Duck Duck Book

30 – labyrinths & mazes
02.16.2006, 12:02 pm
Filed under: social sciences

Labyrinths & mazes : a complete guide to magical paths of the world / Jeff Saward. 
New York : Lark Books, 2003.
[MCL call number: 302.222 S271L 2003; eight copies, no holds]

People have been making mazes and labyrinths in all kinds of media in most parts of the world for thousands of years.  Saward’s book provides an introduction to these complex works of art and science — from small-scale decorative motifs to enormous walkable creations of turf, hedge, stone, and tile.  He gives particular attention to the history of labyrinths in Europe and the ancient Mediterranean, turf labyrinths, garden mazes, labyrinths in medieval European Christian art, and modern mazes.

Labyrinths & Mazes has a nice bibliography arranged in the same way as the chapters of the main text, with a few extras at the end under the heading “Select Further Reading;” as well as a solid subject index.  It is well-illustrated with black and white diagrams, maps, and color photographs on nearly every page.

My one hesitation in recommending Labyrinths & Mazes is that I think the subtitle overstates the book’s scope a bit — labyrinths and mazes from many parts of the world are indeed described, but I have some doubt as to whether the book is truly a complete guide all regions.  Africa, India, and the Americas are only briefly discussed, and the focus is very much on Europe.


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