How to identify archetypes and structure in art

Finding mindprint in a work of art is as simple as finding correspondences to any archetypally complete set or sets of about sixteen (twelve to twenty) items, such as pantheons (lists of gods), myth cycles, epics, emblems, lunar mansions, trumps, historic or fictional characters, constellations, heraldic devices, lyrics, or animals.

Researchers should tack characters in art to sets that they are familiar with, and use the mindprint axial grid and tables for confirmation (see the post What is mindprint, on this website. See Mindprint, the subconscious art code, by Edmond Furter, 2014, Here is a shortcut method to finding the basics of the five layers of the archetypal art code;

[] Identify a likely periphery of figures in a roughly elliptical arrangement.

[] List the figures in their circular sequence, by any distinctive attribute, such as a posture, season, function, species, or device.

[] Provisionally tag the list or the artwork, with likely type numbers, such as 10 Teacher  for a figure with arms up or a staff, 12 or 13 Heart for a felid, 1 or 2 Builder for a bovid or tower, 5 Priest for varicoloured, skin paint or a hyperactive posture.

[] Tag figures notably ingressed or egressed towards or away from the centre, as 6 Exile or 14 Mixer.

[] Tag a pregnant figure as 11 Womb; and an adjacent major figure as 12 or 13 Heart (usually with an exposed chest), and the adjacent figure on the other side as 10 Teacher.

[] Infer a clockwise or anticlocwise sequence, and provisionally complete the labellling.

[] Count the number of eyes (for example 17), assume the lower even number (for example 16), subtract two (for example 14), skip half of this number (for example 7) between eyes, and draw tentative axes between each pair of likely opposing eyes.

[] If three or more axes cross at the same point, find the likely 11 Womb, and a likely 12 or 13 Heart, and redraw errant axes by not using their eyes (unless their eyes also find counterparts across the axial centre).

[] If three or more peripheral figures remain unaccounted for, assume a higher equal number (for example 18), and repeat the test with higher numbers.

[] Resolve the sequence by splitting up or combining the major doubles (1 /2 Builder, 5a/5b Priest, 8/9 Healer, 12/13 Heart).

[] Complete all the possible axes. Connect the equator from eye to eye (with the two exceptions).

[] Find one or two polar markers between 11 Womb and 12 Heart, or between 4 King and 5 Priest, near the equator (not near the centre). These poles are often on limb joints.

[] Find a polar marker nearer the axial pole, on or near the 15 Maker, 14 Mixer, or 13 Heart axis; which is often a limb joint, perhaps a jaw, vertical or horizontal from the axial centre or from one of the galactic poles. Connect this marker to the galactic pole to form a polar triangle (or if there is a marker on the opposite side, connect it to the galactic south pole).

[] Mirror the polar triangle on the other side of the ecliptic pole. Polar markers are not always expressed. Infer the inspirational date (spring) from the type that precedes the polar axle (midsummer) by an ideal 90 degrees (approximate, not measured on the distorted grid).

[] Apply the set of labels, one to each figure, and the four structural points, in sequence. Note that there is a choice of two labels (/) at the four major types if they are represented by only one figure (typical if the total is only twelve or fourteen);

1Builder 2Builder 2cBasket 3Queen 4King 4p
8Healer 9Healer 9cLid 10Teacher 11Womb 11p


5aPriest 5bPriest 5cTail 6Exile 7Child 7g
12Heart 13Heart 13cHead 14Mixer 15Maker 15g


cp csp ? ?

The axial centre or ‘Ecliptic Pole’ is unlabelled to avoid clutter.

[] Half-types (2c Basket v 9c Lid, 5c Tail v 13c Head) are usually off the axial grid, but within their sectors, designated by the axes of the two types that flank each of them.

[] On a separate page, list the type numbers, with basic distinctive features or characters found in the artwork, to compare to other artworks, mindprint statistics, stories, myths or typological sets.

This structure applies to all artworks, in all cultures, in all ages, due to the structure of nature, perception, expression, and cultural media. Mindprint also applies to myths and legends, but it is difficult to extract to a subtext, due to typical fluctuation between characters, places, episodes, and time. In art, the time-slice of the story stands still, and the composition could be verified against the original, or reproductions in catalogues, books and electronic galleries, such as tourist image sites.

See a standard format for testing and reporting structural art or building site analysis, in the post on ;What is mindprint’ on this website.




  1. Hallo, Are you saying that all artists who create ‘complicated’ artworks, subconsciously use the same grid, or the same positioning?

    1. Lee, yes, artists do not consciously use an axial grid, they express inspiration that compels them to give one or two particular attributes, from a choice of about eight attributes, to each figure, and to position those in a particular sequence, with their eyes aligned in pairs of opposites with axes crossing in one point.
      This involves some fine eye-hand co-ordination, but remember that the first four figures need only approximate spacing, since their two potential connecting axes could cross anywhere. The fith figure could also be almost anywhere. Only from the sixth figure and thus the third axis onward, does the geometric centre (crossing point, labelled ecliptic pole) assert itself.
      So typically artists subconsciously shunt or shuffle only the sixth to the sixteenth figure (thus eleven figures and five axes), which in the completed work appears as sixteen figures on eight axes.
      This process of expression is demonstrated in the section of the book where a layered (partially overpainted) rock art work is reconstructed by its painting episodes (using the archaeological tool named the Harris matrix) and comparing each step to the mindprint geometry. Some artists are found to paint opposing pairs of figures together, and to move on in cardinal (squared) steps, in a kind of swastika-shaped order.

  2. Hallo Edmond, I see you propose astrological labels to tag the artwork characters. What link is there to astrology, and how do I know which Zodiac sign to link to which image?

    1. Lee, archetype informs everything in the universe. We express it in arts and crafts. Our craft of astrology operates on a stereotypical twelve-based division hinged to the celestial pole and time (which is a particular kind of natural expression of archetype, discussed with type t14 Cancer in the book). The labels we use in astrology are borrowed from the animal kingdom and myth.
      Astrology labels have to be doubled in Taurus, Leo, Scorpius and Aquarius to form 16 types.

      About identification, as soon as you tentatively identify three of the sixteen labels, the direction (clox or anticlox) becomes apparent, and the rest could be filled in and checked. They then reveal one another.
      Astrology tacks to archetype, not the other way around.

      Some artworks have only twelve figures (characters), meaning that the four large types are contracted, or not unfolded. Some have fourteen, meaning that two of the four are unfolded. Some artworks have eight figures, as one of the Chinese zodiacs, and the core set of I Ching trigrams have, but such artworks are not tested in the book since they are few, do not express archetype well, and are not statistically conclusive.
      Decanal sets are typically from 20 to 36, too many to express archetype well, but useful to hourly and other applications (they are discussed in a chapter in the book).
      The core sequence and geometry in our perception, inspiration and expressions is of sixteen types (as in some trigram arrangements). They correlate with myth, which we habitually map on the dots in the sky. The book is not about astrology, but about art, rock art, myth, literature and categories in all expressions of culture.

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