Ashlar Chippings

Veiled in Allegory and Illustrated by Symbols

 

The three Graces and ancient allegorical figures. Coloured engraving, ca. 1804-1811.
IMAGE LINKED:  wellcome collection Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Allegory – a subject which recalls another by reason of its analogous context. For instance, a bunch of grapes, because of the time of the year in which it is harvested, is symbolic or allegorical of Autumn.

Allegorical subjects were very popular during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The gods of classical mythology all had objects sacred to them.

The laurel was sacred to Apollo (Helios); the vine to Bacchus (Dionysius); the lightning bolt and the eagle to Jupiter (Zeus); the lionskin and club to Hercules (Hercules); and the caduceus to Mercury (Hermes), the names in brackets being the Greek equivalents of the Roman names first given. These attributes, standing by themselves, were symbolic of the gods who bore them.

 

Mercury with his caduceus, in his chariot, drawn by cockerels. Engraving by C. Lasinio after Raphael, 1516.
IMAGE LINKED:  wellcome collection Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

In Christian art both the lamb and the fish symbolized Jesus Christ.

 

Depicting the ‘Lamb of God’ – Saint John the Baptist. Engraving by P.P. Molés, 1770, after G. Reni..
IMAGE LINKED:  wellcome collection Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Groups of this kind were termed trophies. Symbolism was carried to great lengths, especially in the eighteenth century, when sets of porcelain and bronze figures represented the Seasons, Continents, Elements (Earth, Fire Air and Water), and so on, the meaning of which could only be deduced from the symbols they carried. Thus, flowers represented Spring; a sheaf of corn, Summer; grapes, Autumn; and a brazier, Winter.

 

Four female torsos joined at the waist with garden features as heads; symbolising the four seasons in a garden. Etching by T. B., c. 1797..
IMAGE LINKED:  wellcome collection Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Everyone was expected to be sufficiently well acquainted with this kind of symbolism to be able to identify the meaning.

[George Savage, Dictionary of Antiques, as quoted in Symbolism in Craft Freemasonry by Bro Colin Dyer. In considering the need for symbolism and allegory, we should remember that literacy was far from universal in past times.]

Intriguing Coincidence?

 

The Pillars of Jachin and Boaz, Calmet, 1789
IMAGE LINKED:  wellcome collection Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

[Bro Waller Rodwell] Wright claims that, the height of the pillars [in Solomon’s Temple] being eighteen cubits, this eighteen is a play on words with the name Hiram; the first two letters in the Hebrew for Hiram also mean eighteen while the remainder of the name, as written in that language, stands for ‘high’ or ‘lofty’.

 

alphabet of kabbalah
IMAGE LINKED:  https://glorian.org/learn/courses-and-lectures/alphabet-of-kabbalah/chet

[Extract from AQC, Vol. 89 (1976), p. 200. Waller Rodwell Wright was a most significant figure during the Union of the Grand Lodges. Many students will already know that certain Hebrew characters also have numeric values and the values of the characters ח (Chet [Ches, Het] 8) and י (Yod [Iod] 10) do indeed add up to 18 – vide: Genesius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures]

Article by: Hugh O'Neill

Hugh O'Neill

Past Master of Craft lodges under the constitution of the United Grand Lodge of England.

Member (Senior Warden 2021-2022) of Quatuor Coronati Lodge 2076,  the world’s premier Masonic research lodge.

Masonic historian and orator on Masonic topics.

 

Symbolism In Craft Freemasonry

By: Colin Dyer  (Author)

Freemasonry, in its Lodges and Ceremonies, makes use of a great deal of symbolism. This publication examines various documents and explains the reasons for the use of particular symbols into Masonry.

The author is acknowledged as an expert in this area of the Craft and the information contained in his book will enhance the knowledge of this fascinating subject. First published in 1976 this is the 2003 reprint.

 

Ars Quatuor Coronatorum Vol. 89 for Year 1976 

 

Genenius’s Hebrew And Chaldee Lexicon To The Old Testament Scriptures

By: Wilhelm Gesenius  (Author), Samuel Prideaux Tregelles  (Creator)

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. Therefore, you will see the original copyright references, library stamps (as most of these works have been housed in our most important libraries around the world), and other notations in the work. 

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public.

We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

 

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