African Basketry: Interweaving Art and Mathematics in Mozambique

Paulus Gerdes
Proceedings of Bridges 2011: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Culture (2011)
Pages 9–16 Regular Papers


The paper presents instances of mathematical ideas interwoven in the artistic decoration of handbags, hats, mats, and other products of basketry from several regions of Mozambique. In particular, examples of female basketry from the Tonga in the Southeast and the Makwe in the extreme Northeast of the country are given and analysed. Further examples from the Makhuwa population in the Northeast and from circular tray weavers in the South are briefly presented.