The Native American Labyrinth (The man in the maze)

There is a classical labyrinth in a quite special form: The man in the maze. It is to find above all on the baskets of the Native Americans in the US which have presumably also developed this type.

The Native American labyrinth

The Native American labyrinth

It is round, but the goal is not in the middle. If one looks exactly, one recognises the four points of inflexion of the classical labyrinth. They also mark four corners of a square.

The subdivision in 8 segments is new, they also allow to think of the spokes of a wheel. Thus gets in addition a movement towards the centre and away from the centre. The order of paths is again 3-2-1-4-7-6-5-8; well-known from the classical type. The “path changes” always occur on the 9th and 10th ring. The 11th is as it were the stationary pole or the hub.

Painting

Painting

Sand picture

Sand picture

Silver jewellery

Silver jewellery

In artistic representations this type often appears, hardly as a walkable labyrinth. But it would absolutely be interesting to walk and to perceive such a labyrinth.

You can see a Flash animation on the website mymaze.

If you would like to build such a labyrinth: Please, here you may find the layout drawing as PDF file to look on, to print or to copy.

Postscript from March 2012:
Meanwhile I walked such a labyrinth in the Netherlands. You will find the post of this visit here:
Dolen in dit doolhof: The Willow Labyrinth at Ijsselstein(NL)

13 thoughts on “The Native American Labyrinth (The man in the maze)

  1. Hey ! I have the same tattoo ! I didn’t even know that this symbol has so massive meaning. But, when I was planning to do that I already had the same meaning for this symbol as the Native Americans )))

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  2. Pingback: Wie zeichne ich ein Man-in-the-Maze Labyrinth? | bloggermymaze

  3. Pingback: How to Draw a Man-in-the-Maze Labyrinth | blogmymaze

    • @Rick,
      up to now I don’t know an easy way to draw this type of labyrinth. You surely are thinking at a kind of pattern to use?
      Maybe someone can ask a maker of this baskets how they are working?

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      • Yes.. I was just thinking of an easy step by step way to construct a drawing of the man in the maze.. which I find to be an amazing and quite moving image. Your blog is fantastic by the way.. such a lot of labyrinths! When I was little I went to an infants school in a village called Alkborough in the UK which is where Julian’s Bower, a very lovely medieval turf maze is situated. I live in Leicestershire now and recently went off to see the turf maze at a village called Wing.

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      • I have been at Alkborough and at Wing also some years ago while visiting nearly all the British turf labyrinths on a tour by Jeff and Kimberly Saward.

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  4. Regarding the comments above about getting the man in the maze tattoo…

    Greetings to all!

    I am a Native American hailing from the great Northwest Plateau People as well as an artist working in both Native American as well as other forms of Art in various mediums…In regard to the symbol being sacred, as a fellow Native American, I will not contest this point in the least. Nevertheless, as an artist as well as a fellow human being I am inclined to disagree with the right of its use. To me, art is one of the highest forms of communication that human beings can possibly endeavor to achieve, it is the conveyance of thought, emotion, and information without requiring any need for written or spoken word. It is something that we use to “feel” with. And although we are quick to observe its effect upon ourselves, we rarely have the mind to consider the effect that “ourselves” have upon art. Art can take many forms and symbolism is a powerful tool in effectively communicating a message. I would be quite taken aback if any of my art utilizing any symbols were suddenly scrutinized and criticized because of the fact that I used a symbol that I got from anywhere! Especially since if I decided to use it, it was because I found it to be a powerful tool in creating my intended message, and it was done so with not only respect, but with great reverence, honor, and pride. My intent was never to offend, ridicule, or desecrate anything or anyone in the process, and I would readily apologize to anyone that believed so, just as I would pray that they find a stronger path through this great mystery that does not involve seeking out and defining the wrongs of others…

    As for tattoo’s, I would hope that anyone getting a tattoo has put a great deal of thought into what they wanted to represent on their very body for the rest of their life, and that to choose such a symbol as mentioned, I believe that the reason that they chose it was not just for aesthetic value, but for what the symbol actually represented – all of this lending it reverence to it indeed. And as a Native American, I also believe in the Indian way of life, and practice its philosophy, and promote it as well as I am able. In doing so I promote the use of such symbolism – its free advertisement for a better way of life!

    Thank you for your time,

    A humble spirit

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  5. Regarding the two comments above about getting the man in the maze tattoo, I would seriously reconsider choosing the design as a tattoo. The man in the maze is a sacred symbol of O’odham peoples (aka Pima Indians) in the American southwest, and unless you are a member of one our tribes, it’s inappropriate to use this symbol in any way, shape or form. Please click the following link for further information: http://firstpeoples.tumblr.com/post/55750629005/hey-you-get-off-of-my-culture-the-man-in-the-maze

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  6. A couple of years ago, i was searching for a very “Unique” art form for my first tattoo, that I was so captivated with “the Man in the Maze” that I got it for my first tattoo

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