ttessellation - A collection of shapes that fit together to cover a surface without overlapping or leaving gaps. Often a repeating geometric pattern, many of which may also be referred to as tiling. Types of tessellations include translation, rotation, and reflection. They can be regular or irregular (a regular tessellation is made up of congruent regular polygonstriangles, squares or hexagons), periodic and non-periodic, two- and three-dimensional, and their motifs can be fractals (self-replicating).

Tesselations can be seen in almost every brick wall, tiled floor or wall, quilt pattern, lace tablecloth, fabric and wallpaper pattern.

The study of tessellations can integrate many disciplines across any full curriculum — in art, math, language arts, social studies, etc.

The word "tessellation" comes from the Latin word tessella — the tessera, or small square tile used in producing mosaics.

 

Examples of tessellations:

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightUnited States, Pennsylvania, Quilt, c. 1870-80, Log Cabin pattern, Pineapple variation, wool and cotton, 88 x 88 inches (223.5 x 223.5 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftMaurits Cornelis Escher (Dutch , 1898-1972), Aarde (Earth), no. 1 from the series De vier elementen (The Four Elements), New Year's greeting card for 1953, 1952, color woodcut printed in blue-gray and brown with letterpress printed in gray; image 15.5 x 13.5 cm; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightMaurits Cornelis Escher, Lucht (Air), no. 2 from the series De vier elementen (The Four Elements), New Year's greeting card for 1954, 1952, color woodcut printed in green and brown with letterpress printed in gray; image 15.4 x 13.4 cm; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftMaurits Cornelis Escher, Vuur (Fire), no. 3 from the series De vier elementen (The Four Elements), New Year's greeting card for 1955, 1952, color woodcut printed in green and brown with letterpress printed in gray; image 15.6 x 13.5 cm; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightMaurits Cornelis Escher, Water, no. 4 from the series De vier elementen (The Four Elements), New Year's greeting card for 1956, 1952, color woodcut printed in green and brown with letterpress printed in gray; image 15.5 x 13.5 cm; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftMaurits Cornelis Escher, Untitled (Reducing Lizards Tessellation).

 

see thumbnail to rightThe scheme Escher devised in producing this tesselation. See gradation.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftMarian Bantjes (Canadian, contemporary), Struggle, 2004, digital composite, collection of the artist. If you visit Ms Bantjes' site, be sure to peruse her other patterns and paintings.


Related Links:

 

 

Also see Celtic art, fractal, kaleidoscope, metamorphosis, optical illusion, origami, pique assiette (also called picassiette), rhythm, sphere, and textile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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