It’s an art form, a craft, a tradition, a discipline, a form of worship. Handed down from generation to generation, the beautiful and unique art of Islamic tile mosaics (or kellij) encompasses so many facets of both the practical and spiritual. Recently, scholars not just of art but such diverse fields as mathematics, engineering and computer science have begun to study the complicated patterns and designs of kellij.
“It’s absolutely stunning,” Harvard’s Peter Lu, a physicist, said in an interview. “They made tilings that reflect mathematics that were so sophisticated that we didn’t figure it out until the last 20 or 30 years,” he marveled.