‘3. Mittel: Coniunction’
(Conjunction.) The third plate concerns the stage of alchemical conjunction, which also covers the stages of Putrefaction, Solution, Desolution and Resolution, also Digestion and Circulation. The curious arched zodiac (the twelve figures of which do not follow the traditional order) is related to the twelve processes of the art, the correspondences being announced (perhaps, rather, hidden) by associate sigils. The interior of the mountain is revealed in the form of a rich palace, on the roof of which a phoenix bird stretches its wings. The rabbit being urged into the hole at the foot of the mountain is a reference to the well-known alchemical acrostic VITRIOL [Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificandoque Invenies Occultum Lapidem] which translates “Visit the Interior of the Earth, and by rectification you will find the hidden stone””. The personifications of the seven plants, on the mountain ledges, are linked with the seven steps, or stages, of the alchemical processes, from Calcination to Tincturation, leading to the interior palace. In sequence, from bottom left, the planets are identified as Venus, Mars, Sun, Mercury (dancing on top of the mountain, with caduceus in one hand, a six-pointed star in the other), Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. ”
Etching / engraving on a fine hand laid (vergé type) paper with narrow chainlines. Watermark: Coat of arms with crown and shield showing a double headed eagle. Besides the top of the crown the initials H and I, which points to earlier 17th. c. German paper possibly made in Ravensburg (see scan of watermark).
Sheet size: 23.5 x 32.5 cm. Image size: 23.5 x 32.5 cm.
From ‘Cabala Spiegel der Kunst und Natur in Alchymia’ (The Cabala, the Mirror of Art and nature in Alchemy) by Stephan/Steffan Michelspacher, published in Augsburg (1st ed. 1615 or 1616). This is considered one of the most fascinating, beautiful and problematic alchemical texts of the early seventeenth century, illustrated by 4 plates. Rare.
Made by Raphael Custos (c.1590-1641)
Condition: Good, given age. General age-related toning and/or occasional minor defects from handling. Small tear at upper right paper edge. Please study scan carefully.
This item has not been fully described / researched. Please enquire for possible further information available.
Keywords: ALCHEMY-FOUR ELEMENTS-CHEMISTRY-ZODIAC