Perfect design? Why Greek keys are thousands of years old and still in style

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This article was originally written by Elizabeth Mayhew for The Washington Post.

Use of motif in homes strikes the right balance between decorative and simple, ancient and modern, masculine and feminine all at same time

On a recent trip to London, I spent a morning wandering the antiquity galleries of the British Museum and was reminded – as I always am – that so many patterns and designs we use today are actually as old as time.

Perhaps there is no motif this is truer of than the Greek key, which is even older than its name suggests. 

Variations of the design are found on Egyptian tombs, ancient Chinese buildings and sculptures and Mayan carvings. 

Still, we most closely associate the linear geometric pattern with the Greeks and their mosaic floors, red and black pots, and masterfully carved marble friezes.

Greek key, also referred to as meander, is in its most basic form a linear pattern. 

The design is made up of a long, continuous line that repeatedly folds back on itself, mimicking the ancient Maeander River of Asia Minor with its many twists and turns.