ALCHEMY - MUTUS LIBER, OR SILENT BOOK - PLATE 10. The tenth plate of the Mutus opens with a scene of weighing - one third of the material represented by the star is made to balance the six-petalled flower, which has appeared more than once in the series. These two (the third part and the flower) are mixed in jar and hermetically sealed, by melting the neck of the glass container in a flame. In consequence of this process, the Moon (anima) and Sun (animus), represent in personification as Diana the Huntress and the solar King, are conjoined. At the feet of the Sun and Moon are two small fi

- Image ID: MC6H7B
ALCHEMY - MUTUS LIBER, OR SILENT BOOK - PLATE 10. The tenth plate of the Mutus opens with a scene of weighing - one third of the material represented by the star is made to balance the six-petalled flower, which has appeared more than once in the series. These two (the third part and the flower) are mixed in jar and hermetically sealed, by melting the neck of the glass container in a flame. In consequence of this process, the Moon (anima) and Sun (animus), represent in personification as Diana the Huntress and the solar King, are conjoined. At the feet of the Sun and Moon are two small fi
Charles Walker Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
Image ID: MC6H7B
ALCHEMY - MUTUS LIBER, OR SILENT BOOK - PLATE 10. The tenth plate of the Mutus opens with a scene of weighing - one third of the material represented by the star is made to balance the six-petalled flower, which has appeared more than once in the series. These two (the third part and the flower) are mixed in jar and hermetically sealed, by melting the neck of the glass container in a flame. In consequence of this process, the Moon (anima) and Sun (animus), represent in personification as Diana the Huntress and the solar King, are conjoined. At the feet of the Sun and Moon are two small figures - 10 (the number of the plate). In numerology, the figure 10 is said to represent the upright Man or Woman (the figure I) facing the entire cosmos (the circle, or zero), aware of himself or herself as a separate entity. This is precisely the symbolism of the target (the circle, or zero), and the arrow (a single line, which may be upright). The target to the extreme left, besides echoing this idea of the zero, seems to represent the Four Elements, in their rightful places - this is the target at which Diana might aim. The alchemical masterpiece, Mutus Liber (or Silent Book) first appeared in print during 1677 - probably brought into the light of day by the French alchemist, Jacob Saulat, as a book with 13 plates, which was later increased to one of 15 plates (as in the series available here). The book is almost without words, and such words as appear are rarely what they seem to be, and are certainly susceptible to more than one level of interpretation. The alchemical importance of the images resides in the subtle graphic symbolism. A clear exposition of this symbolism may be found in Adam McLean, A Commentary on the Mutus Liber, 1982.

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