Connecting campuses to promote excellence in math and science


Darrah Chavey

Beloit College
Symmetry and Ethnographic Designs
Many cultures use repeating patterns and designs within their artwork and crafts. A tremendous amount of such artwork corresponds to classical mathematical formulations of design symmetries, and those mathematical ideas come up widely across cultures. But the exact way in which those ideas are expressed varies tremendously between cultures. Some cultures may use only a few of the available mathematical options, and which options they use are culture-specific, or specific to a particular art form. Other cultures introduce variations to their symmetries that violate mathematical symmetry definitions, and do so in consistent, formal, and culturally specific ways. In some cases, these variations may just be "tradition," but in other cases they appear to be based on specific artistic goals, cultural phenomena or values, or for known historical reasons. We will look at several examples of such art from cultures around the world.
PicEthnogeometry talk
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