Symmetry pp 69-95 | Cite as

Symmetry in geometrical decorative art

Frieze patterns, wallpaper patterns, space groups


In the preceding chapters I showed how there are certain common elements in humanity’s cultural history which can equally be found in European, Middle and Far Eastern, African, American and Australian aboriginal cultures. Their origins are ancient. These decorative elements already appeared in periods when — we assume — these cultures existed independently, without influencing one another. The silk route, for example, only began to ‘operate’ in the 14th century BC at the earliest. We are not suggesting that neighbouring peoples did not establish contact with each other before this, but that larger items displaying decorative elements can only have been taken to far-away lands when the required means of transportation became available. There are many possible explanations for similar decorative elements in different places, one of which can be from humanity’s natural environment.


Space Lattice Point Group None None Regular Polygon Symmetry Operation 
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© Birkhäuser Verlag AG 2007

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