Vesica piscis  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The vesica piscis is a type of lens, a mathematical shape formed by the intersection of two disks with the same radius, intersecting in such a way that the center of each disk lies on the perimeter of the other. In Latin, "vesica piscis" literally means "bladder of a fish", reflecting the shape's resemblance to the conjoined dual air bladders ("swim bladder") found in most fish. In Italian, the shape's name is mandorla ("almond").

This figure appears in the first proposition of Euclid's Elements, where it forms the first step in constructing an equilateral triangle using a compass and straightedge. The triangle has as its vertices the two disk centers and one of the two sharp corners of the vesica piscis.

See also

  • Flower of Life, a figure based upon this principle
  • Villarceau circles, a pair of congruent circles derived from a torus that, however, are not usually centered on each other's perimeter




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Vesica piscis" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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