Symmetry analysis of embroideries on Greek women's chemises

P. A. Reinhardt, University of Rhode Island
L. Welters, University of Rhode Island


Symmetry analysis is a tool for classifying one- and two-dimensional patterns. A total of seven arrangements are possible for one-dimensional patterns. This project applied symmetry analysis to the embroideries on traditional women's chemises from various regions of Greece to determine preference for specific symmetry types. The embroidered bands, columns, and free-standing motifs on the hems of three hundred-eighteen chemises were analyzed. The data were sorted to determine the frequency of pattern arrangements as they pertain to each region and ethnic group. The results showed that although each of the seven possible pattern arrangements were present in the embroideries of the chemises analyzed, only two symmetries were dominant. Vertical reflection was the most commonly found classification followed by vertical and horizontal symmetry occurring simultaneously. Pattern arrangements varied by region rather than by ethnic group. Chemises with horizontal bands displayed a greater variety of symmetry types than chemises with vertical columns and free-standing motifs. The technique of symmetry analysis has widespread applicability to other textile designs with repeating patterns.