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Sketch of complicated maze.

The Man who Devoted Seven Years to Secretly Draw a Labyrinth


A parchment with a labyrinth that had never been seen before was recently discovered; it was the work of a man who spent seven years drawing it.

Jorge Luis Borges’ emblematic story, The Garden of Forking Paths, tells the tale of the Chinese astrologer Ts’ui Pen, who devoted his entire life to build a labyrinth, and in the process somehow duplicated the structure of time. Spending an entire lifetime on a single task might seem absurd to some, but if we consider that this task is the mirror of time, then maybe it is no different than that of the universe.

Recently, the story of a Japanese man who spent seven years of his life drawing an intricate labyrinth aided by his computer, made the headlines. It seemed that, after finishing his work, the man had simply folded it and tucked it away in a drawer, never to be seen by others. But while his daughter was going through his  papers, she found the labyrinth.

If we take a closer look at the model, the labyrinth seems to portray the inner gears of a cosmic machine, as if the universe was an organic being, comprised by a complex communication and energy transportation network—A multidimensional map, which also reveals the interconnection between multiple layers; or a fabric where cells are gardens.

Beyond the possible metaphors and interpretations before this fertile piece, what remains unquestionable is that this is a Pharaonic, crafty, delirious, absurd and amazing work that took seven years of a man’s life in Japan.

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