Still f72r3: crabs or crayfishes ?

Fact 1: a crayfish is different from a crab.

Fact 2: people knew how to draw them differently in the XVth century, for example Dürer’s famous woodcut of the Zodiac represents the cancer sign by a crayfish not a crab (as explained page 13 of this book written by an expert of crustaceans).

Fact 3: on f72r3 the two creatures look much more like crayfishes than crabs.

Fact 4: in the Jewish tradition of the middle ages, this book says “Cancer is never represented as the crab of Antiquity but as a crayfish, the same sign used by Christians”.

Interpretation: so if indeed two crayfishes are depicted in the VM, it could either point to the writer wanting to insist on a Christian or a Jewish vision, rather than some non-religious zodiacal superstitions.  From the rest of the manuscript, there appears to be more Christian symbolism than anything, so the author might be more towards a monk than a non-religious alchemist.




One Response to Still f72r3: crabs or crayfishes ?

  1. Pleasant to see acknowledged the presence of works and imagery of the Jewish sector in medieval Europe. All too rare, even today.

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