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A challenge for you... how many tesserae?

Welcome! To help you when you finish with this page, let me give you links back to where you may have come from. You may have come from my Flat Earth Academy. You may have come from my report on my visit to the marvelous Art Naji workshops and salesrooms, in Fes, Morocco.. Where ever you have come from- Welcome! Enjoy!

How many tesserae (bits of shaped glazed pottery) in the mosaic? The close up with the knife is looking at the right hand margin of the mosaic. The Nice Lady below is about 1.7 m tall. The Swiss Army knife is 95mm long. (You don't necessarily need those figures... but there they are, if they help you work out how many tesserae there are.) And do take time out from the science and maths to marvel at the beauty of the art.

Apologies: I don't have an answer to my "how many?" question. That's for you to work out!. I would be interested to hear reports on what you did, especially if you send something I can post here!

Science isn't aways about knowing an answer. It is also about how you measure, how you work out, things. Have a go!

Why don't you start with something easy? How many tesserae just in the border, just between the two narrow white lines near the left and right limits of what is the image with the Swiss army knife?

Tessera: Start with multiple glazed clay tiles, in different colors. AFTER the tile has been fired, and is hard, then carefully "cut" pieces to the size and shape you need. Mostly done with small hammers with a "chipping" blade....


By the way: The white bits are also tesserae, not mere grout.

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Spoiler alert...

In a moment, I will give you my estimate of the number of tesserae in PART of the masterpiece....

My guess-timate, just the count of the tesserae in the specified part of the border? A bit (3%) less than ten for each year between when BC became AD and we entered the 2xxx's...

And that's only a small part of the whole. There are parts where the tesserae are larger... but more parts, I think, where they are smaller....

I didn't ask the price of that particular piece.

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