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February 23, 2003
Sub Series 68-69

There was a tiny square hidden in a book about ornament in art. (One could imagine why that would interest me.) The square was a five by five board with numbers in each field. This magic-square, as it was called allowed a chess knight to travel from one corner to the next by jumping from number to number, from 1 to 25. I drew the square and next to it a version without numbers, where I just traveled the path of the little wooden horse. The path drew a very symmetrical object, somehow reminding me of the elaborate ornamentation I have seen in some medieval manuscripts. I thought that maybe some of the objects on the margins of prayer books might in fact have been encoded magical squares, messages from those who had to copy the books, signs of intelligence and wit. I left some room for other magic squares and drew this silly sled horse on the other page. Oh well.
It was much later, when I watched one of the Ray and Charles Eames DVDs, that I remembered the magic squares. WHo would have thought that Benjamin Franklin was very interested in the exploration of such special constellations of numbers. There is even an 8x8 square named after him. His square contains some pretty interesting constellations symmetries and connections, as one can see in this animation, or here. The franklin square is certainly not the most famous one. The most famous and astonishing magical-squares might be the other two on the left hand side. The 4x4 one is taken from Albrecht Dürer's Melancholia, or so I thought. It appears that the one I wrote down somewhere is a strange mirror image. The Magical square below, the one with 3x3 fields is the most famous one of them all, supposedly the very first magic square known to man. It is the Loh-Shu square from 2800 B.C. and legend says that it was first found on the back of a turtle.
Once we begin to explore the world of Magic figures, things become so incredibly fascinating that I have the feeling that this will need be something we will need to return to very soon.


Wo ich gerade das Karo und das Pferd sehe. Hier in Deutschland war am Samstag ein kleiner Junge bei einer Wett-Show im TV. Der hat mit dem Pferd und dem gültigen Zug jedes Feld auf einem Schachbrett markiert ohne auf einem zweimal zu landen. Das war recht eindrucksvoll.

Posted by: Dominik Gwosdek on February 24, 2003 01:05 PM

Speaking of numbers, my favorite number is 2520, it is the lowest number evenly divisible by the integers 1-10. Not that you were talking about favorite numbers but I just wanted to through in my two cents and feel smart. Have a great day.

Posted by: Ducky on February 25, 2003 01:49 PM
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