Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Quite simply: By leaving off the barriers in the minor axes. I have already tried this with the Chartres labyrinth (see related posts below). But is that also possible with every other Medieval labyrinth?

As an example I have chosen the type Auxerre that Andreas showed here recently. This labyrinth is self dual as are Chartres and Reims, therefore of special quality. And they all have a complementary version.

The Auxerre labyrinth

The Auxerre labyrinth

Here the original with all the lines and the path in the labyrinth, Ariadne’s thread. The barriers in the minor axes are identical with those of the Chartres type. There is only another arrangement of the turning points (the lanes 4, 5, 7, 8) in the middle of the main axis.

The original Auxerre labyrinth without the barriers

The original Auxerre labyrinth without the barriers

The barriers are omitted. When drawing Ariadne’s thread, I found that four tracks could not be inserted. Hence, I have anew numbered the circuits and there remain now 7 circuits instead of the original 11. However, this also means that by changing this Medieval labyrinth into a concentric Classical labyrinth through this method no 11 circuit labyrinth is generated, but a 7 circuit.

The 7 circuit circular Cretan labyrinth

The 7 circuit circular Cretan labyrinth

If one looks more exactly at it, one recognises the well-known path sequence: 3-2-1-4-7-6-5-8. We got a Cretan labyrinth in concentric style.

Now we turn to the complementary labyrinth:

The complementary Auxerre labyrinth

The complementary Auxerre labyrinth

The complementary labyrinth is generated by mirroring the original one. The upper barriers remain, right and left they run differently and in the main axis, the turning points shift. The entrance into the labyrinth changes to the middle (lane 9) and the entrance into the center is from further out (lane 3).

The complementary Auxerre labyrinth without the barriers

The complementary Auxerre labyrinth without the barriers

As with the original, four lanes can not be inserted (4, 5, 7, 8). Therefore, the result is again a 7 circuit labyrinth. I renumbered the lanes and have redrawn the labyrinth.

This is how it now looks like:

The complementary 7 circuit circular Cretan labyrinth

The complementary 7 circuit circular Cretan labyrinth

The labyrinth is entered on the 5th lane, the center is reached from the 3rd lane. The path sequence is: 5-6-7-4-1-2-3-8. This labyrinth is not one of the historically known labyrinths. But it showed up in this blog several times (see related posts below). Because it belongs to the interesting labyrinths among the mathematically possible 7 circuit labyrinths.

The surprising fact is that no 11 circuit Classical labyrinth could be generated through the transformation. But for that  the 7 circuit Cretan labyrinth. Therefore we can say that the heart of the Medieval Auxerre labyrinth is the Cretan (Minoan) labyrinth as it is in the Chartres labyrinth.

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Labyrinths With Multiple Arms

Until now, almost exclusively labyrinths of the basic type (Cretan type) have been implemented in the Man-in-the-Maze style. All one-arm labyrinths can be drawn in this style (see related posts 2, below). But is this also possible in labyrinths with multiple arms? I have tried this out with the most famous labyrinth with multiple arms, the Chartres type labyrinth. And it works. I have already shown the result in January (see related posts 1). In order to arrive there, a prolonged process was needed. In the following I will describe the detailed steps.

Jacques Hébert† has shown on his website (see further links 1, below), that a one-arm labyrinth exists, which has the same seed pattern as the main axis of the Chartres type labyrinth. He had derived this from the enigmatic labyrinth drawing (fig. 1) contained in a medieval manuscript.

Figure 1. Enigmatic Labyrinth Drawing from a Manuscript Compiled 860-862 by Heiric of Auxerre

For this, he had deleted the hand drawn figures indicating the side-arms and closed the gaps where the walls delimiting the pathway were left interrupted. He had named the labyrinth after learned Benedictine monk Heiric of Auxerre who had compiled this manuscript in about 860 – 862.

Figure 2. Labyrinth Named after Heiric of Auxerre by Jacques Hébert

The website of Hébert is no longer active any more. Thanks to a note by Samuel Verbiese we can now find it again in The Internet Archive (see further links 2). Erwin also has introduced this type of labyrinth in this blog (see related posts 3).

The Heiric of Auxerre labyrinth is ideally suited as a starting point. It is quasi the Chartres type as a one-arm labyrinth. So let us first transform this labyrinth into the MiM-style (fig. 3).

Figure 3. The Heiric of Auxerre Labyrinth in the MiM Style

The seed pattern of this labyrinth has 24 ends as have all seed patterns of labyrinths with 11 circuits. So we need an auxiliary figure with 24 spokes for the transformation into the MiM-style.

Next, the side-arms have to be included. A first attempt can be made by retrieving the barriers. This can be achieved by inserting 3 additional spokes for each side-arm as shown in fig. 4.

Figure 4. Insertion of the Side Arms

Thus, the auxiliary figure is extended from 24 to 33 spokes. The result is shown in fig. 5.

