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Towards Consistency and Transparency in Academic Integrity

Edited By Salim Razı, Irene Glendinning and Tomáš Foltýnek

This book is an outcome of the 4th International Conference «Plagiarism across Europe and Beyond» organized by Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, Mendel University in Brno, and the European Network for Academic Integrity. The conference is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships Programme of the European Union. It aims to be a forum for sharing best practices and experiences by addressing issues of academic integrity from a wide-scope global perspective. With regards to the crucial role of ethics and honesty in academic work, universities are in need of more effective policies against infringements of academic standards. The papers in this book therefore aim to contribute to the standardization of consistent and transparent approaches to issues of academic integrity from several perspectives.

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Plagiarism and Artefacts: A Phenomenon of Neglected Ethics (Mamoona Khan / Aalia Sohail Khan)

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Mamoona Khan1 & Aalia Sohail Khan2

Govt. Postgraduate College for Women Satellite Town, Pakistan

Plagiarism and Artefacts: A Phenomenon of Neglected Ethics

Abstract: Intellectual wealth has been appreciably protected in the modern era by WIPO, still keeping certain domains of creativity in oblivion. Artefacts are a primary source of past information, even those neglected by historians. This paper intends to accredit originators of artistic creations and to notify artefacts as a tool to detect intellectual theft in various fields. Innovation in art works, like the fourth dimension of Picasso, has its origin in the six-dimensional world represented in Muslim Miniature Paintings, but no one has ever pondered on it. Similarly, the initiators of certain scientific inventions are lost, and credence is gained by those guilty of plagiarism. This paper focuses on Muslim artefacts as an instrument to detect plagiarism in the field of art and other than arts. Through textual and formal analysis, Persian miniatures of the Abbasid and Safavid eras, along with architectonic ornamental motifs will be focused upon to divulge conclusions.

Keywords: artefacts, perspective, robotic technology, six-dimensional space


Among all living organisms, only man is equipped with multifarious ingenuities that have engaged him in ceaseless creative endeavours bringing physical comfort along with aesthetic pleasure in his life. A social animal, he is famous for, developing rules to live in equity with his fellows which turned in modern times to protecting his intangible possessions, evolving into WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) in 1967, collaborating with 191 member countries. It is meant to safeguard immaterial property of the worldwide creative brains concentrating on all fields of scientific or artistic creativities to entrust authority to the real patrons, and also to safeguard against unfair competition.

In the aesthetic field, creativity and beauty along with extreme sensitivity work collaboratively, but are little less concentrated in measures for their protection, i.e. IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights). Artefacts and art works are powerful expressions of their regions providing first-hand information about their times. Because ← 167 | 168 → the perception of artists is considered to be very penetrating, placing their creations in the category of chronicles of their times, their works can be utilised as tools to detect plagiarism of many sorts. The paper will pursue artefacts to scrutinise them for useful information about various facts. It is an exploratory research study based on the extrinsic and intrinsic analysis of artistic creations to certify originators in various artistic or scientific fields, and to add to the positive efforts of WIPO. Although, the subject is vast, but basis of Picasso’s 4th dimensionality, the roots of robotic technology, and of certain chemical formulas, along with the initiators of five-fold symmetry in the field of design, which will be focused upon most, along with certain other cursory references recommended for further research.

Spatial Dimensions

Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) is elevated for bringing about a radical break in the representational phenomenon of art by introducing a 4th dimension in his paintings, which was a deviation from the usual course. Artists had been trying since ancient times to perfectly capture the third dimension, that is, depth on the flat surface of walls, boards or canvases having only two dimensions, with length and breadth but no depth (Arnason, 1968, p. 13). They had been trying continuously to create the illusion of perfect depth through various means, and then enwrapped it within the guise of “isms” in the modern age. It was to associate novelty; otherwise their main goal was to chase the illusion of depth.

