While poking around on the Internet for some pictures to inspire the artist for the campaign, I came across a small puzzle that I’d like to share with you.
While reading the Veritable Key of Solomon, the following illustration among the talismans of Venus caught my eye:
Isn’t that just bizarre? You might recall, as previously stated, that this document dates to around 1796. Imagine my surprise to come across this illustration from the public domain work India in Primitive Christianity by Arthur Lille, dating from 1909, at sacred-texts.com:
I’m hardly an expert on this sort of gem, and no provenance is given in the text, but I’d propose a date of the 2nd-3rd century.
This isn’t quite as unusual as it might seem. Even as early as the eighteenth century, this sort of gem was recognized by antiquaries and historians. It’s quite possible that the artist for the Key saw a gem such as this in a private collection – or in a museum? – and decided to incorporate it into the manuscript.
A number of questions remain to be answered – how common was this sort of gem? where could examples be found? – and I might not have the time myself. Nonetheless, it’s an intriguing puzzle that I hope someone will decipher someday.