The Mathematics of Color-Reversing Decorative Friezes: Facades of Pirgí, Greece

David A. James, Loukas N. Kalisperis and Alice V. James
Meeting Alhambra, ISAMA-BRIDGES Conference Proceedings (2003)
Pages 135–142


The arts and architecture of the Greek island of Chios in the Eastern Agean reveal that it has long been exposed to a wide range of political and cultural influences. Especially interesting is the village of Pirgi, where the facades of the buildings are ornamented with plasterwork friezes. While analyzing the mathematical structure underlying the frieze designs, we discovered that the frieze artists were intuitively obeying a unique set of color-reversing rules. This new art form is explained and an innovative mathematical structure is introduced as a tool for analysis.