Mosaic design with layered meaning


Borrowing a trick from the muslims...

I have an idea for a certain type of design. It is perhaps a mosaic decorating a wall, floor, or ceiling, or perhaps a jigsaw puzzle. It consists of tiles the connect together in interesting emergent patterns. That's the first layer. The second layer is that the tiles are Escheresque figures, people, animals, elves, that kind of thing. So the mosaic is composed of these little figures that fit together. This is somewhat like C.S. Lewis's conception of life after death -- individuality resulting from being a part in a larger whole, each figure's shape defined by how it connects. Compare also with a Voronoi diagram and its dual. The third layer is a story (perhaps accompanying the puzzle, or depicted in illustrations in holes in the puzzle, perhaps just part of common cultural knowledge) that gives meaning to the mosaic. Archetypes. Fundamental recurrent mythological themes.

Your basic elvish-type magic. Perhaps something of a restrained Victorian feel. Clockwork and intricate engraving. Curls and fronds. Not something that demands attention, but satisfying to an idle eye.

Islam does something like this with their mosaics (though of course they dislike representations of people). They're constantly surrounded by these rather nice patterns that also have a symbolic meaning, that constantly reinforce the idea that people exist in relation to one another (and for muslims also in relation to God).

Anyway, could be nice. I dislike modern blank walls, decorative designs are far nicer. As a puzzle it would be a pleasing object, simultaneously an interesting game and symbolicly meaningful, grounding in a shared cultural story.