Mathematics in Rangolee Art from India

Madhuri Bapat
Bridges Leeuwarden: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2008)
Pages 429–432


Rangolee is an ancient art of floor decoration from India, built on rectangular or hexagonal arrays of dots which serve as base for designs and patterns based on abstractions from the natural/cultural world. In this paper we categorize rangolee designs according to the method by which they are created and the motives that appear in them. We link these traditional and contemporary designs with patterns and models that have arisen independently in the world of mathematics. This includes a variety of symmetry groups, spirals, mirror curves, fractal self-similarity, and processes of iteration. Could daily practice of these designs transfer as kinesthetic intelligence in children? We discuss this and make a suggestion of how rangolee art might be used as an enjoyable educational practice for children.