Memorial Buildings with Muqarnas Domes in south-western Iran (11 th - 19 th Century)
Brick vaults and domes have been known the Near East since Sassanian times but during the medieval period, Islam developed a wide variety of dome types which reflect dynastic, religious and social distinctions as much as different construction techniques. One of the most extravagant dome forms is the muqarnas. Muqarnas dome is a kind of conical dome such that in Iraq, southwestern Iran and Syria during the Seljuk, Ilkhanid and Timurid, and which spread for some time even after it. Muqarnas dome consist of multiple tiers of muqarnas which blur the distinction between structure and decoration and between circular and square forms. These tiers are scaled down gradually from bottom to top to build a conical shape.
Owing to the fact that the muqarnas domes were among the most characteristic features of medieval Islamic architecture,however, up till now, no fully comprehensive study has been carried about the muqarnas dome. This study discusses the architecture of muqarnas domes to better understand the architectural history. It is necessary to specify in detail how it took shape and to describe its features.
In spite of the existing studies such basic problems as historical origins of Architectural development, epistemological origin, chronology, geographic distribution remain unclear and subject to debate. Addressing the dome-building techniques, cognition of it, structural performance review, stylistics, executive methods and its related matters have been always a concern of architects. While the architecture of the muqarnas dome, that is characteristic of the tomb monuments in south-west Iran, has not been the focus and there is little information from that on the history of the architecture.
Typology of structure could be to understand muqarnas dome by establishing types according to
the geometric shape of muqarnas dome, the number of cells, its outward form, number of floors,
height, type of material and the cover. With the typological interpretation of historical evolution,
the reconstruction of the evolutionary continuum of this building is intended. By investigation of 1 . Ph.D. Student in Otto-Friedrich University, Bamberg; E-Mail: farzanehkh58(at)yahoo.com 2 the shape and form of muqarnas dome based on temporal sequence, its development can be understood.
The necessary information for this research of library and field studies would be obtained and
using case studies in the discussed area; analytical and comparative studies would be conducted.