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Mazes and Labyrinths

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #90 on: April 03, 2009, 01:29:36 pm »

Honnecourt. In a ninth-century French manuscript, formerly belonging to the Abbey of St.-Germain-des-Prés, there is a sort of frontispiece consisting of a labyrinth of similar type, with a funny little horned Minotaur at the centre, seated, hands on knees, on a kind of throne.

The Chartres labyrinth formerly went by the name of "La Lieue," an expression which would ordinarily be rendered as "the league." The French league, however, was about 2282 yards, a much greater length than the

p. 60

total extent of the path in any of the existing pavement-labyrinths, that at Chartres, for example, having a length of only about 150 yards. Possibly the term had some etymological connection with the old Gaulish measure leuca, leuga or leuva, which was 1500 paces.

In other cases the labyrinth was known as a "Chemin de Jérusalem" "daedale," or "meandre," terms which need

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #91 on: April 03, 2009, 01:29:56 pm »



FIG. 49.--Labyrinth in Parish Church, St. Quentin. (Gailhabaud).
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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #92 on: April 03, 2009, 01:30:32 pm »

no explanation. The centre was called "ciel" or "Jérusalem." The labyrinth formerly in the nave of Amiens Cathedral was larger than that at Chartres, being 42 ft. in diameter (Fig. 48). It was constructed in 1288 and was destroyed in 1825. In plan it was similar to that at the entrance to the parish church of St. Quentin (Fig. 49). The latter, however, is only 34½ ft. in diameter.

Rheims Cathedral formerly possessed a fine design of this class (Fig. 50). It was laid down in 1240 and was

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #93 on: April 03, 2009, 01:31:11 pm »



Bronze Plaquette, Italian, XVIth Century. (British Museum)





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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #94 on: April 03, 2009, 01:31:39 pm »



Fig. 50. Labyrinth in Rheims Cathedral. (Gailhabaud)
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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #95 on: April 03, 2009, 01:32:16 pm »



Fig. 51. Amiens.
Central Plate of Labyrinth. (Gailhabaud)

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #96 on: April 03, 2009, 01:32:58 pm »



Fig. 52. Labyrinth in Bayeux Cathedral. (Amé)

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #97 on: April 04, 2009, 11:25:10 pm »

composed of blue stones or marbles. It was destroyed in 1779 by order of a certain Canon Jacquemart, who objected to the noise made by children and others in tracing its course during the progress of divine service.

The labyrinths of Rheims, Chartres, and Amiens possessed in common a feature which has given rise to much discussion, namely, a figure or figures at the centre representing, it is believed, the architects of the edifices.

That of Amiens is preserved in Amiens Museum and consists of an octagonal grey marble slab (Fig. 51) with a central cross, between the limbs of which are arranged figures representing Bishop Evrard and the three architects, Robert de Luzarches, Thomas de Cormont and his son Regnault, together with four angels. A long inscription accompanied it, relating to the foundation of the Cathedral.

There is a very fine labyrinth in the chapter-house of Bayeux Cathedral (Fig. 52). It measures 12 ft. across and is composed of circles of tiles ornamented with shields, griffins and fleur-de-lis, separated by bands of small, plain, black tiles.

Sens Cathedral formerly possessed a circular labyrinth (Fig. 53), 30 ft. in diameter and formed of incised lines filled in with lead, but it was destroyed in 1769. A similar specimen in Auxerre Cathedral was demolished about 1690.

In The Builder for May 12, 1916, appeared a diagram accompanied by a note from a firm of publishers who stated that they had received the sketch from one of their travellers who was then serving on the Arras front. "He informs us," they state, "that it is not a puzzle, but a plan of the labyrinth under the cathedral. He found the prints in a ruin in the vicinity, a house which appears to have been occupied by a librarian from what he saw among the debris." The sketch in question is of an octagonal pattern resembling that of the St. Quentin

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #98 on: April 04, 2009, 11:25:37 pm »

labyrinth, and represents the pavement-labyrinth that formerly existed in the now ruined cathedral, not, of course, a system of subterranean passages, as the correspondent evidently inferred. It was about 34½ ft. in diameter and was composed of small blue and yellow squares. The destruction of this labyrinth cannot be debited to the account of the aggressors in the Great War, as it was carried out during the French Revolution.

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #99 on: April 04, 2009, 11:26:17 pm »



FIG. 53.--Labyrinth in Sens Cathedral. (Gailhabaud.)

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #100 on: April 04, 2009, 11:26:31 pm »

A labyrinth of rather striking design (Fig. 54) was formerly in the pavement of the old Abbey of St. Bertin, an edifice which has long been a picturesque ruin, in the lower part of the town of St. Omer. A description of it was first published nearly a century ago by Emmanuel Wallet (or Vallet). Our figure, which accords with his notes, differs slightly from that which has usually accompanied the references of subsequent writers--many of whom, by the way, erroneously speak of it as being in the cathedral, which is in the upper part of the town, and at some distance from St. Bertin. Most illustrations of

p. 63

the labyrinth in question show the path as crossing itself at one point, an arrangement which is most unlikely to have been adopted. Wallet based his description on a manuscript which, judging by the watermark in the paper, he attributed to a former English student at the college in the vicinity.

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #101 on: April 04, 2009, 11:28:03 pm »



FIG. 54.--Labyrinth in Abbey of St. Bertin, St. Omer. (Wallet.)

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #102 on: April 04, 2009, 11:28:27 pm »

This labyrinth was apparently destroyed at about the same time as that at Rheims, and for a similar reason.

In the cathedral there is no pavement-labyrinth, although it may possibly have possessed one in former times, but beneath the organ, at the west end of the nave, is a curiously engraved slab which is worth mentioning

p. 64

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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #103 on: April 04, 2009, 11:30:35 pm »

in this connection, for it represents a sort of "chemin de Jérusalem," though not indeed of the usual type. It shows, around a large circle, mountains, rivers, towns, roads, and animals, together with the word IhERVSALEM, whilst the interior of the circle is divided into three horizontal compartments, in each of which are placed various objects indistinguishable through wear. The slab was very
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Kabrina Teppe
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« Reply #104 on: April 04, 2009, 11:31:11 pm »



FIG. 55.--Labyrinth in Poitiers Cathedral. (Auber.)

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