Viewing the annals of history, one finds that greater progress occurred in the Classical Greek era (5th–4th century B.C), and Renaissance (1300–1700 A.C), when artists viewed it in a mathematical manner through linear perspective, which made things mechanical, besides being artistic. Baroque (1600–1700) and Rococo artists (late 17th–early 18th century) tried to solve the problem through colours, that is, with the help of aerial perspective. A mixed stance was adopted by the Neo-Classical (1760–1830), Romantic (1770–1850), and Realist (1850s-early 19th) painters by focusing both on linear and aerial perspectives. A swift move was then taken by the Impressionists (19th century) who were keen to focus on rapidly-changing light effects. They were running after fleeting moments of light, ignoring altogether form and solidity of form, although they claimed to capture reality in its most perfect form. Cezanne (1839–1906), the Post Impressionist painter, tried out colours of the richest hue that, according to him, bring solidity to the objects, instead of infiltrating these with light or dark tones. Despite the variety of stances adopted by these artists, all of them were trying to create the perfect illusion of depth that is the 3rd dimension, until no one in the western world ever thought beyond it. Though spatial tension was introduced by Cezanne when he ← 168 | 169 → promulgated the idea of stressing the use of colours in their highest frequencies, he too did not diverge from capturing visual truths.

Picasso, to the contrary, was the first to introduce the 4th dimension, so he is greatly exalted for breaking the customary stance and viewing the other side of perceptible reality. He is considered to be the forerunner of this tradition, because all agree that reality exists beyond human perception; for the reverse of the perceptible side of every object, in reality, exists too. If he painted a profile or isometric view of any face, the imperceptible side of the nose is also made visible by twisting it a bit towards the viewer, known as simultaneity of vision. Moreover, in places, he represented the continuity of moments as well, for instance, in his paintings The Weeping Woman (1937), and The Girl with a Mandolin (1910), instead of isolated time, the continuity of changing time is tried out by Picasso, which is considered to have no precedence. In The Weeping Woman one can feel the continuous sighs of the woman with tragic inhaling and exhaling of breath of pain, along with emerging and falling tears. Prior to this, the western critics extolled their art and artists for having the capacity to create illusion of depth, and made derogatory remarks about Muslim artists for being incapable of rendering depth (Papadopoulo, 1979, p. 52), allocating to Muslim Miniature Painting the title of craft instead of art.

On the other hand, third dimensionality does not appear to be the concern of Muslim artists; they were after six dimensions which is the actual reality of space, defined by ibn Sīna (980–1037) in his book ‘Uyūn al-Ḥikmah. He was of the view that a space having dimensions less than six cannot accommodate a six-sided object. There is no doubt that all objects, whether natural or man-made, have at least six-dimensions: front, back, left, right, top and base; the first four are relative and the last two are absolute (Nasr, 2007, p. 224). So, their placing can only be in a space having these dimensions, otherwise their locations would not be defined anywhere. It is logical to stand in affirmation with ibn Sīna for six-dimensional space instead of the three defined by westerners.

The perception of Muslim artists in this context, is exalted not to be disparaged, as has been done by those having limited or myopic vision. Therefore, six-dimensional space is the concern of Muslim artists. The fourth-dimension, in this context, is not a novelty to be celebrated, when a loftier stance has already been taken by another source, which is to be granted due credit. But it arouses another question, about how the human eye can see all six dimensions that do exist but only three are discernible at a glance. Contemplation for a solution to the pertinent problem involves making an analysis of mobile or circular perception versus stationary or rectilinear vision, approving the former. Rectilinear perception can view only three dimensions of space while circular vision can view an object from all sides. ← 169 | 170 →

Human perception is mobile too; one cannot perceive a location while fixing one’s eyes on one point only. When a person is stationary, his eyes move around to view a scene, up and down, right and left. Perception of the camera is static, focusing on one point only while leaving the rest a blur. Though, the camera is based on the function of the human eye, the eye, being a living organ, does not completely work like a machine. Moreover, man views reality in its totality, while the man-made gadget has far less potential than living organisms. So, only mobile perception can view six dimensions of space, best explicated in Muslim miniature paintings, where not only the exterior view of any area is delineated but it is artistically combined with the interior and even beyond that, while subterranean chambers too, are made visible. It is a comprehensive portrayal of any of the localities portrayed.

Figure 1: Line drawing after the miniature painting: Life in a Town, from Khamsa-i Nīzāmi, Tabrīz, 1539–43. Opaque water colours, ink and gold on paper. 28.3cm×20cm. Harvard University Art Museum. (Sketched by the researcher)


A very impressive specimen of six-dimensional space is rendered in the miniature painting Life in Town (Sims, Marshak, & Grube, 2002, p. 197) from Shah Ṭahmāsp’s Khamsa-i Niẓāmi (1539–43), fig. 1. Here, from inner to outer, right to ← 170 | 171 → left, and top to the base of the town; each and every activity is rendered artistically through the mobile perception of the artist. At a glance one views the inside of the palace, pedestrians in zigzag streets with shops, the inside of houses, or terraces with a variety of activities. All is organised in such a way that the multifarious units form a united whole.

