Type or Style / 15


To wrap-up this series I will here summarize the most important findings and also address some open questions. I have distinguished between type and style. I define the types according to the course of the pathway. This can best be seen in the pattern (re. pattern see related posts, below).  I attribute labyrinths with the same course of the pathway to the same type (Type or Style / 6, see related posts).

I refer to style as a trailblazing way of the graphical design of labyrinths. I have first identified five different styles (Type or Style / 7) and then added the Knidos style by Erwin as a sixth style (Type or Style / 8). Type and Style complement each other. Defining the types according to the course of the pathway is clear, transparent and allows an undoubtful attribution of the individual labyrinth examples. If we would use the style a classification of the individual labyrinth examples would be less clear.

The following figures are meant to illustrate the relationship between type and style once more.

The two upper images from the first post (Type or Style / 1) are unusual. They show the two best known types as well as styles. However, they show the types not in their corresponding usual, but in the opposite styles. That is the Cretan type in the Chartres style and the Chartres type in the Classical style. The two lower figures show the types in their corresponding styles, that are familiar to everybody: the Cretan type in the Classical style and the Chartres type in the Chartres style.

A typology according to the course of the pathway is associated with some issues:

A vast number of countless types are thinkable. However, in practice there might exist some hundreds of types of labyrinths. Nonetheless the types must be aggregated further e.g. to sub-groups, groups, families or the like. And this should be done in a clear and comprehensible way.

There are only a few types that occur frequently, i.e. to which a number of various examples are attributed (the Cretan type, type Chartres and a few others). However, there exist many types that are represented by only one example at all. This could be taken in account of in a typology by separating two corresponding groups of types.

There are labyrinth examples in which the pattern may be difficult to obtain. It is therefore also concievable, that labyrinth examples may occur, that cannot be clearly and transparently classified according to the pattern.

So far I have restricted my considerations to unicursal labyrinths. However, an increasing number of labyrinth like figures is arising, that do not adhere to this principle any more. Basically one could create a category for the unicursal types of labyrinths and add other categories for other labyrinth like figures which could then be further subdivided to types.

Giving adequate names to the types is another problem per se. My way to deal with this is to give a type the name of the earliest published example. However I have not consequently adopted this rule. I have left unchanged the names of the most popular types, even if these had not been named after the earliest published example (e.g. Cretan type, type Chartres, type Ravenna, type Saffron Walden). Also this rule is not without problems as not all examples can be sufficiently dated. Furthermore there is always a possibility that an up to now unknown earlier example can be detected.

Related posts:

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