950. [Alchemy - Theosophy]
Folio (toned, some soiling, 1 blank bottom corner repaired, a few very minor sm. def., centerfolds of some plates strengthened).
Old calf, gilt ruled border on covers, gilt spine, sp. edges, kept in morocco box with coloured and gilt-titled hermetic symbols on front cover (excellently repaired, sl. rubbed). Good copy.
2nd ed. (1st [Hamburg] 1595, with only 4 engravings) of the main hermetical work by the German follower of Paracelsus H. Khunrath (1560-1605), edited by his pupil Erasmus Wolfart. “The Universal Ter-tri-une Christian Cabalist, Divinely-Magical, and Physico-Chemical Amphitheatre of the Only True eternal Wisdom” is one of the most important books in the whole literature of theosophical alchemy and the occult sciences. “It is a theosophical commentary on selected verses from the Solomonic texts of the Bible in which Khunrath seeks to propound his "way of correctly philosophising" by a "mystical Ladder of Seven Orthodox Grades" [...] The images are among the most important and remarkable mystical drawings in the world, depicting remarkable illustrations of a kind of sophic Utopia, the whole symbolic landscape of the occultists” (Forshaw).
Engraved title, full-page engraved portrait of Khunrath, 9 double-page (incl. 4 circular ones) and 1 full-page engravings. The plates were engraved by Paul (or Peter) van der Doort (or Doost), a Dutch engraver in Hamburg. The portrait was engraved by Johan Dircks van Campen, active at Magdeburg. “A curious fact about the copies of the 1609 Amphitheatre is that they all have the engravings bound in different sequences”, except for the 4 original ones of 1595 (Forshaw; Eco). Printed within ruled border.
Ref. VD-17 12:120903N. - Paisey (BL) K-183. - Caillet 5747. - Ferguson I:463. - I. Macphail (Alchemy and the Occult, 1968) 62. - U. Eco (Lo strano caso della Hanau 1609, 1989). - P. Forshaw “Alchemy in the Amphitheatre” in Art & Alchemy (2006) (ext. study).
Prov. Libr. stamp on verso of engr. title (erased).
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