Symmetry Comes of Age: The Role of Pattern in Culture

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Overview

This is the companion volume to the authors' groundbreaking Symmetries of Culture, the classic reference for symmetry analysis of pattern for anthropologists, archaeologists, art historians, mathematicians, and designers. Central to symmetry analysis is the use of symmetry in the more precise sense of its geometrical isometries in contrast to its everyday meaning of balance. For this volume, Donald Crowe and Dorothy Washburn invited colleagues from several disciplines to apply the method of symmetry analysis to actual case studies from cultures around the world.

The essays compiled here explore how cultural information is embedded in the symmetrical structure of pattern. From descriptions of patterns on objects as diverse as Nasca embroideries, Ica Valley ceramics, Quechua textiles, Yombe mats, and Zulu beadwork, as well as from Amazonian shamanic therapy, ceramic design among the Shipibo, and Turkish Yrk weaving, the contributors reveal how the symmetrical structures in the patterns describe aspects of each cultures fundamental principles for living in the world. This approach offers a profoundly fresh way to read the meaning in pattern by arguing that pattern communicates through the structural metaphors embedded in the symmetrical relationship of the pattern parts. The two volumes together offer readers a revolutionary new window into the communicative importance of design.

About the Authors
Dorothy K. Washburn is a visiting scholar at the University of Arizona. She lives in Titusville, New Jersey. Donald W. Crowe is professor emeritus of mathematics, University of Wisconsin. Their book Symmetries of Culture received the George Wittenborn Book Award. Other contributors include Carrie Brezine, Patricia Daugherty, Mary Frame, Christine Franquemont, Ed Franquemont, Paulus Gerdes, Branko Grunbaum, Frank Jolles, and Peter Roe.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295983660
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2004
  • Pages: 354
  • Product dimensions: 7.34 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : the role of pattern in culture
1 Introduction to the plane symmetries 3
2 Periodic ornamentation of the fabric plane : lessons from Peruvian fabrics 18
3 Creating symmetry on the loom 65
4 Symmetries on mats woven by Yombe women from the lower Congo : on the interplay between cultural values and mathematical-technical possibilities 81
5 Continuity and change in Zulu beadwork conventions : the interaction of color and pattern 100
6 Motion pictures : symmetry as animator, classifier, and syntax in the Nasca embroideries of Peru 133
7 Tanka, Chongo, Kutij : structure of the world through cloth 177
8 Symmetry analysis of Ica Valley ceramics : insights into Ica-Inca interactions 215
9 At play in the fields of symmetry : design structure and shamanic therapy in the Upper Amazon 232
10 Cognitive structures and body metaphors in the aesthetic and everyday discourse of Turkish-Yoruk weavers 304
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