Figure 5. Labyrinth of the Chartres Type…

This now looks quite decently like a MiM labyrinth. However, upon a closer view it reveals as unsatisfactory. Fig. 6 shows the reasons why.

Figure 6. … in a Hybrid Style

This labyrinth is of a hybrid style. While the main axis is formed in the MiM-style, the side-arms, however, are in the concentric style. The turning points of the pathway (red arcs in the figure) on the main axis are aligned along the circles of the auxiliary figure. On the side-arms, however, they are aligned along the spokes. What is characteristic for the MiM-style is the seed pattern of the main axis. The figure looks much like a labyrinth in the MiM-style because the main axis with it’s 24 of 33 spokes dominates the whole picture.

Therefore, if we want to implement a labyrinth with multiple arms in the MiM-style, we must also transform the side-arms into the MiM-style. For this it is necessary to really understand and consequently adopt

  • how the seed pattern is organised in the MiM-style
  • and correspondingly, how the pieces of the pathway traversing the arms have to be designed.

More about this in following posts.

Related posts:

  1. Our Best Wishes for 2018
  2. How to Draw a Man-in-the-Maze Labyrinth
  3. Does the Chartres Labyrinth hide a Troy Town….

Further Links:

  1. Website by Jacques Hébert
  2. The Internet Archive


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By halving a 7 circuit labyrinth in labyrinthine logic, as it was successful for the 5 circuit Chartres labyrinth.

The 7 circuit Chartres labyrinth

The 7 circuit Chartres labyrinth

The 4th circuit cuts the labyrinth in two parts. Then I receive an external (circuits 1 – 3) and an internal labyrinth (circuits 5 – 7). Both are identical in its path sequences. Even if the “barriers” are at different places.

Two 3 circuit Chartres labyrinths

Two 3 circuit Chartres labyrinths

The path sequence defines the type: 3-2-1-2-3-2-1-4. It is identical for both versions. This 3-2-1-4 reminds very much of the smallest possible labyrinth: the Knossos labyrinth (and of the meander).
If I leave out the barriers, I receive this labyrinth. This once again shows the quality of the Chartres labyrinth.

To make the layout more appealing, I can arrange the barriers in steady distances, in a way make a labyrinth with three arms.

The 3 circuit Chartres labyrinth (Petit Chartres)

The 3 circuit Chartres labyrinth (Petit Chartres)

This is the smallest possible version of a Chartres labyrinth. And there are just two barriers possible for it. Otherwise it does not work. Also three are not possible, but with four barriers it works aganin.

How should one name this type now? I suggest Petit Chartres because it is a sort of a basic element of the Chartres labyrinth. Still other names are conceivable.

It am speaking here about the type and not about the style. The petals in the middle and the lunations around the perimeter belong to the style.

To create this labyrinth is possible in a variety of ways, not necessarily in the manner described. For more read also the related posts below.

There is even a copyrighted labyrinth of this kind: The Story Path©. Warren Lynn and John Ridder of Paxworks have developed it and call the style “3-circuit-triune”. I do not know how they have found it.

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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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The Chartres labyrinth occurs in many variations. Here I speak of the 11 circuit Chartres labyrinth as a type. Some elements of the original labyrinth in the Cathedral at Chartres, such as the six petals in the middle and the lunations  around the outermost perimeter, belong to the style Chartres.

For me the type Chartres exists above all in the layout of the paths.  One goes in quickly (on the 5th circuit) and one quickly approaches the middle (6th and 11th circuit). Then follows the wandering through all quadrants. The access of the centre happens from completely outside (1st circuit) quickly about the 6th and 7th circuit into the centre.

Theoretically there are lot of possibilities to build similar types to the Chartres labyrinth. They can be found worldwide. However, the original Chartres labyrinth owns many special qualities which make it an extraordinary example among the Medieval labyrinths. Among others, it is self-dual and symmetrical.

Layout of the 11 circuit Chartres labyrinth

Layout of the 11 circuit Chartres labyrinth

Hence, the original can be divided in labyrinthine mathematics (11:2=5) in two equal labyrinths. I cut it into two parts, by omitting the 6th circuit. Thereby I get two new, yet identical 5 circuit labyrinths in a Chartres-like layout: I quickly reach the middle and finally enter the centre directly from the outermost circuit. The way in between shows the labyrinthine pendular movement, that Hermann Kern describes as characteristic for a labyrinth.

Layout of the 5 circuit Chartres labyrinth (Demi-Chartres)

Layout of the 5 circuit Chartres labyrinth (Demi-Chartres)

How should we now name this type of labyrinth? To me the name 5 circuit Chartres labyrinth seems properly to differentiate it from other 5 circuit Medieval labyrinths with another layout for the paths.
I would like to call it Demi-Chartres.

Just now you may see a nice example for the practical realisation in Vienna on the Schwarzenbergplatz in the temporary plant labyrinth to the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018:

The temporary plant labyrinth on the Schwarzenbergplatz at Vienna © Lisa Rastl

The temporary plant labyrinth on the Schwarzenbergplatz at Vienna © Lisa Rastl

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Just like the labyrinth from Ravenna, the Wayland’s House labyrinth is also a historical type of labyrinth with 4 arms and 7 circuits. There exist even two different Wayland’s House labyrinths (figure 1).

