Another Labyrinth with Pseudo Single-Barriers

In my previously shown labyrinths the pathway takes its course through all pseudo single-barriers in the same direction. In the pattern this course is from top left to bottom right, as shown in fig. 1 from my last post. Correspondingly, in the labyrinth, the path runs in clockwise direction from an outside circuit to a circuit more inside the labyrinth. 

Figure 1. Previous Courses of the Pathway
Figure 1. Previous Courses of the Pathway

This raises the question whether other arrangements of the pseudo single-barriers are possible, such that the path may also take courses from inside out or in anticlockwise direction. In fig. 2, I show such a labyrinth. This is self-dual and has 4 axes, 9 circuits and 2 pseudo single-barriers in each side-axis. 

Figure 2. Labyrinth with 4 Axes, 9 Circuits and 2 Pseudo Single-Barriers at each Side Axis
Figure 2. Labyrinth with 4 Axes, 9 Circuits and 2 Pseudo Single-Barriers at each Side Axis

Here, we have the following courses (fig. 3):

  • from top left to bottom right at the first axis upper barrier and at the third axis lower barrier
  • from bottom left to top right at the first axis lower barrier and at the third axis upper barrier 
  • from bottom right to top left at the second axis. 
Figure 3. Different Courses through the Single-Barriers
Figure 3. Different Courses through the Single-Barriers

However, a course from top right to bottom left is missing.

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Labyrinths With Pseudo Single Barriers – Modifications

In my last post, I have shown some labyrinths with pseudo single barriers. All these labyrinths have two long connections along the main axis from the entrance of the pathway to the innermost circuit and, symmetrically, from the outermost circuit to the center. Especially in bigger labyrinths, this gives a rigid appareance to the main axis. Here, one would like to see a more rhythmic design – let’s say similar to the labyrinths of the Chartres or Reims types for example. 

Such a modification is, in fact, possible. I will show this, first, with the example of the labyrinth with five axes and 9 circuits from my last post (fig. 1). In the left image, the modifications to the original pattern are highlighted in red. The pathway is directed on the third circuit into the labyrinth, makes a turn at the first axis back to the main axis and continues there to the innermost circuit. By this, the turn at the first axis is transformed from a pseudo to a real single barrier. No other changes are made to the remaining course of the pathway. As the labyrinth is self-dual, a similar correction can be applied to the other side of the pattern. The right image shows the modified pattern. 

Figure 1. Modifications
Figure 1. Modifications

Figure 2 shows the labyrinth that corresponds with the modified pattern. By this modification of the original course of the pathway, the main axis is loosened up and two pseudo single barriers are replaced with real single barriers. 

Figure 2. Labyrinth With Five Axes, 9 Circuits, and Real and Pseudo Single Barriers
Figure 2. Labyrinth With Five Axes, 9 Circuits, and Real and Pseudo Single Barriers

This gives a more balanced design to the whole labyrinth. 

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Labyrinths with Pseudo Single-Barriers 

In my last post I have introduced the pseudo single-barrier, presented the two only historical labyrinths with pseudo single-barriers I am aware of, and have shown an own labyrinth with 2 axes, 3 circuits and one pseudo single-barrier (see: related posts, below).

The pattern for this labyrinth with 2 axes and 3 circuits can be easily enlarged, such that labyrinths with multiple axes and exclusively containing pseudo single-barriers can be designed. Figure 1 shows a labyrinth with 3 axes and 5 circuits with 2 pseudo single-barriers. 

Figure 1. Labyrinth with 3 Axes and 5 Circuits
Figure 1. Labyrinth with 3 Axes and 5 Circuits

In fig. 2, a labyrinth with 4 axes, 7 circuits and 4 pseudo single-barriers is presented. 

Figure 2. Labyrinth with 4 Axes and 7 Circuits
Figure 2. Labyrinth with 4 Axes and 7 Circuits

Figure 3, finally, shows a labyrinth with 5 axes, 9 circuits and 8 pseudo single-barriers. 

