Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cabalistic Talismans


cabalistic symbols

3 esoteric symbols from Agrippa

triangle with hebrew script

astrology/magic symbol

Magick Talisman - man in square and eye in border

Kabbala talisman

Cabbala talisman

magickal symbol

astrological talisman

palm with planet symbols

text and symbols of Kabbala

Magick symbols and text

[These cropped details are linked to go through to the large format images of the original complete pages (there are even larger versions available)]

"One of the more unusual and exotic treasures of The University of Newcastle is a French magical manuscript entitled 'Talismans Cabalistiques Magiques, grands secretes des Planettes'. The manuscript from an unknown scribe bears the date 1704 in the reign of the Sun King Louis XIV, le Grand Monarque and le Roi Soleil (1638-1715).

The book is a compendium of information relating to the manufacture of celestial talismans [...][and] consists of an eclectic re-arrangement of chapters from Henry Cornelius Agrippa’s 'De Occulta Philosophia' (Three Books of Occult Philosophy) originally published in full in 1533."

'Talismans Cabalistiques Magiques' was uploaded in two sets by the staff of Auchmuty Library (Newcastle University, Australia): The first is the complete 456 page manuscript in 260 images. The second (where most of the above images were obtained) contains the artistic details in closeup.

The Archivist at the University of Newcastle, Gionni Di Gravio, gave a radio talk about the manuscript in July 2007 and a summary (and much more information) is available from the University of Newcastle Cultural Collections weblog. The talk can be dowloaded from the ABC website. [via]


Just on that general subject of library/repository blogs reviewing their own collections, two other worthy sites have commenced in recent times...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Peruvian Antiquities

"The history of nations, or of the times in which they
flourished, does not interest, simply by showing the degree
of power and culture to which they attained, and the means
by which they were able to subjugate or aggrandize those
who were ruled ; but also, by instructing us in the
progressive steps of commerce, arts, and sciences; those
mighty agents which enlarge the understanding, develop
the riches of nature, remove obstacles, and prepare a
people for the enjoyment of rational liberty." [Preface]

Peruvian Antiquities - frontispiece

Peruvian figures

male and female Peruvian idols

ancient Peruvian jugs

Peruvian antiquities - icon fragments

Idols from Peru

Fossils and fragments from Peru

2 Peruvian idols

ancient Peruvian containers

Altar Idols from Peru

Peruvian mummy

Odd Peruvian skeletons
[click for enlarged versions - the last two images were cropped and or cleaned up and or brightened but they link through to the original images]

In the 1830s and 1840s, Peruvian museum curator Mariano Eduardo de Rivero and Swiss naturalist Dr Johann Jakob von Tschudi undertook a survey of all known relics, ruins, records, bones, artefacts and artworks relating to the pre-Columbian civilisations of Peru.

The resultant 1851 book, 'Antigüedades Peruanas', was a thorough and critical archaeological, ethnographic and anthropological review for its time, although their conclusions about, for instance, racial groupings have been superseded.

They believed that the indigenous peoples could be divided into three groups according to skull shape and anatomy - see the final image above of a mummified infant with a peculiarly elongated cranium (dolichocephaly), an appearance they (say they) saw so often in childhood skeletons that it could only be from an inherited trait and not from any form of mechanical binding or disease/nutrition state.

Their investigations in places such as the mud brick citadel at Chan Chan, near Trujillo, contributed important archaeological data to the body of research on the pre-Incan Chimú Kingdom. Both authors have sites in Chan Chan named after them. And as an extension to his Peruvian studies, Von Tschudi was responsible for the first ever publication of the 15th century Incan dramatic play, 'Apu Ollantay', described as the "most important literary work that has survived in any language indigenous to America".

I am indebted to Andrew for not only uploading a set of 62 images from 'Antigüedades Peruanas', but for making contact to pass on the link and some background information.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Piscium Vivace Icones

squilla - cancer - cancer

mustella - pompilus - ropho - galerita

lucius - perca - tinca piscis

liparis - apua phalenica - macrella

hirundo - cepola - adonis - rosmarus

faber marinus - halec - gabio - acipanser zeelandicus

erica - lampreta - lira - raya

cuculus - sarda - frater hugo - leo marinus

canis marinus - canis marinus - silure - cuculus

cammarus - lingulaca

asellus - asellus mollis - cancellus

anguila - congrus - testudo - orbis - testudo marina

admos - trompete - rombus - passer

Adriaen Collaert (~1560-1618) was something of a stock engraver at the Antwerp print shop of his father-in-law, Phillip Galle. He is perhaps best known for a number of plates made about early exploration (eg. Vespucci; African allegory) and much of his work was based on the designs of other artists such as Martin de Vos and Jan van der Straet (Stradanus).

Of his own drawings, most notable are the 'Animalium Quadrupedum' series together with the above sampling from 'Piscium Vivace Icones' - there is a small review at Sutton Books - which are dated anywhere from 1576 to 1625.

The images were obtained from a new and significant German database of prints - Virtuelle Kupferstichkabinett - which is an ongoing collaborative project between Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museums (HAUM) in Braunschweig and the Herzog August Bibliothek (HAB) in Wolfenbüttel.

At present there are said to be more than 4000 prints available, produced in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries with many more to come over the next two years.

This is certainly a great resource and doubtless I will be spending some extended time fossicking. But irrespective of any language issues, this is definitely not a user friendly database: it is counterintuitive, often slow, displays overcompressed thumbnail images and it is cumbersome architecture in which to navigate. But that's just my personal reaction on first look. Hopefully they will iron out some of the uptime/connection hassles I've experienced and I'll get better at traversing the database. There is no question that the contents of this resource are excellent so my criticisms are really just an aside.

I found the above marine series browsing through the copperplate engravings (choose 'technik' in the search menu and add 'Kupferstich' and then ... good luck).
[via Archivalia]

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Textual Flourish

Prziwiley frontispiece

crowned eagle motif and flourished writing

embellished calligraphic text

Polish calligraphy

16th century Polish calligraphy

detail letter 'P' flourish

textual garland

embellished letter 'W'

embellished manuscript detail

embellished calligraphy

decorative calligraphy detail

Latin calligraphic flourish

The listed title of this wonderfully embellished document from the National Digital Library of Poland is:
"Prziwiley okolo uniei za odiazdem Litt. : [oraz inne uchwały sejmu 1569 r. i sejmów z lat 1562/1563, 1565]"

Going out on a deductive limb, it is probably an official account/agreement/order/document relating to the Union of Lublin {1569} under King Sigismund II Augustus of Poland in which the Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland were united into a single Commonwealth.

Creative Commons License