Type or Style / 4

The Typology at Begehbare Labyrinthe (BL)

In the meantime, this typology has been completely reworked and is not valid anymore. For the new valid typology see my post The New Typology of Begehbare Labyrinthe.

The website BL contains a list of types of labyrinths. Unfortunately it is not possible to directly link to it. Therefore the link to the typology has to be found on the homepage (right half lower area). From the types, the user is directed by links to the corresponding labyrinth examples. The typology refers to the labyrinths listed in the catalogue of the website and in this respect seems complete. I find it very useful, when the labyrinth types are illustrated with a full image. Unfortunately, this is not the case in every type.

It is not clear, what constitutes a type of a labyrinth. Some types may differ with respect to the layout. E.g there are separate types for the labyrinths of Chartres and Amiens. Both have the same course of the pathway, albeit on different layouts. And also, the well-known alternating one-arm labyrinths with the level sequence 3-2-1-4-7-6-5, referred to as the “Cretan type” by Kern, can be found here in five different types, a. o. in the „Labyrinth-Typ Otfrid 7, Umgänge“.

In other types, the layout plays no role. So the type „klassisches Labyrinth, drei Umgänge“ is illustrated with a rectangular and a circular variant of it. These have both the same course of the pathway. However, not all examples of this type are attributed correctly. The labyrinth of Köln-Bocklemünd clearly has another course of the pathway.

Some other types’ names or attributions of labyrinth examples are confusing. For instance, a four-arm and a one-arm labyrinth example are attributed to the „Labyrinth-Typ Chartres, 8 Umgänge“ (fig. 1).


Figure 1. Typ Chartres, 8 Umgänge

It is not understandable, what these, particularly the one-arm labyrinth, have to do with Chartres (pro memoria: Chartres has 4 arms, 11 circuits asf.).

Quite a lot of types and examples of labyrinths are assembled in the „Labyrinth-Typ Chartres 7 Umgänge“. Even though all types illustrated there have four arms, they have different courses of the pathway, that deviate strongly from the original Chartres type. None of them has a high quality and order comparable with Chartres.

All these labyrinths with four arms and 7 circuits have less in common with the labyrinth of Chartres than the labyrinth of Grey’s Court (fig. 2). If any four-arm labyrinth with 7 circuits could be justifiably be referred to as „Labyrinth-Typ Chartres, 7 Umgänge“, this would in first line apply to the Grey’s Court labyrinth.


Figure 2. Labyrinth Typ Grey’s Court (Chartres), 7 Umgänge

This, however, is treated as a labyrinth type of it’s own „Labyrinth-Typ Grey’s Court (Chartres), 7 Umgänge“. In my opinion this is correct. But, consequently, the other labyrinths listed under the type „Labyrinth-Typ Chartres, 7 Umgänge“ would then have to be treated as separate labyrinth types too.

It beats me, what the following labyrinth (fig. 3) has to do with Ravenna. There exists a labyrinth of the type Ravenna. However, this has 7 circuits and a clearly different course of the pathway.


Figure 3. Labyrinth Typ Ravenna, 5 Umgänge

This type, called „Labyrinth-Typ Ravenna, 5 Umgänge“ can be directly derived from the Chartres labyrinth. The course of the pathway is almost identic with the five innermost or the five outermost circuits of the Chartres type labyrinth. .It is therefore also known as „Inner Chartres“ oder „Outer Chartres“. So rather this type could be labelled as type Chartres, 5 circuits.

“Labyrinth Typ Chartres, 5 Umgänge”, however, is used here as a name for another type of labyrinth (fig. 4).


Figure 4. Labyrinth Typ Chartres, 5 Umgänge

Except for the four arms, this type of labyrinth has hardly anything in common with the original Chartres type.

The website BL draws the attention to contemporary walkable labyrinths. Among these, there are many examples of common historical labyrinth types, particularly of the Cretan and Chartres types. However, a surprising high number of new labyrinths with an original course of the pathway can be found there. The definitions of the types and the attributions of individual examples to the types seem to be quite arbitrary.

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3 thoughts on “Type or Style / 4

  1. Pingback: The New Typology of Begehbare Labyrinthe | blogmymaze

  2. Pingback: Type or Style / 12 | blogmymaze

  3. Pingback: Type or Style / 5 | blogmymaze

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