Science & Mathematics
African Heritage Classroom
Science and Mathematics
The Rear Wall Frieze
The frieze honors African mathematical and scientific sys tems. Reading from left to right, the frieze depicts:
PROBLEM SIX FROM PHARAONIC EGYPT'S RHIND MATHEMATICAL PAPYRUS - how to divide nine loaves of bread among 10 men so that each receives the fewest number of pieces, each of the same size
AKAN symbols for addition, multiplication, and division.
AKAN GOLD WEIGHT – used to measure and weigh gold.
MAGIC SQUARE – created by Nigerian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Muhammad in the 18th century. The numbers add to 15 horizontally, vertically, and along both diagonals. The square contains an intentional error.
SUN AND SIRIUS as represented by the Dogon people of Mali. The key to creation for the Dogon is a small star that revolves around Sirius. Scientists are baffled by the origin of this concept among the Dogon since the star of Sirius is almost invisible to the unaided eye.
DOGON UNIVERSE – the Dogon of Mali picture the universe as a structure having the sun as a circular base with steps leading up to a square top, the sky, holding a circular moon.