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Pandora seriesThis series of 18 woodcuts was first printed in Hieronymus Reusner, Pandora, Basel 1582 (reprinted in 1588). This was later printed with engraved versions of the woodcuts as Johann Michael Faust, Compendium alchymist, novum, sive Pandora explicata... Frankfurt, 1706. This series of emblems is based on one of the earliest German alchemical manuscripts Der buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit. There are 15 manuscripts known of this work the first copies of which have been dated to 1415-16. Many of these manuscripts have a series of coloured drawings on which the printed emblems were based.
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Emblem 1. The Work for the White and the Red. A naked Queen stands on two furnaces which have alembics set upon them, distilling liquids into two flasks. She holds in each hand an upside -down flaming torch. Behind the Queen is a tree bearing round fruits. Seven birds fly between the branches of the tree and the earth below, four flying downwards and three upwards. On the left and right are two rocky mountains, and upon the summit of each of these a young bird perches. On her crown a large bird perches, and to the left of her head is a Sun and to the right a Moon.
Emblem 2. Sublimation. A castellated tower rises out of a hexagonal basin set upon a base. From the left a crowd of six people approach. A lion rears up in front of them. From the right another crowd of six persons, are led by a man with a sword, who is cutting off the legs of a lion. In the air above this is a snake. On the left side of the basin lies a man, while on the right a Pelican rises up and pecks at its breast. On the tower that rises out of the basin are two symbols - two birds forming a circle ouroboros, by seizing each others tails, and above this two birds flying upwards separately. Four long necked flasks, are upended and pour their contents into the basin. From the top of the castle tower grow forth 4 branches, into which two birds fly, and two small flask are upended. High above in the air on the left are seven flask and seven more in the right, and a flock of birds seem to be carrying them upwards. To the left of the tower, six flasks are upended in the air, and below them are nine stars, while to the right, six more upended flasks are seen the air.
Emblem 3. The Separation and Conjunction for the Red Elixir. On the left is a figure of eight ouroboros. The lower circle is formed by two dragons seizing each others tails the uppermost being winged. The upper circle is formed by a single winged bird-dragon forming an ouroboros by seizing its tail in its mouth. On the right is a large flask into the neck of which a small flask is upended. Within this flask a naked queen labelled 'Venus' and a naked king labelled 'Mars', embrace on another. Below them is the word 'Mercurius'.
Emblem 4. The Elixir for the Red. A snake forms an ouroboros, at the top of which two sections project, that on the left ending in a older bearded man's face, while that on the right ends with the face of a youth. Above this is a pedestal with a crown set upon it. Within the circle of the ouroboros a strange bird-dragon breathes fire.
Emblem 5. The Generation of the Three Principles. Three furnaces stand in a row. The leftmost furnace heats an alembic and a liquid is collected in another flask. In the central tall furnace is an open-necked flask. On the rightmost a single flask stands in a waterbath. From a bucket above a stream of water falls from a tap into the water bath, and this water is lead away in turn through a tap into another bucket.
Emblem 6. The Rebis Hermaphrodite with two aspects. A crowned hermaphrodite with two faces, a male on its right side and female face on its left, walks in a landscape holding a sceptre in its right hand.
Emblem 7. The Rebis or two-aspected thing. A crowned and bat-winged hermaphrodite, with a male face on its right and female face on its left, stands upon a strange double head-ended creature with birds claws. This creature has at each end a human face looking downwards, a dragon head looking upwards, and two tails which entwine around the legs of the hermaphrodite. The left tail has a male and the right a female head. The hermaphrodite bears a crown on its chest and another on its belly. It holds in its right male hand a sword, which passes through a crown, and in the left hand it holds another crown.
