Design in Acehnese dance, music, and visual arts is guided by four general concepts of space. The upstream-downstream concept, governed by the centuries-old tendency to travel to the forests upstream and the coastal towns downstream, is associated with Animist-Hindu-Buddhist mysticism and commercial success respectively, resulting in methods of creating arts and crafts that belong either to upstream or downstream areas or both (in the latter case, for example, in the making of the great frame drums). Traces of the cardinal directional concept of space, with a similar Animist-Hindu-Buddhist background, link the directions to dominant colours used in artists' costumes, performance arena backdrops, embroideries, paintings, and other arts and crafts. The geometric concept governs formations of dancer-musicians and musician-dancers in a performance arena, as well as some traditional visual art designs and some modern paintings. Probably dating back to the pre-Dông-son era (before c. 300 B.C.E.), this concept is expressed in various linear, circular, square, and concentric designs. Finally, the central-point-in-a-circle concept of space is believed to have its parallels in Perso-Arabic thinking and points to Aceh's links with Persian, Moghul, Turkish, and Arabic cultures over the past millennium. It governs mosque-centred town planning, some visual art designs and some formations of dancers and musicians who circle around their leader at the centre point. Parallels between the Acehnese performing and visual arts lie in their application of the principle of freedom versus form. The creative invention and free ornamentation of leading singers and dancers contrast with the melodic and textual symmetry, disciplined compactness, and cyclic redundancy of their group followers, just as the artistic creator of a visual artwork invents an original design within stylistic limits while also using some cyclically repetitive border designs.