The Complementaries of the Three Very Interesting Historical Labyrinths with 4 Arms and 11 Circuits

In addition to the universally known labyrinth of Chartres and the less popular labyrinth of Reims a third, much less known, very interesting (interesting and self-dual) medieval labyrinth with 4 arms and 11 circuits has been preserved. This is sourced from a manuscript that is stored in the municipal library of Auxerre. Therefore I have named it as Type Auxerre.

At the end of this series I want to show these three labyrinths and their complementaries.

In the three following figures I start with the original labyrinth (image on top left).

From this I obtain the pattern by unrolling the Ariadne’s Thread of it (image on top right).

Then I mirror the pattern vertically without interrupting the connections to the exterior and to the center. This results in the pattern of the complementary labyrinth (image on bottom right).

Then I curl in this pattern to obtain the complementary labyrinth (image on bottom left).

Fig. 1 shows this procedure with the example of the labyrinth of Auxerre. This labyrinth is not recorded in Kern [1]. The image of the original labyrinth was taken from Saward [2] who sourced it from Wright [3].

Figure 1. Labyrinth of Auxerre and Complementary

Fig. 2 shows the labyrinth of Reims and the complementary of it. The image of the original labyrinth was sourced from Kern [1].

Figure 2. Labyrinth of Reims and Complementary

Finally, the labyrinth of Chartres and it’s complementary are presented in fig. 3. The image of the original labyrinth was sourced from Kern [1].

Figure 3. Labyrinth of Chartres and Complementary

With these considerations I wanted to point out that three historical labyrinths exist with a similar degree of perfection as Chartres. Together with their complementaries we now have present six very interesting labyrinths with 4 arms, 11 circuits and a similar degree of perfection.

[1] Kern, H. Through the Labyrinth. Prestel, Munich 2000.
[2] Saward J. Labyrinths and Mazes. Gaia, London 2003.
[3] Wright C. The Maze and the Warrior. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Massachusetts) 2001.

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5 thoughts on “The Complementaries of the Three Very Interesting Historical Labyrinths with 4 Arms and 11 Circuits

  1. Pingback: How to Draw a Man-in-the-Maze Labyrinth / 14 | blogmymaze

  2. Pingback: How to make a Classical (Minoan) Labyrinth from a Medieval Labyrinth, Part 1 | blogmymaze

  3. Grateful thanks for your time and most interesting additions, Dear Andreas !

    I saw Hébert’s work before his passing away that happened just before my intention to write him to discuss my view that the Chartres design is the most perfect design stemming from the ‘classic/Cretan/Cnossos’, more than the Reims one he favoured (and which is the French official board appended on all archeological trasures in France). I did write to his nephew who intended to save his work and so he did, but apparently most people still don’t know it is still there, including me! So I was happily surprised a couple of days ago to find it back in your blog by ‘Jamie’, which I forgot…

    Let me add here that all my labyrinthine ‘accomplishments’ (if I may call them that way), that you kindly recommended, are humble personal, non scholar thoughts. The ‘logical (geometric) history’ of Chartres labyrinths and beyond’ as I like to present it in publications and workshops is to be appreciated by its suggestive, apparently logic, funny and poetical edge, because indeed, as you very carefully point here, this is a difficult matter buried long ago in the fabulous remains.

    Thanks again for pursuing your important work (that I’m still far from having studied in totality), and be assured I will quote it in further labyrinthine publications! At least, those who browse my work in Google Images now most happily find already many instances of ‘blogmymaze’ nuggets !


  4. Dear Andreas,
    Here comes indeed again a very interesting contribution, which I most unfortunately don’t have the time to study now in detail.
    However, I take the time to write an answer, because it reminded me of the interesting work of regretted Jacques Hébert.
    I tried to look it up at the Internet address I referenced in my first Bridges paper “Amazing Labyrinths”, and didn’t find it back: completely erased on the Internet… I started to get nervous about this, and found again your paper on the St Omer labyrinth,, the one where I discovered your tremendous work, and where I wrote my first answer to your blog. Then the miracle why I write now : the preceding reader of your article had retrieved another source for Hébert’s work, AND IT STILL WORKS !
    Now I’d suspect that the Labyrinth you call Auxerre, coming from two references I don’t have, might belong to the series of 20 labyrinths Hébert mentions. As he didn’t made drawings of all 20, here is a document in his work still available who might help us elucidate this point :
    Hoping to get more time to enter this myself, you might get there more rapidly than me…
    Thanks again for all,


    • Dear Sam
      Thank you very much for your educative and important comment.
      I was considering to add a paragraph on Hébert’s 20 canonical labyrinths, but finally did not do so. This because I didn’t have them available and also couldn’t find them on the internet. Further, I don’t remember exactly the details of his work. Also it would have reached far beyond the main subject of my post.
      Now with your link it is possible to view the former website of Hébert. THERE we can find images of 8 of the 20 canonical labyrinths:
      Lo and behold: Example 1 is my type Auxerre!
      Among his 20 canonical labyrinths there are also uninteresting examples, here examples 2 and 20. And there are more than the six very interesting labyrinths I show in my post.
      Furthermore this brings us to a next issue: Hébert calls example 1 “The authentic Sens labyrinth”. So, like Craig Wright and Jeff Sawart (my two references you don’t have), he feels this is the true design of the labyrinth formerly laid in Sens cathedral, and not the one depicted in Kern. However, Myers Shelton found: “neither of the two received designs of the vanished labyrinth in Sens cathedral has enough historical support to be accepted as the historically correct one”. [Myers Shelton. The True Design of Sens. Caerdroia 2009; 39: 28-32.]. I agree with this conclusion and therefore do not speculate which might have been the true example of Sens. Hence I left the naming unchanged and just named the newly discovered example after the site where it was sourced from: Auxerre.
      Best, Andreas


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