Seed Patterns of One-arm Labyrinths

The seed pattern for the walls of the labyrinth has belonged to the common knowledge about labyrinths for many years or even decades. The seed pattern for the Cretan-type labyrinth has been widely published, and the Labyrinth Society even uses it in the logo. Kern has described the seed pattern as a tool for the construction of labyrinths and has illustrated the process for a couple of different labyrinth types, referring to suggestions by Thordrup and Löwenstein (figure 1).

Figure 1. Construction of labyrinths

Figure 1. Construction of labyrinths

Source: Hermann Kern. Through the Labyrinth; Designs and Meanings over 5000 Years. Munich Prestel 2000; p. 34, fig. 6.

Series A and B show the construction of a Cretan-type and a Hesselager-type labyrinth, based on illustrations by Thordrup. Series C after suggestions of Löwenstein shows seven labyrinths with a varying number of circuits. These were constructed in the same manner as the labyrinths of series A and B and include these both types of labyrinths.

A very interesting contribution can be found on the website of Tony Phillips who uses the seed pattern for the walls to describe a number of interesting alternating one-arm labyrinths for a varying number of circuits.

The seed pattern for the Ariadne’s Thread was discovered by Gundula Thormaehlen-Friedman for the Cretan type labyrinth and was first published by Erwin on this blog. But of course the seed pattern can be drawn for every type of a one-arm labyrinth. The following figures illustrate three such examples.

Figure 2. Tholos

Figure 2. Tholos

Figure 2 shows the seed patterns for the walls and for the Ariadne’s Thread of the Tholos labyrinth. The labyrinth lies inside the inner ring of columns of the Tholos of Epidauros. Inside this ring there are three circuits. The outermost of these three circuits is not accessible from the surrounds and is interrupted by a wall. On this circuit the pathway ends on each side of this wall. From this (dashed) circuit the pathway turns into the core-labyrinth, consisting of only the two innermost circuits. The seed pattern is shown for the core-labyrinth.

Figure 3. St. Gallen

Figure 3. St. Gallen

The labyrinth of St. Gallen shown in fig. 3 is one of the rare examples of a one-arm labyrinth with the pathway crossing the axis. This is indicated on the seed pattern for the Ariadne’s Thread with two slim vertical lines. Thus, a seed pattern can also be drawn for these types of labyrinths. And therefore for the seed pattern it is irrelevant whether the pathway does or does not traverse the axis.

Figure 4. Cakra vyuh

Figure 4. Cakra vyuh

The Cakra vyuh shown in figure 4 is a very interesting labyrinth too. The seed pattern for the Ariadne’s Thread shows this very clearly. This labyrinth has a pattern that consists of alternating serpentines and single (Erwin’s: type 4-) meanders.

Generally, the seed pattern for the Ariadne’s Thread is simpler and easier to read than the seed pattern for the walls.

The seed patterns for 22 one-arm labyrinths are accessible here.

Conclusion: A seed pattern can be drawn for every one-arm labyrinth and, vice versa, every one-arm labyrinth-type can be constructed using a seed pattern.

3 thoughts on “Seed Patterns of One-arm Labyrinths

  1. Pingback: Seed Pattern – Shifting the Center / 2 « blogmymaze

  2. Pingback: Seed Pattern – Shifting the Center « blogmymaze

  3. Pingback: Un- / interesting labyrinths « blogmymaze

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