The Symbolism of the Islamic Garden

Islamic gardens act as symbolic representation of the archetypal eternal heavenly garden, an attempt to provide a small peak into what could potentially wait for a person in the afterlife. Repetition of geometric shapes in Islamic gardens help to emphasize the link between the physical world and thereafter. Circular fountains represent Jannah, the Islamic representation of heaven, as the circle is symbolic of heaven. The square is always utilized as a symbol of the Earth, with circular fountains often found within square indentations to act as a metaphor for heaven and Earth meeting. The term “Jannat-al-Firdaws” which means “Garden of Paradise” in Arabic, is mentioned many times throughout the Quran, with Chapter 55 of Surat al-Rahman (pronounced “suu-rat al rack-man”), which means the “all merciful” in Arabic, holding the best and most descriptive accounts of what this garden truly would look like if experienced. Water plays a crucial role in these accounts, with multiple layers of symbolism for life present which is why water is the most important element within an Islamic garden as it is symbolic of the soul. Rain was and continues to be viewed as a merciful gift from heaven within Islamic culture as Islam stems from one of the hottest regions in the world. Water is essential to Islam and an Islamic paradise garden cannot exist without the incorporation of water to some degree. Islamic gardens are separated into 4 specific quadrants because of the “chahar bagh” (pronounced “cha-harr bahh”) which means “4 gardens” in the Persian language of Farsi, directly related to the 4 rivers of paradise, including a river of milk, honey, wine, and water, an order and harmony which underlies everything within an Islamic garden

The Japanese Shinto Faith

The Japanese Shinto religion translates to mean “way of the gods” in Japanese and primarily focuses upon ancestors and nature, with practitioners believing that every aspect of the universe has a deity (e.g. rivers have a god, mountains have a god, soil has a god etc.) with ancestors believed to have created the world for the current generation living within it. Japanese architecture is an excellent example of Shintoism as Shinto shrines are left in a minimalist state of color and simplicity, unlike contemporary Chinese architecture which is highly colorful and decorative. Shinto shrines never depict imagery of deities as the wood of the architecture itself is representative of nature, and from that simplicity and minimalism. This is also because it is believed that so many gods exist within nature that it would be foolish to only highlight a few in particular. Practitioners of Shinto observe festivals and holidays but no particular day of prayer, unlike monotheistic religions (e.g. Sunday for Christianity, Friday for Islam and Judaism etc.). There is no mainstay scripture of morality or ethical system attached to Shintoism. In Shintoism, old shrines are dismantled and moved for new shrines to be erected every 20 years. The 3 main elements of Shintoism are the mirror, precious stones, and wood

Adolf Hitler’s Perverted View of the Arts 

Adolf-Hitler-artwork

Adolf Hitler attempted to become a watercolorist painter during his early adult life and attended art school. Hitler dropped out and became a politician but he continued to have a deep fascination and appreciation of artwork and architecture, however he harbored strong disdain for modern art. While imprisoned for attempting to challenge the German socialist political party in power at the time, Hitler wrote a manuscript which served as a blueprint for a new kind of German society, and in this manifesto he characterized modern art as a toxic moral plague upon society, pestilence sent by Russian communists and sold by Jewish art dealers to infect Germany with cubism, and other forms of Bolshevist viewpoints

Cement vs Concrete

Cement and concrete are not the same thing although they are commonly incorrectly used interchangeably. Cement is an ingredient of concrete which is a very fine powder made from limestone, sand, clay, iron ore, water, and stone. Proportions of these ingredients are crushed and heated in a kiln to form what is referred to as “clinker”. The clinker is crushed again with gypsum and a number of other ingredients, and the result is a fine powder which is then referred to as “cement”. Aggregates in concrete such as sand and stone, coarse and fine, are for volume only and are not active ingredients in the hydration process

Chartres Cathedral: The First Modern Church

Chartres, France (pronounced “shar-trey”) is a village which built the worlds tallest cathedral of its period. Standing a staggering 180′ tall, and taking 66 years to build, the Chartres cathedral was the first cathedral to use flying buttresses and be constructed in a cross shape as opposed to the classical rectangular shape the cathedrals of this period typically exemplified. Chartres cathedral is so grand in stature that Napoléon Bonaparte once said “atheists would feel uneasy inside these walls”