Some Girihs and Puzzles from the Interlocks of Similar or Complementary Figures Treatise

Reza Sarhangi
Proceedings of Bridges 2016: Mathematics, Music, Art, Architecture, Education, Culture (2016)
Pages 141–150


This paper is the second one to appear in the Bridges Proceedings that addresses some problems recorded in the Interlocks of Similar or Complementary Figures treatise. Most problems in the treatise are sketchy and some of them are incomprehensible. Nevertheless, this is the only document remaining from the medieval Persian that demonstrates how a girih can be constructed using compass and straightedge. Moreover, the treatise includes some puzzles in the transformation of a polygon into another one using mathematical formulas or dissection methods. It is believed that the document was written sometime between the 13th and 15th centuries by an anonymous mathematician/craftsman. The main intent of the present paper is to analyze a group of problems in this treatise to respond to questions such as what was in the mind of the treatise’s author, how the diagrams were constructed, is the conclusion offered by the author mathematically provable or is incorrect. All images, except for photographs, have been created by author.