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Medieval Manuscripts: Splendor Solis

If you ever wondered how to transform metals into gold, this is the manuscript for you. Splendor Solis takes us into the world of 16th-century alchemy, and does so with a series of magnificent full-page miniatures abounding with mysterious symbols.

One of the first alchemistic treatises in the world, Splendor Solis – or Sonnenglanz – has been attributed to the legendary Salomon Trismosin, teacher of Paracelsus and claimed possessor of the philosopher’s stone.

The nineteen miniatures, set in ornamental borders reminiscent of Books of Hours, represent anthropomorphic planets, flasks containing symbols such as dragons and peacocks, and alchemic processes.

The Splendor Solis, whose illuminator remains unknown, was copied in several volumes until the eighteenth century. The original 1531 manuscript is currently kept in the Berlin State Library.

Our thanks to Facsimile Finder for helping us create this post. You can learn more about this manuscript and see more images by visiting their website.

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