Figure 2: Details from Fig. 1


Figure 3: Details from Fig. 1


← 171 | 172 →

Figure 4: Details from Fig. 1


In the extreme foreground, the prince is in the mode of recreation, is busy with musicians, dancers, and drinking party, while servants bring baskets of fruit, fig. 2. The street outside the palace is portrayed with pedestrians and buyers around shops, a humble kitchen with a mother cooking while children wait, fig. 3, and a mosque at the other end of the street where a religious leader is persuading a young man to enter, fig. 4. Opposite is the upper storey of the palace with beautiful young princesses enjoying themselves, fig. 5, at their back is the inside of another house, where a scholar and a student are engrossed in discussion, fig. 8, while a domestic cat is enjoying a nap, fig. 7. At the back is a garden with blossom and maple trees, and a terrace at the top end with a drowsy lady peeping down from the projected balcony. The height of naturalism is discernible in the rendering of a dog looking with open mouth to find the right place to jump down. An example of subterranean chambers combined with an exterior view is The Death of Zahhak (Welch, 1976, p. 44) from Houghton’s Shāhnāma (1527), figs. 8–9. ← 172 | 173 →

Figure 5: Details from Fig. 1


Figure 6: Details from Fig. 1


← 173 | 174 →

Figure 7: Details from Fig. 1


Figure 8: Line drawing after the miniature; Death of Zahhak from Hougton’s Shāhnāma Tabrīz, 1527. 47.3×17.0 cm. Metropoliyan museum of Arts New York. (Worked out on computer by the researcher)


← 174 | 175 →

Figure 9: Details from Fig. 8


The inside and out sides of a cave, or houses- their ornamentation, accessories, utensils, costumes, canopies, balconies- everything of the town is defined to utmost perfection by registering the entire six dimensions of space, recorded through multiple points of view, capacitated by circular mobile perception, while Picasso adopted a less elevated stance by introducing a fourth dimension with his immobile stance, that led him to rely on distortions. Muslim artists, on the contrary, retained beauty while adding novelty; although their perception is not usual, they defined six dimensions eruditely, without making things unusual or distorted. Picasso’s accredited novelty of delineating the oblivious-side through simultaneity of vision is definitely a plagiarised act when Muslim artists had already invented and displayed a better version of it almost four centuries earlier.

The Persian or Mughal artists of India never allowed the limitations of human sight to restrict them within the framework of a three-dimensional world. They invented ways to overcome these limitations and captured entire dimensions of the physical world. Stationary rectilinear perception can decipher at most three dimensions, and Picasso had to contort shapes to render the 4th-dimension, while novelty retaining beauty was introduced centuries earlier by Muslim artists, not by Picasso. There are certain other elevated stances too, linked with Muslim Miniature Paintings.

Origins of Robotic Technology and Islamic Art

Knowledge of the past is normally traced through chronicles; usually having subjective interpretations with consciously moulded facts. But artefacts peep deep into the past objectively, for creativity is a pure activity, and artists are unconscious ← 175 | 176 → interpreters of their time; that is why prehistoric eras are traced and analysed through artefacts. This paper will also examine artefacts that credit the origin of Robotic Technology to the Abbasid era (750–1258); the culmination of Muslim science and culture, when Europe was in a deep slumber.

An illustrated manuscript of the Abbasid period by al- Jazari is al-Ja‘mi al-‘Ilm wa al-‘Amal al-Naf‘i fi S͎ina‘at al-h͎iyāl (1198–1206), containing fifty illustrations of mechanical devices that provide a substratum for modern technology. Very few people know about al-Jazari’s engineering scholarship; his enigmatic representations of water and candle clocks, robotic figures and vessels serving drinking bouts, fountains that change their shape and colour, and water-raising machines along with many other devices that are still functional for multifarious mechanisms (al-Jazari, 1989, pp. 134–135). Here the role of Miniature Painting is accelerated, providing a perfect precedence for Robotic Technology along with other Muslim eruditions in the field of science.

The miniature titled; Servant with a water ewer (Gladiss, 2004, p. 195) is actually an image of a hand-washing humanoid Robot, fig. 10, fully clad in upper and lower gowns and a turban, holding an earthenware jar in his right hand with a bird on it, while his left hand holds a comb, mirror and towel.

