Psychological Effects of Iranian Mirror-Tile Artwork – A Phenomenological Approach

Author: Naeim Sepehri, Independent Scholar, Iran
Published: January 26, 2022

Citation: Sepehri, N. (2022). Psychological Effects of Iranian Mirror-Tile Artwork – A Phenomenological Approach. IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 6(2).


Mirror-tile artwork is one of the most recent and striking phenomena in Iranian Spiritual Art. Aside from being an aesthetic item for adorning architectural building space, mirrors also exemplify profound cultural ideas. It has been applied in interior design and the decoration of holy and royal buildings with symbolic expressions and enigmatic nature. Initially, it was created using the broken and unused pieces of mirrors as a recycling project. Muslim artisans did not approve of wasting material. They used basic techniques to construct spiritual and effective Iranian-Islamic architectural spaces and ornamentations filled with mystery and marvels. This study is inspired by Giovanni Caputo’s research on the different psychological effects of mirrors, by the mirror phenomenon as an Iranian-Islamic architectural element, and as a psychological effect brought about by architectural components. It attempts to elicit responses from people who have been touched and encountered the phenomenon by asking them to describe their presence and experiences in a mirror-tile decorated environment. The interviews usually focused on two main topics; the first topic is concerned with the participant’s experience quality during their presence in the architectural space; the second is concerned with the way a person interacts with the various elements of the environment. As a result, there are two direct views at the moment of encountering the mirror-tile decorated architectural spaces: the “Close-look” (looking closely at one’s image) and the “Afar-look” (looking from afar, taking in the whole space). Moreover, the light a place and the emotional effects of the architectural built-up space on perception were the most critical factors for participants’ responses to achieve the research’s goal and thus laying the groundwork for future research in these areas.


architecture, decoration, Iranian-Islamic, mirror-tile artwork; perception, phenomenology, psychology