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Alchemical Symbolism
Woodcuts paralleling animal emblems and apparatus. Back to alchemical symbolism index
Following upon the discussion on symbolic and physical alchemy where we saw various emblems being linked to physical laboratory apparatus, there is a well known book by Giambattista della Porta, De distillatione lib. IX., printed in 1608, which has a series of woodcuts paralleling emblematic animals with chemical apparatus. The chapter in which these occur is quite short and if and when I have time I will try and work up a rough translation of the Latin text.

Here a pair of lovers are associated with the double pelican, and a stork with a beaked flask.

Here is the single pelican, a serpent or coiled long neck distillation flask and a multi-headed winged dragon for a fractional distillation setup.