Internal Mechanism and Function of the Humanoid Robot

The robot has arms, legs and head made up of copper plates, while the ewer is of brass. Its right hand is hollow, holding the ewer. A narrow pipe bent in the form of a siphon has one shorter end and another longer horizontal end; the former moves into the upper part of the arm with a small whistle ball fitted to its top. The right hand is rigidly fixed while the left arm is movable about an axle fixed in the elbow extension, one end of which has a fixed weight that raises the arm up to the shoulder holding a mirror, comb and towel. ← 176 | 177 →

Figure 10: Line drawing after the miniature painting: Servant with a water ewer, from al-Jazari’s Automata, 1315. Opaque water colours and ink on paper. (Sketched by the researcher)


A reservoir is fixed in the breast inclined toward the right arm, and a pulley is fixed above it near the left edge. A valve is fixed in the bottom of the reservoir almost in line with the centre of the figure. It has an upward extension ascending to the shoulder and turning to the back side of the neck with a handle fixed to its end. A knob is attached to it to open and close the valve. The main body of the valve has an obliquely drilled channel towards its lower end. Its upper end is within the reservoir and lower end is outside, below the bottom. A tiny pot with a hole at its bottom right is fixed below the lower edge of the valve, and the longer pipe of the siphon is fixed into its hole. A float is inserted in the valve rod through piercing it from its centre and it rests on the bottom seat of the valve. A staple is fixed on its surface with a string attached; the other end is attached with a pulley outside the left of the reservoir. It hangs down and is attached to a hole in the weight in the extension of the left elbow, fig. 11. The reservoir is filled with water through a hole in the head ← 177 | 178 → of the figure. When a knob on the handle at the back of the neck is twisted, it opens the valve and water is discharged into the small pot below the valve, then, from the larger tube of the siphon it moves to the ewer. Air in the ewer is emitted through the only path of the smaller tube of the siphon leading to the whistle ball, and it appears to be producing a sound from the beak of the peacock on the lid of the ewer.

Figure 11: Details from Fig. 10


Meanwhile, the float at the seat of the valve ascends to the water surface, leaving its string loose. But no sooner has water drained from the reservoir, the string is pulled and the left arm extends slowly with the mirror, comb and towel. After use, when the towel, comb and mirror are returned back, the robot becomes placid. This is how the humanoid robot functions. (al-Jazari, 1989, pp. 134–135). The mechanism of the figure is visible only showing his breast, arms, hands, legs and feet. The water tank, pistons, and pulley with staple and strings connected to it are parts of the mechanism made discernible to the viewer, even when the figure represented is draped. Here also, outer is combined with inner to define six dimensions of the represented space.

No one has ever pondered on these facts and attribution as the primary mover of robotic technology is given to an American, George Devol (1912–2011), who registered a digitally operated robot in 1954. There is no record, other than an artefact, to prove emanation of robotic technology seven centuries earlier than its reported evidence in the twentieth century. In the field of science, a patron has to apply to the relevant authorities to get his inventions patented in order to attain a mark of distinction. Hence, artefacts are the ultimate authentic credentials, because the inventors are recorded through pictorial evidence in the past. ← 178 | 179 →

Hydraulic law is attributed to the Florentine artist Leonardo Da Vinci (1452–1519), although al-Jaziri’s book delineates illustrations of many mechanical devices, such as Water Raising Machine, Main Illustration of Pump, Servant with Pitcher and Basin, Phlebotomy Measuring Device, and Figures with Vessels for serving in Drinking Sessions. Pictorial illustrations of the above-mentioned devices along with many others, are living specimens to detect plagiarism in the Modern technological world; because Muslim Science reached unprecedented heights during the European Medieval Ages. It was due to their love for learning and knowledge that books were acquired from Greece, translated, experiments carried out, and new conclusions drawn, for there were Khazānat al-ʻIlm (Papodopoulo, 1979, p. 38) and Bayt al-Ḥikmah (Papodopoulo, 1979, p. 36) attached to mosques. The milieu produced scientists and mathematicians of the highest calibre, and their erudition can be viewed in the architectonic design on Muslim edifices as well.

