Arches and Symmetry at the Taj Mahal
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Mughal architects employed basic geometric principles in the design of their buildings. The design of the Taj Mahal is dominated by a series of grids.
Where the primary shape is a pointed arch within a rectangle. This motif is employed on all scales at the complex, providing a sense of architectural unity throughout.
Pointed arches within a rectangular frame also form the iwans, or large recessed portals, that dominate the exterior facades of the main buildings. Notably, the windows of all the buildings imitate this design. However, the use of an arch is not strictly a Mughal venture.
Taking a view of the western facade of the mausoleum from the arched doorway of the mosque, a symphony of arches greets the viewer. The central iwan, which is beneath and partners the main onion dome, is derived from Persian designs, popular in architecture of the earlier Timurid dynasty. The archways to the Taj Mahal are also instrumental to the aesthetic value of the tomb and are often framed with Qur'anic inscriptions.
The spandrels of the arches are adorned with delicate floral arabesques.