Babylonian clay tablets and cuneiform

I spent my last day in New York City traipsing over as much of Manhattan as my 13-year-old and I could cover in 4 hours. To that end, we headed up the east side of Central Park to the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World housed in a building most notable for the fact that it doesn’t stand out from the buildings around it in any way.

Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

We were there because I wanted to see “Before Pythagoras: The Culture of Old Babylonian Mathematics.” I suppose (because of my own curiosity and excitement) that I had been expecting neon banners, but instead the street was quiet, and when we entered, there were only two other visitors. When they left, it was just me, my son, and two guards.

The tablets, it turns out, were sort of the Moleskine notebooks of their day. Teachers would write on one side of the tablet, and students would work on the other. There were even small “lentil” shaped tablets, perhaps similar to the one below:

Babylonian clay tablet
Babylonian clay tablet

Part of what I like about crochet is probably related to what I like about math: the opportunity to see how the pieces fit together.

If there is a recurring theme in my crochet, it is that I tend to make small pieces and then join them into a larger whole.

My first project of note that employed this was my entry for the 2008 North Carolina State Fair:

crochet blanket made from over 1000 crochet squares
Pixelghan

Composed of 1681 1.75″ squares arranged in a 41 by 41 array, the purpose of this piece was to see what would happen if I used a large number of different colors and juxtaposed them one against another based on what was pleasing to me as I assembled it.

Before I began the project, I spent several weeks working out the particulars of what size hook to use and just exactly how the pieces would be finished and then fitted together. I wanted the end result to be as square as I could get it.

I don’t know exactly how today’s exhibit will work itself into my crochet; the only thing I know for sure is that it will.

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One thought on “Babylonian clay tablets and cuneiform

  1. Hi….wondered if you had a blog?
    Just can’t wait to start one of the ball ends giant granny squares
    Should have something to see by tonight lol
    That’s 3 projects on the go now!
    Hugs Suz x

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