Five-Fold Tessellation in Architectural Designs

Muslim buildings of the European Medieval Ages are so intricately decorated with geometric patterns that they must have employed geometricians of great calibre. Some very complex issues addressed by European mathematicians and physicists were unravelled only in the 20th century. Five-fold symmetry, that is, pentagonal and decagonal designs, are most difficult to spread with continuity, symmetrically over vast spaces. The solution is attributed to an American, Roger Penrose, since he is purported to have deciphered the issue in 1973, whereas in 1200 CE these designs in their perfect symmetry were used in Central-Asian buildings of the Muslim World. Extremely complicated geometric patterns produced through rotation of single unit cells and their incorporation on a larger scale can be subject to several distortions. But their tessellation in Muslim edifices is flawless, where perfection and beauty are consummate, as these designs are composed of units of many different geometric shapes. They are constituted by the tessellation of geometric stars; special sets of equilateral polygons of different sises and shapes and complicated strap work. These are based on “crystallographically allowed symmetry”, which means natural order is followed to compose these designs. A break-through occurred in the mathematical domains of the Muslim World when novel concepts were developed, and then brought to perfect heights in the 15th century. They have precedence of half a millennium over their formulation in the west. The best specimens of five-fold symmetry can be viewed in Muslim edifices such as Darb-i Imām Shrine\, Iṣfahān (1453 C.E), the Shrine of Khawāja ῾Abd Allāh Anṣāri at Guzargāh in Herat, today Afghanistan (1424–49), and the Mausoleum of Mama Hatūn in Tercan Turkey (1200). Most famous in this context ← 179 | 180 → is the shrine of Darb-i Imām, where in the intricate geometric formations very few asymmetries of only minor differences are noted (Lu & Steinhardt, 2007, pp. 1106–1110). Imputing credit to Roger Penrose in this context is again a plagiarised act and needs to be amended.

Kieth Critchlow, by analysing these designs more critically, asserts that some of the intricate designs adorning Muslim edifices bear resemblance to the underlying structures of certain chemical formulas (Nasar, 2000, p. 88). One specimen can be viewed in the Wazīr Khān Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan; a Mughal monument of Shāhjahān’s era (1628–1658) erected in 1634. It opens up new avenues of thought as to whether Muslims had already investigated the atomic structure attributed to Danish scientist Niel Bohar, who arrived at this model in 1913. Hence, the Mughal edifice is almost three centuries older than Bohar’s model (Khan, 2011, pp. 297–298), figs. 12–13. A similar design is apparent in the Gök Medresse, Sivas, Turkey. Analogously, other specimens are discernible in various other Muslim monuments. The thesis requires further research to reach some definite conclusions.


Art is the most powerful tool to provide first-hand knowledge of factual realities, being the most unbiased and impartial source of its times. As described by John Ruskin (1819–1900), the English poet, writer and artist that history is recorded by strong nations through three sources; by their chronicles, actions and artistic endeavours. But he elevated the last for being the most authentic, like a primary source of referencing. Hence, it is a perfect tool to detect plagiarism of different sorts. Artists are most sensitive creatures, affected even by a minor stir in their surroundings that triggers their imagination. An artist cannot be forced to create some specific piece of art- the very reason that artefacts can be used in many cases as a perfect tool to detect plagiarism. ← 180 | 181 →

Figure 12: Design resembling Bohar’s Atomic Model in Wazīr Khān Masjid. (Khan.M. Wazir Khan Mosque Rediscovered) 2012. (Photographed by the researcher)


Figure 13: Bohar’s Atomic Model. (Worked out on computer by the researcher)


← 181 | 182 →


Al-Jazāri, Badī‘al-Zamān Ᾱbu al-‘Iz ibn al-Razzāz. (1989). Al-Jāmī‘ bain al-‘Im wa al ‘Amal al-Nafī‘ fi Ṣanā‘at al-Ḥīyal [The book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices] (D. R. Hill, Trans.). Islamabad: Pakistan Hijra Council.

Arnason, H. H. (1968). History of modern art. London: Thames & Hudson.

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Gladiss, A. von. (2004). Decorative arts. In M. Hattstein & P. Delius (Eds.), Islam art and architecture (pp. 194–201). Koningswinter: Konemann.

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Lu, P. J., & Steinhardt, P. J. (2007). Decagonal and quasi-crystalline tilings in medieval Islamic architecture. Science Weekly American Journal, 315(5815), 1106–1110.

Nasr, S. H. (2000). Islamic science. Lahore: Sohail Academy.

Nasr, S. H. (2007). An introduction to Islamic cosmological doctrines. Lahore: Sohail Academy.

Papodopoulo, A. (1979). Islam and Muslim art. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams.

Sims, E., Marshak, B. I., & Grube, E. J. (2002). Peerless images. London: Yale University Press.

Welch, S. C. (1976). Persian painting. New York, NY: George Braziller.

1 Professor, Fine Arts,

2 Professor, English,