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World Tessellation Day – June 17, 2023

World Tessellation Day is celebrated on June 17 every year. Tessellation is the art of tiling a plane using geometric shapes in the form of tiles that require specific measurements. This holiday is dedicated to appreciating the fascinating art of tessellation and honoring these math-inspired visual artists who don’t often get recognized. Today also allows kids to explore this art form as a hobby. While it’s all about creativity, it also requires analytical skills — a great exercise to boost young children’s left and right brain functions. Learn more about the activities you can do to celebrate World Tessellation Day.

History of World Tessellation Day

The origin of the mathematical art of creating patterns, or tessellation, dates back to 4000 B.C. when ancient Sumerians discovered the use of clay tiles as home and temple decorations. It wasn’t too long until the next civilizations quickly adopted tessellation both in art and architecture. The Arabs, Chinese, Egyptians, Japanese, Romans, Persians, and the Moors practiced the use of repeated patterns and geometric designs in their decorative arts. During the classical antiquity period in the 8th century, tessellation became a staple for mosaic tiling decorations using small square blocks called ‘tesserae.’

In the 4th century, one of the most famous tessellation art was made by the Muslim Moors in Grenada, Spain: the Alhambra, an Islamic tessellation artwork composed of countless tiles in geometric positions that were constructed for the residence and court of Mohammed ibn Yusuf Ben Nasr.

In 1619, Johannes Kepler conducted the first official and documented study of tessellation art. In his book “Harmonice Kundi,” he cited regular and semi-regular geometric designs that heavily influenced modern-day tessellation. He’s also the first person to explore and document the hexagonal features of honeycomb and snowflakes.

In 1891, Russian crystallographer Yevgraf Fyodorov explained in a more advanced study that every periodic tiling in a plane has one of 17 isometries. This study marks the first official recognition of tessellation as a mathematical study. This was further explored by Otto Kienzl and Heinrich Heesch in 1964, and Alexei Shubnikov and Nikolain Belov in 1964.

Today, contemporary artists introduced different modern permutations such as surreal landscapes, hand-print patterns, and paper tessellations.

World Tessellation Day timeline

4000 B.C.
The Birth of Tessellation

Sumerians introduce tessellation using clay tiles.

4th Century
The Most Famous Tessellation Art

Muslim Moors construct the Alhambra as a residence and court for Mohammed ibn Yusuf Ben Nasr.

1619
The First Study of Tessellation Art

Johannes Kepler studies and explains regular and semi-regular geometric designs of tessellation art.

1891
Tessellation as a Mathematical Study

Russian crystallographer Yevgraf Fyodorov introduces tessellation as a form of math.

World Tessellation Day FAQs

In what can I find tessellation art?

Tessellation art exists in fabric patterns, chess boards, tiled floors, and brick walls, to name a few.

What is another term for tessellation?

Other terms for tessellation are grid, matrix, or plexus.

What shapes do not tessellate?

Circles, ovals, and oblongs do not tessellate.

World Tessellation Day Activities

  1. Create your own tessellation art

    From tiles to paper designs, you can create your own tessellation art design by just using the simplest materials found in your home. Follow D.I.Y. tutorials on YouTube and let your creative juices flow.

  2. Take tessellation courses

    Tessellation art classes are ideal for kids who show artistic and creative potential. Enroll your child in your local art school and let them take weekend classes to boost their creativity and analytical capacity.

  3. Try digital tessellation art

    Spend the day on your laptop and try out the latest tessellation trend: digital art patterns. There are several apps for tessellation making. Be sure to save your final product and upload it on your social media with the hashtag #TessellationDay

5 Interesting Facts About Tessellation

  1. Only three regular polygons tile a plane

    Only a square, triangle, and hexagon can completely tile a plane.

  2. A cube in 3.D.

    A Cube in 3.D. is the only regular polyhedron that can independently tessellate.

  3. Tessellation is science

    Science supports that beehive honeycombs, snowflakes, and dried-up mud are all geometric.

  4. Three ways to construct a tessellation

    The three categories of tessellation construction are translation, reflection, and rotation.

  5. The father of modern tessellation

    Dutch artist M.C. Escher is considered the father of modern tessellation.

Why We Love World Tessellation Day

  1. It uses both the left and right brain

    Tessellation art is a good exercise to be both creative and mathematical. Unlike other art projects, tessellating requires math while executing your creative vision. It’s perfect for kids’ brain development.

  2. Tessellation in fashion is trending

    The minimalist era of fashion is on the rise. Tessellation designs of repeated patterns on clothes are hip and trendy. It’s a great excuse to wear these designs on World Tessellation Day.

  3. It’s an underappreciated art

    Not many people know about the cultural, scientific, and mathematical history of tessellation. It’s a great way to introduce this to people to honor the artists and scholars who dedicate their lives to this art form.

World Tessellation Day dates

YearDateDay
2023June 17Saturday
2024June 17Monday
2025June 17Tuesday
2026June 17Wednesday
2027June 17Thursday

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