Lessons from Topkapi Scroll Advanced Pattern Designing Techniques

Course data in brief:

• Instructor: Prof. Dr. Miroslaw L. Majewski

• Course duration: 10 weeks, 2 hours per week + discussion time

• Difficulty: 4 out of 5. This is a challenging course.

• Course timing: Fridays, 7:00 PM Istanbul Time (use to get your time)

• Course starting day: February 5th

• Language: English and no translation (sorry)

• Group size: 25-30 persons, please register at the IDC web site.

Essential features of the course:

• International group

• Free of charge – there is no fee for this course

• All coursework in Geometer's Sketchpad - the essential software for teaching school geometry

• Focusing on concepts and understanding of pattern design

What should you expect?

This course will be focusing on selected advanced designs from Topkapi scroll. The scroll, although it is preserved in Topkapi Museum, it is a collection of Persian designs. Thus this course should be treated as a continuation of the current course on decagonal patterns in Persian art. This time, we will focus not only on decagonal patterns but also on a spectrum of designs from various symmetry groups: decagonal, octagonal, etc. In particular, we will concentrate on some monster designs that can be seen in Iran and Central Asia on walls of certain mosques and other buildings, e.g., Chahar Bagh Theological School, Isfahan; Nadir Divan-Begi Madrasah in Bukhara; design from the ceiling in Bahoutdin Architectural Complex; Shanb Ghazan Tomb in Tabriz, Alisha Ark, etc.

We will use the traditional gereh method used in the XV-XVIII centuries by Persian architects and craftsmen.

No pain, no gain

The course will be demanding, and you will be expected to demonstrate your progress in the form of finished designs. During the study, the participants' list will be reduced to a small group of people who show their progress. There will be no guests in this course. You want to participate, you have to show your work.

Feel free to ask questions and discuss with us anything related to this course. There are no silly questions. Each question may lead to an exciting discussion and forming valuable knowledge.

Geometry goes first

The focus of this course will be on the geometry of patterns - not on particular designs. Understanding and creating geometry for a pattern or group of patterns will always be the two main tasks. Patterns will be treated as a decoration for geometry.

Geometry and technology

Through each class of the course, we will use Geometer's Sketchpad. You can download it from

The license for it, you will get during the first class. Before starting the course, you have to figure out how you can handle on your computer screen two tasks at the same time – listening and watching the course and at the same time drawing on your screen. This will be the tricky part. If you know GeoGebra and you want to stick to it. This is OK. But you are on your own. I will not be able to help you with using GG. Some time before starting the course download Geometer’s Sketchpad and practice on your own.

IMPORTANT: geometry software is the only option if we want to do such a course quickly. The amount of work is enormous, and using geometry software can speed up the designing process.

After geometry comes art

We will discuss forms of artistic interpretations of patterns. Thus we will talk about designs made of ceramic tiles, carving patterns in wood and stone, Persian kundekari designs, geometric art made out of mirrors, etc.

If time permits, we may have short virtual excursions to some places in Iran and Uzbekistan.

Covered topics

1. Quick revision of Geometer's Sketchpad tools. If you did not use GSP or GeoGebra before, then download it at least a month in advance and practice it.

2. Brief information about Topkapi scroll

3. Designing patterns with Persian inflation type I, type II, and type II modified

4. Two-layer patterns including the pattern from

5. Khatamkari and chupchakari designs in various styles

6. Persian structural design

Teacher and students

Miroslaw L. Majewski (Prof. Dr) is a former Professor of the New York Institute of Technology. Currently, Professor Emeritus of NYIT. Many years of research in the geometry of art and technology for mathematics. Author of numerous books and publications (many of them related to the geometry of patterns). Designer of many geometric patterns – some are reconstructions of well-known designs, and some of them are entirely new.

Students: Anybody ready to work hard and learn the theory of pattern design will be welcome. This is an academic level course, and it fits well into some university programs – graphics design, architecture, mathematics education.

This is a very advanced course. If you are interested only in drawing a few simple patterns (just to impress your friends), then find yourself another course. There are a few of them around.

Before starting the course

You may consider looking at the book

You will find there some important fundamentals useful for this course.

Students and invited guests for the Istanbul Design Center course entitled: Lessons from the Topkapi scroll

We got around 170 applications for this course. I want to thank all of you for your interest in this and other courses at Istanbul Design Center. It could be nice to see you all in our face-to-face courses. However, due to the covid-19, we are allowed to meet online only. Thus we have to accept all limitations of the space and software we use. We have to consent to two restrictions: (1) license limitation for the software we use for online teaching and (2) the level of difficulty of the course. Thus after long deliberation, we selected the enclosed list of participants. If you are not lucky, please do not get upset. More opportunities to study will come in fall 2021.

Below is the list of participants for the Lessons from Topkapi scroll. Moreover, our special guests in this course will be Maaida Noor (a UK based artist, see https://maaidanoor.com), (Babamuradov Baxtier Achilovich, Uzbek artist and old architecture restorer), Masood Mousavizade (Iranian architect and designer, see: http://www.architectureandpattern.com).

1. Afrein Nasir
2. Ahmed Emin Batman
4. Anees Fathima
5. Antara Biswas
6. Aqeela Sherazi
7. Ayşe Yılmaz
8. Ayşenur Çalışkan
9. Ayşenur Genç
10. Basmah Kettat
11. Berna Yıldızhan
12. Burcu Sansan
13. Dilara Arslan
14. Durbah Salahuddin
15. Elif Didar Abacı
16. Elif Nur Dönmezgüç
17. Fakhra Mahmood
18. Fatemeh Nazarian
19. Fathima Chinoy
20. Fatima Malik
21. Fayeza Hussain
22. Ghazaleh Khayat
23. Gihan Bayoumi
24. Haleema Aya
25. Hemangi Dholakia
26. Hümeyra Gümüşhan
27. Hüseyna Koc
28. Jayasuriya
29. Kinza Kazim
30. Leyla Betül Küçük
31. Mahdi Hamedani
32. Mariam Lodin
33. Maryem Al Asfoor
34. Marzieh Kaviani
35. Mehmet Aziz Yirik
36. Meryem Lutin
37. Mine Karaismailoğlu
38. Mohammed Noman
39. Mona El-Taher
40. Muazzez Küçükmehmetoğlu
41. Neesha Mewada
42. Nubia Sofia Chavez Vera
43. Oğuzhan Yöney
44. Parth Varshney
45. Raghav Chawla
46. Reyhan Polat
47. Richa Dilip Raut
48. Rohit Karekar
49. Roshanak Bakhtiari
50. Safa Avcıoğlu
51. Safoora Bistouni
52. Seçil Avcıoğlu
53. Semra Kesgin
54. Serife Satoglu
55. Serkan Pelen
56. Sevde Özkaya
57. Shahboz Mustafayev
58. Sibel Anamur
59. Surabhi Kochar
60. Surbhi Tanwar
61. Uzmaa Sayed
62. Yasmin Sethi
63. Zeynep Onuk