# Quincunx

*This article is about the geometric pattern of five units. Sir Francis Galton also gave the name "quincunx" to the machine he invented for demonstrating the normal distribution - also known as the bean machine.*

**Quincunx** expresses the arrangement of five units in the pattern corresponding to the five-spot on dice, playing cards, or dominoes. A quincunx looks like this:

The quincunx pattern originates from

Pythagorean mathematical

mysticism. This pattern lies at the heart of the Pythagorean tetraktys, a pyramid of ten dots. To the

Pythagoreans the number

five held particular significance and the quincunx pattern represented this. Sir

Thomas Browne moulds his mystical discourse

*The Garden of Cyrus* (

1658) on the quincunx pattern.

*The power of the Pythagorean mysteries is based upon a mystical understanding of the mathematical order of the Universe which could be summed up in visual representation of such numbers as the Tetraktys (10) and the Quincunx (5)*.
- - Robert Graves,
*The White Goddess*