Learning and creating designs with African Fractals
Many African designs are based on "fractals" -- patterns that repeat themselves at many scales (also called "scaling patterns"). To learn more you can order the book African Fractals by clicking here
Creating fractals with recursive line replacement (applet inspired by Peter Van Roy)
in the 19th and early 20th century invented several fractal patterns.
Later Benoit Mandelbrot showed the practical application to modeling natural objects:
Fractal shapes abound in traditional African designs, from architecture to textiles.
Creating fractals with transformational geometry
Another scaling design from Africa is this Mangbetu ivory sculpture
Logarithmic scaling in an african windscreen
You can build a paper model to explore scaling patterns in an African windscreen
Some examples of recursion in African material culture are numeric. The "marching formation" in the game of Owari offers insight into African concepts of iteration, self-organization, and related phenomena. Click here to experiment with these numeric patterns.
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