PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Antique Engraving Published 1844, Paris for "Atlas Geographique Et Iconographique Du Cours Complet D'ecriture Sainte." by Theophile Blanchard & Barrere Freres. Derives from similar images by Calmet 1725 in his Dictionary of the Bible. These apparently baffling images of Mandrake refer to the practice of attempting to animate mandrakes into human "androids" (in the pre-robotic definition) by clothing and nurturing them. The idea was that man, himself born of the dust of the earth, had a basic umbelical prefigurement in this root. Use of semen and fertile soil could bring the already human-like mandrake more towards the human condition. Such works fell into the realm of black magic and was frowned upon by the church. And it never worked.
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