Figure 1. The Two Wayland’s House Labyrinths


I have named them as Wayland’s House 1 and Wayland’s House 2. Wayland’s House 1 first appeared in a manuscript of the 14th century, Wayland’s House 2 in a manuscript of the 15th century, both from Iceland. This can be easily looked up in Kern. In the following I refer to Wayland’s House 1.

In this type of labyrinth, the pathway does not enter on the first circuit and does not reach the center from the last circuit either. Therefore it is an interesting labyrinth. And also the complementary of it is an interesting labyrinth. This, however, is not the most important reason for why I present this type of labyrinth and its’ relatives here. Whereas no existing examples of any relative of the Ravenna labyrinth are known, there exists a contemporary type of labyrinth for each, the dual, complementary and complementary-dual of the Wayland’s House labyrinth.

Figure 2 shows the patterns of the original Wayland’s House labyrinth (a), the dual (b), complementary (c) and complementary-dual (d) labyrinths.

Figure 2. The Relatives of the Wayland’s House Type – Patterns

The original (a) and dual (b) both are interesting labyrinths. The complementaries of them, (c) and (d), are likewise interesting labyrinths.

Figure 3 shows the labyrinths corresponding to the patterns in their basic form with the walls delimiting the pathway shown on concentric layout and in clockwise rotation.

Figure 3. The Relatives of the Wayland’s House Type – Basic Forms

The relatives of the Wayland’s House type (a) are three of the so-called neo-medieval labyirnth types (there are other neo-medieval types of labyrinths too). These relatives are: dual (b) = „Petit Chartres“, complementary (c) = „Santa Rosa“, and complementary-dual (d) = „World Peace“ labyrinth.

So these contemporary types of labyrinths can be easily generated simply by rotating or mirroring of the pattern of Wayland’s House. This having stated I do not mean to pretend, these types of labyrinths have intentionally or knowingly been derived in such a way from the Wayland’s House type. Rather, available information suggests that they were created in a naive way, i.e without their designers having known about this relationship with the Wayland’s House type labyrinth. Nevertheless, actually, these modern neo-medieval labyrinths are the relatives of Wayland’s House.

The Wayland’s House labyrinth at first glance has some similarities with the Chartres type labyrinth. However it is not self dual and its course of the pathway is guided by an other principle yet. And this applies to its relatives too. Therefore the choice of the name „Petit Chartres“ to me seems inconvenient. It seems like this name was chosen because this type of labyrinth originally was designed in the Chartres-style. So this type seems to have been named after its style.

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Among labyrinths with mulitple arms it is also common that one labyrinth is interesting and the complementary to it is uninteresting. An example for this is the labyrinth of the type Ravenna (figure 1).

Figure 1. The Labyrinth of Ravenna

This labyrinth has 4 arms and 7 circuits. The pathway enters it on the innermost circuit and reaches the center from the fifth circuit. It is, thus, an interesting labyrinth. This type of labyrinth has been named after the example laid in church San Vitale from Ravenna. What is really special in this example is the graphical design of the pathway. This is designed by a sequence of triangles pointing outwards. The effect is, that the direction from the inside out is strongly highlighted. This stands in contrast to the common way we use to approach a labyrinth and seems just an invitation to look up the dual of this labyrinth. Because the course of the pathway from the inside out of an original labyrinth is the same as the course from the outside into the dual labyrinth.

I term as relatives of an original labyrinth the dual, complementary, and complementary-dual labyrinths of it. In fig. 2 the patterns of the Ravenna-type labyrinth (a, original), the dual (b), the complementary (c), and the complementary-dual (d) of it are presented.

Figure 2. The Relatives of the Ravenna-type Labyrinth – Patterns

The original (a) and the dual (b) are interesting labyrinths. The complementaries of them are uninteresting labyrinths, because in these the pathway enters the labyrinth on the outermost circuit (c) or reaches the center from the innermost circuit (d). The dual of an interesting labyrinth always is an interesting labyrinth too, the dual of an unintersting is always uninteresting labyrinth too.

Figure 3 shows the labyrinths corresponding to the patterns in their basic form with the walls delimiting the pathway on concentric layout and in clockwise rotation. Presently, I am not aware of any existing examples of a dual (b), complementary (c) or complementary-dual (d) to the Ravenna type labyrinth (a).

Figure 3. The Relatives of the Ravenna-type Labyrinth – Basic Forms

From these basic forms it can be well seen that it seems justified to classify the complementary and complementary-dual labyrinths as uninteresting. The outermost (labyrinth c) and innermost (labyrinth d) respectively walls delimiting the path appear disrupted. Therefore labyrinths c and d seem less perfect than the original (a) and dual (b) labyrinths, where the pathway enters the labyrinth and reaches the center axially.

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