|map from Story of the World III Activity Guide|
During the Renaissance there were three areas that rose as powerful Islamic Empires. At the beginning of the 1500's, Persia (now called Iran) regained independence under the Safavid dynasty. Persia soon became one of the leading cultures of the world. Safavid Persia was continually under pressure from the west and the Turks in the east, until Abbas I (1571-1629) came into power and created a cultural renaissance in Persia.
The Ottomans were Muslim Turks who built a large empire, with Istanbul as its capital. During the 16th century, the Ottomans expanded their empire, seizing land in the Middle East, North Africa , Russia and Hungary. In the mid-1500's they threatened Europe by attacking Vienna, and also a sea battle near the Greek coast. They also battled the Persians.
The Moguls were Muslims from the area now called Afghanistan. Like their ancestors, the Mongols, the Moguls were great warriors. Beginning in 1526, they began taking control of the land in India. They also built many beautiful buildings, the most famous being the Taj Mahal.
One of the things these Islamic cultures had in common was their love of beautiful designs. They loved tiled walls and floors and often make lovely patterns with the tiles often repeating the patterns in tesselations.
After looking at some of these patterns, we got out our pattern blocks and played around with making designs. We looked at how the shapes fit together to make it easy to tesselate them. The hexagon, if cut in half forms two trapezoids. If you cut out a equilateral triangle from the end of a trapezoid, it forms a rhombus.
Quentin and I cut out these shapes in colored paper...
and James used these shapes to form a tesselation from a wall from the Book of Kings (Shah-nameh). He found the shapes difficult to align and was a bit frustrated at times,
but I was very pleased with how it turned out.
Can you see the stars that formed in the background around the hexagons?