Goli Jalali

MArch I

The Magic Carpet

Advised by Jennifer Bonner

The “Persian Carpet” and the “Persian Miniature” painting have served as representation tools for the “Persian Garden” and the idea of paradise in Persian culture since antiquity. The word “paradise” derives from the Persian word “pari-daeza,” meaning walled enclosure. The garden is always walled and stands in opposition to its landscape. It is experienced as much in terms of what it is not as what it is. This thesis investigates the idea of a contemporary image of paradise in the Iranian imagination by using carpets and miniature paintings as a tool for designing architecture. 

The garden, with its profound associations, provided a world of metaphor for the classical mystic poets. One of the manuscripts describing the Persian garden is called the “Haft Paykar,” known as the “Seven Domes,” written by the 12th-century Persian poet called Nizami. These types of manuscripts were made for Persian kings and contain within them miniature paintings and poetry describing battles, romances, tragedies, and triumphs that compromise Iran’s mythical and pre-Islamic history. 

Through the process of copying, the “Seven Domes” has been repeatedly reinterpreted and recreated as a contemporary object filled with contemporary fashions and ideals of beauty. This thesis investigates the role of the carpet as the repeating object in the miniature paintings and digitally reconstructs the seven drawings of the “Seven Domes” with new techniques.

Plan of garden and carpet

Colorful rendering of multiple buildings and trees surrounded by a stone wall, where inside people are shown participating in various daily activities.

Colorful rendering of a multi leveled building with a plaza and trees outside of it, and people inhabiting the space inside and outside.

Colorful rendering of a building with bookshelves in the interior and a fountain in front, surrounded by people playing musical instruments.