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Mazes and Labyrinths

4 5 This maze design appears in a 17th century manuscript in the British Museum and is an excellent example of the increasing inventiveness and variation around the classical form which characterised the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As time went on, more and more choices were offered on the path, garden designers delighting in creations in which walkers, lovers and fools could get lost for hours. Upon entering this maze, the aspirant chooses one of two paths, creating a sense of excitement, fear and trepidation. He, or she, does not know whether a deadend lies ahead, or success. As the road travelled gets longer, the price of failure also grows. In fact, delightfully in this design, both routes lead to the centre, one slightly quicker than the other, useful for races A textbook example of good design, the circle here is elegantly and symmetrically divided into eight, and the graphic displays a wonderful balance between line and curve, light and dark. There are five circuits around the eye. Mazes with two solutions are quite rare. The only surviving ancient turf labyrinth in Germany has two entrances, a lime tree at its centre and is associated with lovers, dancers, sprinters and shoemakers, all common themes often found around these mysterious and engaging forms. MANuSCripT MAzE five and eight
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