MAA Found Math: MAA President Paul Zorn recently returned from The United Arab Emirates where a staff member at the U.S. Embassy snapped these photos and provided the following description:
The rugs show Arabic numerals in historical order from top (used in XXX (900AD) around YYY (over a millennium ago) years ago) to bottom (used today in Arabic-speaking countries).
These modern carpets, titled "Americans Count with Arabic Numerals", are on display in the central atrium of the American Embassy in Kuwait. The Arabs developed what we now call Arabic numerals; they were adopted by the West in the 900s AD. The rugs show how the Arabic numerals, now used in most of the world, gradually morphed into the Indian numeral system (also called Hindu-Arabic numerals) now used in the Arab world.