Illustration: Indian cotton print design, 19th century
The use of abstract geometrical decorative work can probably trace its origin back to the first pattern work produced by the human species. There is no real origin point and no nationality or cultural group can really claim precedence over others, which is as it should be. The human species, despite the contradictions of some, is a unified whole with only localised surface variations. These in turn are often only regionally and culturally based and therefore not in any way or form entrenched in physical nature.
Strict geometrically defined pattern has the line as its key factor. Without line as definition there is no real pattern work to follow. By this assumption, line can be both simple and complex. However, the initial framework on which geometrically based pattern work is often fixed, can be incredibly simplistic, sometimes being formed from a mere vertical and horizontally lined grid or a series of repeatable circles. It is interesting to note that despite the seeming simplicity underlying the traditions of geometrically formed pattern work; it has survived for countless generations and in turn has produced countless permutations.
How this initial geometrically based framework eventually becomes the rich pattern work that seems evenly spread across the planet, forming the core of many culturally diverse decorative art forms, has more to do with embellishment than anything else.