A tatterdemalion carpet of many colors, a rag rug, a patchwork quilt. As a metaphor it means a medieval landscape of organically-grown legacy laws that vary unpredictably between numerous small zones (whose locations and borders may also be unpredictable). These countries are fun to visit and very instructive to the historian.
Though most modern economies are trying to make their laws simpler, more uniform and thus more predictable for businesspeople, some are not rationalizing their inherited lawscape and some are even heading in the opposite direction.
(FLECK en TEPP ichh.)