Posts Tagged ‘Medieval labyrinth’

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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Only from above one recognises best the structure and the beauty of a labyrinth. For birds this is no problem, but still for us. We have this look maybe as a skydiver, paraglider, passenger in a balloon or an airplane? This is why I am glad that I can show now some labyrinths from the bird’s-eye view. I owe this to my son, which is owner of such a new “aircraft” with camera below, and generously has made some overflights.

Along the waterfront of the river Main (Mainlände) are still standing the sculptures of this year’s sculptor’s symposium to the subject Panta rhei (everything flows). The contribution of  the the kindergarten children Saint Sebastian to this was a first with sawdust scattered Knidos labyrinth on a meadow near the volleyball court, that now is cut.

Knidos Labyrinth at the "Mainlände" Dettelbach

Knidos Labyrinth at the “Mainlände” Dettelbach, photo: Tobias Reißmann

The second labyrinth of the same type is found on a meadow below the pilgrimage church “Maria im Sand”. The entrance is beside the sculpture “Fremder” (stranger), and the labyrinth is aligned to the sculpture “Jakobsstein” (Jakob’s Stone) standing there to represent the end of the Dettelbach sculpture way “Pilgervolk” (pilgrim’s People) from the symposium in 2005.

Knidos Labyrinth at the church "Maria im Sand" Dettelbach

Knidos Labyrinth at the church “Maria im Sand” Dettelbach, photo: Tobias Reißmann

At the beginning of the year  we made some overflights from other labyrinths. The videos can be watched on Youtube.

Here the Knidos labyrinth of Saint Alfons in Würzburg:



Here the Medieval labyrinth of Münsterschwarzach:



Here the Roman labyrinth of Retzbach:



Also in Google Earth one can sometimes see labyrinths if the quality of the satellite pictures is good enough. The knowledge of the geographic coordinates of a labyrinth (virtually their house number and address) quite help to the search.

Here the labyrinth of type Baltic wheel at the Mönchbergschule in Würzburg in an interactive map:

I owe an other nice view from above to my son-in-law who was on the move as passenger in a balloon just over a year ago, and by chance discovered the labyrinth at Eisingen. The photos are to be seen in the post quoted below.

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A way of creation was installed in Bamberg in 2007 with 12 stations on the circular track. It begins and ends at the former cloister Saint Michael.

A lavender labyrinth on a meadow below the clinic Saint Getreu is the second station. The alignment is taken from the medieval labyrinth in the cathedral San Vitale in Ravenna (Italy), dated to the 16th century.

The 7-circuit medieval labyrinth type Ravenna

The 7-circuit medieval labyrinth type Ravenna

The labyrinth has a diameter of about 27 m. The way into the center amounts to good 350 meters. In the middle grows a vine.  The geographical position of the labyrinth: N 49° 53′ 39.4″, E 10° 52′ 18.2″.

Seen on Google Earth: The labyrinth is situated on the Meadow between the “St. Getreu-Straße” und the way “Ottobrunnen” (not for cars).

If you want to visit the labyrinth the best would be to look for the St. Getreu-Straße. The church St. Getreu and the clinic St. Getreu are situated there too. If one goes (seen from the street) on the left side around the clinic downhill, one will hit the labyrinth on the meadow. Or easier: you enter the clinic, cut across, and take a door outward at the lowest level.

There is a flyer with a location drawing and information on the 12 stations of the creation way. The way was put on to the 1000-years jubilee of the archbishopric Bamberg. Klaus Schwaab, the environmental officer of the archdiocese Bamberg, is person of contact.

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On Sunday 5th of August, 2012 we, the participants of the labyrinth congress at Hofkirchen experienced the art labyrinth of transformation. First we had a short introduction to the history of the origin of this unusual labyrinth. During the walk of the labyrinth, the artist, Prof. Gerhard Wünsche, was also present.

The labyrinth is situated on top of a knoll called “d’Scheibn” (the disk) by the locals. This place at the “three lime-trees” was was the place of judgement belonging to the dominion of  Marsbach. In 1848, the last public execution happened here.

Layout of the art labyrinth

Layout of the art labyrinth

The labyrinth is aligned east – west. The form of the octagonal Medieval labyrinth with six circuits is inspired by the labyrinth inside the cathedral of Cologne on the stairway to the crypt.

The ways are fastened with crushed gravel and the limitations are planted with lavender.

For me the labyrinth of transformation is a sort of Stonehenge in the Austrian  Mühlviertel. And I wish that as many visitors as at Stonehenge in Great Britain would visit this place.

Please try also to use the carousel for looking the pictures in full screen mode. Click inside any picture. Then you can scroll forwards and backwards. To return to this post click into the black surface or press the “Esc” key on your keyboard.

Who wants to visit the labyrinth, has several possibilities:

  • Look for information on the website Labyrinthe Hofkirchen
  • Ask anyone on site, because everybody in Hofkirchen knows the way
  • Orientate and navigate on one’s own. Hikers and bikers will reach it directly, drivers must get out before. Here the geographical position of the art labyrinth: 48 28 55.8 N, 13 48 44.1 E

Or take a look on Google Earth? The labyrinth is not to be seen as yet. But maybe in some years when the satellite images are replaced?
The labyrinth is approximately in the middle of the image, on a green meadow near the corner of a bright area.

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