Wasan geometry


pod pic pod

    "Wasan" geometry or traditional Japanese mathematics flourished under the Tokugawa shogunate around the Edo period and expressed itself in a unique way through mathematical votive pictures called San Gaku, written in formal Sino-Japanese language and displayed in temples and public places.
Beautiful wooden tablets of many sizes and shapes would outline in pleasant and colorful way mathematical problems mostly left for the viewer to solve. This tradition slowly disappeared and today less than a thousand Sangaku have survived abandon or destruction.

   In Dr. Fukagawa and D. Pedoe own words:

   During the greater part of the Edo period (1603-1867) Japan was almost completely cut off from the western world. Books on mathematics, if they entered Japan at all, must have been scarce, and yet, during this long period of isolation people of all social classes, from farmers to samurai, produced theorems in Euclidean geometry which are remarkably different from those produced in the west during the centuries of schism, and sometimes anticipated these theorems by many years..
    These theorems were not published in books, but appeared as beautifully coloured drawings on wooden tablets which were hung under the roof in the precincts of a shrine or temple.


pod pic pod

    The following is an extended series of variations on Sangaku problems - a tribute to mathematicians and artists alike who graced the walls of many temples in eighteenth century Japan. This work would not have been made possible without the interest and dedication of mathematicians Dr. Fukagawa, Pedoe, Rothman, Kotera and the many other who provided inspiration, guidance and support throughout this adventure.

Jean Constant

Santa Fe, 6-2007


*The artworks featured in the galleries are printed 20'x20', 220g., archival fine art paper. and available for purchase, individually or in series. Contact the artist for more information.

*Site architecture & concept: courtesy Fulciniti,Campagna



©2019 Hermay NM