Terracotta Angel, c.1896
Watts Chapel, England

 Photo : Jeff Saward/Labyrinthos

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Have a history that can be traced back over 4000 years. The earliest examples, found carved on rocks, all have the same design - the classical labyrinth symbol...

This design was taken by the Romans and new forms were created for use on mosaic floors...

And the labyrinth symbol is also found throughout India, as far away as Sumatra and Java and in the American Southwest, although many questions remain around when it first appears and how it spread to many of these regions...

During the late medieval, the labyrinth design was adapted further, and developed into the familiar puzzle mazes of tangled hedges we know today from parks and gardens...

Fashionable again in the 19th century, in the late 20th century the story takes another dramatic turn. First mazes, then labyrinths find a new acceptance, and at the current time are more popular than they have ever been throughout their tortuous history...

Each of these episodes has created new forms, new designs, new meanings and purposes...

Follow the path further...

Labyrinths and Mazes...

Prehistoric labyrinth petroglyph, Mogor, Spain

Further developed during  medieval times, the labyrinth design then appeared on the floors of the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, on village greens and hilltops, on remote coastlines and islands in Scandinavia, up to the Arctic circle and beyond...

Pavement labyrinth,
Chartres Cathedral, France

Stone labyrinth,
Valbypark, Denmark

Roman Mosaic labyrinth,
Coimbra, Portugal

Man in the Maze Basket,
Arizona, USA

Hedge Maze,
Hampton Court, England

Modern Ceremonial Labyrinth,
Atlanta, USA

All photos: Jeff Saward
Labyrinthos Archive

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