Ring of Four Almonds and the Omar Khayyam's Triangle in Islamic Art Design

이슬람 예술 디자인에서 회전하는 알몬드와 오마르 하얌의 삼각형

  • Received : 2019.07.04
  • Accepted : 2019.08.20
  • Published : 2019.08.31


In this paper, we examine the brief history of the ring of four almonds regarding Mesopotamian mathematics, and present reasons why the Omar Khayyam's triangle, a special right triangle in a ring of four almonds, was essential for artisans due to its unique pattern. We presume that the ring of four almonds originated from a point symmetry figure given two concentric squares used in the proto-Sumerian Jemdet Nasr period (approximately 3000 B.C.) and a square halfway between two given concentric squares used during the time of the Old Akkadian period (2340-2200 B.C.) and the Old Babylonian age (2000-1600 B.C.). Artisans tried to create a new intricate pattern as almonds and 6-pointed stars by subdividing right triangles in the pattern of the popular altered Old Akkadian square band at the time. Therefore, artisans needed the Omar Khayyam's triangle, whose hypotenuse equals the sum of the short side and the perpendicular to the hypotenuse. We presume that artisans asked mathematicians how to construct the Omar Khayyam's triangle at a meeting between artisans and mathematicians in Isfahan. The construction of Omar Khayyam's triangle requires solving an irreducible cubic polynomial. Omar Khayyam was the first to classify equations of integer polynomials of degree up to three and then proceeded to solve all types of cubic equations by means of intersections of conic sections. Omar Khayyam's triangle gave practical meaning to the type of cubic equation $x^3+bx=cx^2+a$. The work of Omar Khayyam was completed by Descartes in the 17th century.


Supported by : Inha University


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