The article below is by the late Professor Arthur Opham Pope and was originally published in the Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs:
The article was then posted and presented on-line in the CAIS (Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies) venue. The CAIS site is hosted by Shapour Suren-Pahlav. The version posted below is essentially the exact same document with only a few very minor edits.
The thesis that Gothic architecture owes a good deal to Persian sources is too complex to be stated or tested by a composition of brief and scattered quotations from various ,reports made by various people even when such a statement is prepared skilfully, conscientiously, and sympathetically as by Mr. Briggs in his article on the subject in the April BURLINGTON. Such preliminary discussions in advance of a complete and systematic presentation of the case may help to define the problem, state the conditions that must govern a decision, and above all to promote a fair and open-minded hearing on which Mr. Briggs has so wisely insisted. Without the latter, preliminary discussions may encourage prejudice, fall into sundry errors and retard a final solution.
As a first requisite to any profitable discussion of the particular question it is essential to keep – in mind that no adequate presentation of either the facts or the arguments in support of the thesis has yet been made. The exhibition of photographs at the R.I.B.A., for reasons of space as well as cost, showed scarcely a quarter of the photographs that have already been made by the writer alone, and even the total collection of photographs represents only a portion of the possible material. That seven monuments, all prior to 1150, and not mentioned in the literature, were discovered in November and December of last year alone, is evidence that other monuments of critical importance await discovery. Only a few of the relevant documents have been published; in fact the systematic search for them has hardly begun, while important historical inscriptions are even now in the course of study and translation.
It was inevitable, then, that despite all his care and consideration Mr. Briggs did not wholly escape some of the difficulties inseparable from such a preliminary discussion.
First as to the origin of the pointed arch. By some inadvertence Mr. Briggs ascribed to me the statement that its first appearance is to be found in the Tari(kh) Khaneh of Dāmghān, a statement that I have never made inasmuch as I am quite familiar with the discussion about the pointed arches at Qasr Ibn-Wardan (561-4), and have been careful not to call the Damghan arches true pointed arches. On the other hand, the date I proposed for Tari(kh) Khaneh (circa 700) cannot be challenged by quoting from Creswell to the effect that the mosque of Nayin is the oldest standing Islamic monument. What Creswell of necessity meant was that Nayin was the oldest so far published at the time of writing(1930). Godard and Creswell for that matter both date Tari(kh) Khaneh as contemporary with the palace and mosque of Ukhaidir