the 1930s under french supervision.) A helpful friend reminded me of the deliberate "errors" included in Navajo sand paintings, and hand-knit sweaters - errors that betoken truth. But as I was looking through the powerpoints from Tuesday's roundtable again today, I noticed another variation which can only have been deliberate, this in the image with which my Islamist colleague Z began her talk. Can you find it? (Hint: there's just one, and it's the most perfect of colors.)

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