of the planeis a collection of plane figuresthat fills the plane withno overlaps and no gaps. One may also speak of tessellations of the parts of the plane or of other surfaces. Generalizations to higher dimensions are also possible. Tessellationsfrequently appeared in theartof M.C. Escher . Tessellations are seen throughout art history,from ancient architecture to modern art.In Latin,
If this parallelogram pattern is colored before tiling it over a plane, seven colors arerequired to ensure each complete parallelogram has a consistent color that is distinct fromthat of adjacent areas. (To see why, we compare this tiling to the surface of aTorus.) If wetile before coloring, only four colors are needed.When discussing a tiling that is displayed in colors, to avoid ambiguity one needs to specifywhether the colors are part of the tiling or just part of its illustration. See alsocolor insymmetry.Thefour color theoremstates that for every tessellation of a normal Euclidean plane, with aset of four available colors, each tile can be colored in one color such that no tiles of equalcolor meet at a curve of positive length. Note that the coloring guaranteed by the four-color theorem will not in general respect the symmetries of the tessellation. To produce acoloring which does, as many as seven colors may be needed, as in the picture at right.
Tessellations with quadrilaterals
Copies of an arbitraryquadrilateralcan form a tessellation with 2-fold rotational centers atthe midpoints of all sides, and translational symmetry with as minimal set of translationvectors a pair according to the diagonals of the quadrilateral, or equivalently, one of theseand the sum or difference of the two. For an asymmetric quadrilateral this tiling belongs towallpaper group p2. As fundamental domain we have the quadrilateral. Equivalently, wecan construct a parallelogram subtended by a minimal set of translation vectors, startingfrom a rotational center. We can divide this by one diagonal, and take one half (a triangle)
as fundamental domain. Such a triangle has the same area as the quadrilateral and can beconstructed from it by cutting and pasting.
uses a variety of regular polygons; thereare eight of these. The arrangement of polygons at every vertex point is identical. An
is even less regular: the only requirement is that adjacent tiles onlyshare full sides, i.e. no tile shares a partial side with any other tile. Other types of tessellations exist, depending on types of figures and types of pattern. There are regular versus irregular, periodicversus aperiodic,symmetricversus asymmetric, andfractaltesselations, as well as other classifications.Penrose tilingsusing two different polygons are the most famous example of tessellationsthat createaperiodicpatterns. They belong to a general class of aperiodic tilings that can beconstructed out of self-replicatingsets of polygons by usingrecursion.A