Emblem 8. The Putrefaction Rebis. A crowned and bat-winged hermaphrodite, with a male face on its right and a female face on its left, stands upon two stones, one for Gold the other for Silver. The hermaphrodite holds a coiled snake in its right hand and a cup or chalice containing three snakes in its left. Above its head is a six-pointed star. Below its feet is a two-headed dragon, each of whose heads bites at and attempts to sever a channel or link between the Gold Stone and a small mountain on the left out of which grows a tree with seven Suns, and between the Silver Stone and a small mountain on the right bearing a tree with seven Moons.
Emblem 9. A teacher or philosopher sits in a hall with four columns. He holds a book open upon his knee, for five pupils to examine. On the left page of the open book is depicted a crescent and a full Moon above two dragons forming the ouroboros, the upper one being winged (as in emblems 2 and 3 of this sequence). On the right page are two Suns depicted over a sun face set in a larger circle. In the air above the philosopher, seven birds with bows in their claws, aim arrows at him.
Emblem 10. The Generation of the Elixir for the White and for the Red. A King and Queen are depicted between two elaborate fountains. The Queen sits upon a hexagonal basin or plinth. On the left a fountain rises out of a hexagonal basin, in which four small naked women bathe. From a spout above them shaped like a Moon a stream of water falls in a shower. On the right a fountain rises out of another hexagonal basin, in which four small naked males bathe. From a spout above shaped like a Sun, a stream of water descends.
Emblem 11. Putrefaction, Sublimation, Coagulation. A double coat of arms is depicted. On the left is a shield, with a helmet at its top, upon which stands a naked woman with a star above her head and holding in her left hand a cup or chalice with three snakes, and in her right a dark disc. She is framed by two long wings which emanate from a Sun and Moon at her feet. On the shield below her, a dragon is heated above flames. It has two tails one with a crowned male head, the other with a crowned female head. Upon this dragon stands a black crow and upon that a white bird with wings outstretched. On the right is another shield, also with a helmet at its top, upon which stands a woman in a nimbus of flames surrounded by stars, holding above her head a disc or stone. On the shield below a dragon forming an ouroboros is heated upon flames. Upon this stands a white bird with wings outstretched, upon which stands a black crow. At the upper left corner is a Sun disc.
Emblem 12. The Composition of the Elixir. Beside a furnace with three flasks inside it, a crowned woman, with a snake-like tail, perhaps a 'Melusine' or 'Lilith' figure, holds a spear which a naked woman guides to pierce the breast of Christ.
Emblem 13. The Generation of the Three Principles. Christ crucified is depicted as a double-headed eagle. On the halo around his head a triple-headed bird perches. Two birds fly above his wounded hands, which appear at the ends of the wings of the eagle, carrying crowns. Above his right foot which appears at the tail of the eagle a dark bird flies with a dark crown. His left foot is already crowned. He stands upon a strange double-headed body.
Emblem 14. Imbibition of the body. Above a shield, which bears the picture of a crowned woman supporting Christ crucified as a double-headed eagle (as in the previous emblem), a Christ figure holding an orb labelled 'corpus', places a crown on the head of a woman, labelled 'anima'. Beside them an old man or Father figure, labelled 'sapientia' watches. From above the winged dove of the Holy Spirit descends, bearing the label 'terra'. At the four corners stand the winged symbols of the Evangelists, The eagle of John, the lion of Mark, the bull of Luke and the man or angel of Matthew.
Emblem 15. Fermentation. A dragon, which grows on the trunk of a tree labelled 'arbor philosophorum', forms an ouroboros, by seizing its tail in its mouth. Within the circular space is a double-headed eagle. Above its head is a planetary disc labelled 'our Mercury' which is connected by rays to six other planets arrayed around the dragon - on the left, Sun, Venus and Jupiter, on the right, Moon, Mars and Saturn.
Emblem 16. The Flower of the Wise. Within a circular space a dragon lies on its back forming the ouroboros. It holds in its left claw a plant which grows out of the circle, and bears three flowers - the one on the left being red that on the right white. Below are the Moon on the left and the Sun on the right, and between them a six-pointed star in a disc, with five smaller planetary stars within it.