Space is full of creatures.
Detail from the Portrait of the Astronomer Nikolaus Kratzer (1528) after Hans Holbein the Younger
You probably associate Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry with the calendar pages, but it has many more stunning illustrations. Like this Anatomical man.
Each zodiac sign corresponds to a specific part of the body, starting with Pisces, the feet, and working up their way to the head, with Aries, the ram, that has sacred connotations.
In each top corner are painted the arms of the Duke of Berry. Each area is complemented by four Latin inscriptions describing the properties of each sign according to the four complexions (hot, cold, wet or dry), the four temperaments (choleric, melancholic, sanguine and phlegmatic) and the four cardinal points:
- “Aries, Leo and Sagittarius are warm and dry, choleric, masculine, Eastern” in the upper left
- “Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn are cold and dry, melancholy, female, Western” in the upper right
- “Gemini, Aquarius and Libra are hot and humid, sanguine, masculine, Southern” in the lower left
- “Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces are cold and wet, phlegmatic, feminine, Northern” in the lower right
Frederik de Wit, Planisphærium cœleste (17th century),
Abu Bakr Ben Yusuf (Astrolab), assembled in year 613 of the Hegira, c.1217.
Sacra exequialia in funere Jacobi II magnae Britanniae regis (1702). Detail.
What constellations looked like in 818 AD; from a manuscript that is almost 1200 years ago.
This manuscript is so old, algebra wasn’t discovered yet. (Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Ḵwārizmī will discover it in 820 AD)
From Sammlung astronomisch-komputistischer und naturwissenschaftlicher Texte - BSB Clm 210
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