Figure 3. Labyrinth with 5 Axes and 9 Circuits
Figure 3. Labyrinth with 5 Axes and 9 Circuits

All pseudo single-barriers are situated in the side axes. Furthermore, they are placed such, that the pathway always in its movement forward skips two circuits from the outside in without changing its direction. In the movement backward, the pathway follows a serpentine pattern. 

This pattern can be extended so that labyrinths with any desired number of axes with pseudo single-barriers can be generated. 

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Pseudo Single Barrier

As was the case with double-barriers, we can also distinguish real from pseudo single-barriers (see: related posts, below). Here I want to show this first with the examples of two non-labyrinthine figures. I start with the figure „Luan“ (fig. 1).

Figure 1. Figure Luan
Figure 1. Figure “Luan” 

Source: Kern, fig 604, p. 285

This is a recent sand drawing of the Stone Age culture on Melanesian island Malekula (Vanatu). Kern writes, that this figure is not a labyrinth and cannot not even with any sound justification be considered misinterpreted labyrinth (Kern, p. 285). It is made-up of a uninterrupted line without entrance or center. However, it has 4 axes and 5 circuits. 

In fig. 2, left image, I show a simpler version of it with only 3 circuits. This better illustrates the principle of its design. This figure clearly can be read as an uninterrupted Ariadne’s Thread, and therefore I have drawn it in red. Of course, we can also add the representation with the walls delimiting the pathway (right image, blue). As can be seen, this figure has a certain similarity with a labyrinth. The axes are formed by the same turns of the pathway that typically appear in the labyrinth of Chartres and many other types of labyrinths. 

Figure 2. Figure Luan, Reduced to 3 Circuits
Figure 2. Figure “Luan”, Reduced to 3 Circuits

In figure 3, I have redrawn the figure from fig. 2 and reduced it to 2 axes. The left (red) image shows the representation with the Ariadne’s Thread, the right (blue) shows the representation with the walls delimiting the pathway. Still, the Ariadne’s Thread is a uninterrupted line without entrance or center. Here we can see the special course of the pathway at the side axis. The two turns of the path are shifted one circuit against each other. In between, an axial piece of the pathway is inserted where the path changes from the first to the third circuit without changing direction. Analogically with the double barriers we can term these courses single barriers. The course of the pathway in figure 2 is a real, the one in fig. 4 a pseudo single barrier (see related posts, below). 

Figure 3. Redrawing with 2 Axes and Pseudo Single Barriers
Figure 3. Redrawing with 2 Axes and Pseudo Single Barriers 

This figure can easily be transformed to a labyrinth with 2 axes and 3 circuits, as shown in fig. 4. The left (red) image shows the representation of the labyrinth with the Ariadne’s Thread, the right (blue) shows the representation with the walls delimiting the pathway. 

Figure 4. Labyrinth with 2 Axes and 3 Circuits
Figure 4. Labyrinth with 2 Axes and 3 Circuits

As far as I know, the pseudo single-barrier has appeared in two historical labyrinths (fig. 5). The left image shows the pavement labyrinth in Ely Cathedral with 5 axes and 5 circuits. The pseudo single-barrier is situated at the second axis where the path changes from the fourth to the second circuit without changing direction. The right image shows the third out of 8 labyrinth drafts by the clergyman Dom Nicolas Rély. This labyrinth, that I called Rély 3, has 9 axes and 5 circuits. The axes are designed as real (axes 1, 2, 4, 6, 8) and pseudo (axes 3, 5, 7) single-barriers.

Figure 5. Historical Labyrinths with Pseudo Single Barriers
Figure 5. Historical Labyrinths with Pseudo Single Barriers

Sources: Ely – Saward, p. 115; Rély 3 – Kern, fig. 457a, p. 241.

References:

  • Kern H. Through the Labyrinth: Designs and Meanings over 5000 years. London: Prestel 2000. 
  • Saward J. Labyrinths & Mazes: The Definitive Guide to Ancient & Modern Traditions. London: Gaia 2003.

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