Various motifs employed by Arabshahi are mainly abstract, though ancient figurative ones may occasionally appear in his designs. The motifs applied by him fall into three major categories. As mentioned in the note to the previous lot, the first is based on ancient Persian symbols, whereas the second comprises geometric shapes. A third includes elements such as arrows, mathematical signs, architectural plans, numbers and parabolic lines. The traditional symbols of the first group are mostly derived from relief works, inscriptions, seals and the pottery of Mesopotamia and Ancient Persia. Each of these symbols represented specific concept in their own time.
In his early paintings, Arabshahi employs these symbols merely as decorative elements regardless of their original meaning. Later works, however, indicate a more deliberate and thoughtful application of motifs resulting from careful studies of Persian and Islamic art history. The circular and angular forms as well as cruciform and rhythmic curvilinear, rectangular and horizontal lines constitute the most obvious elements of his works.