Last week we had a fun and exciting lecture which focused on tessellations and their link to Islamic Art. . Firstly, a tessellation is a pattern of flat shapes which is repeated. When the pattern is repeated the shapes fit perfectly together in order to cover a surface, with no gaps between the shapes. You can get a variety of different tessellations, some of which are regular and some are semi-regular. Regular tessellations are repeating patterns of a regular polygon.

The image above are the three regular tessellations. There are only three possible regular tessellations.


Semi-regular tessellations are patterns which are made up of two or more regular polygons. There are only 8 possible semi-regular tessellations;

The history of tessellations

The creator of the first tessellation still remains unknown and so the credit for the wonderful designs was first given to a Dutch artist named M. C. Escher. Escher experimented a range of different ways and patterns to create tessellations and this is where he came to the realisation that tessellations following one repeating pattern.

In Islamic Art, tessellations are used. In many of the mosaics which helped to to create tiles and floors in Roman buildings, tessellations were using in order to create a repeating, and symmetrical, pattern. Below is an example of a tile in a Roman home;

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