Fountain in perpetuity: a historical examination of Islamic fountain design from the ninth to the sixteenth centuries and a contemporary interpretation
AbstractThis thesis is an examination of the development of fountain design in the work of selected key Muslim engineers, covering the period from the ninth to the sixteenth centuries lt first introduces, translates and examines a previously undocumented fifteenth -century manuscript, Al-Riv. %a/r a! -Qudsiya fi Amel a! -Shadriºw-ßu»1 wal Fisgit'u (The Qudsiya Treatise in Constructing a Cascade and a Fountain), which was discovered by the researcher'. Since the manuscript describes a self-operated fountain, the notion of perpetual motion in philosophical and engineering concepts is analysed and presented with an attention to historical accounts, and in the light of practical experiments The investigation of the design of eighteen fountains designed at the high point of Islamic civilisation by the renowned engineers: Banu Musa (9th century), alJazari (13`s century) and Taqi al-Din (161h century) is also characterised by my discovery of two manuscripts-. These appear to be originally contemporary copies but have clearly been copied by hand many times with a resulting lack of clarity. The works of these engineers have been studied, in modem times, by prominent Western historians and engineers The evidence for the existence of the 18 fountains takes the form of descriptions and simple diagrams. However, these studies have not been carried out in any depth, and therefore have not resulted in any greater understanding of the nature of such engineering design. In my study, design, manufacture and operation of these fountains are studied as a specialised and specific branch of Islamic engineering Furthermore, a historical understanding of the significant nature of the fountain as a cultural, artistic and engineering product of the Islamic civilisation is brought into focus, and subjected to a practical verification. A major aspect of this study has been to interpret these accounts and through practical experiments verify the original claims and present an account through drawings and video-tape of their original working formats. This, together with the translation of the hitherto unrecorded document has allowed me to present fuller and more comprehensible account of Islamic fountain design with special reference to the roles of the identified engineers. From the experimental work carried out on specific engineering designs, remarkable result are documented which may introduce, as this thesis suggests, a new concept of designing fountain based on the new application of medieval techniques. The investigative and experimental works in this study have enhanced the statement the researcher has tried to deliver in a form of a contemporary fountaindesign. The development of the fountain mechanism as well as the concept of design, the researcher introduces, allows for a fruitful interplay between art, science and particularly engineering, of the past with their counterparts of the present.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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