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Mercury Hebrew astrological amulet

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2011,8031.1

  • Title (object)

    • Mercury Hebrew astrological amulet
  • Description

    Twenty-first century version of a silver Hebrew Renaissance style planetary talisman based upon a design first described by Cornelius Agrippa in 1531.

    The obverse of the talisman features a magic number square known as the Kamea of Quicksilver (Table of Mercury) accompanied by Hebrew inscriptions relating to the planet.

    The table is composed of 64 numbers arranged in an 8x8 grid pattern. Adding the numbers in each row, column or diagonal yields the number 260 (number of the spirit or intelligence of the planet Tiriel) while the total sum of the grid numbers is 2080 (number of the demon spirit Taphthartharath). On the left side of the grid lies the Hebrew characters for the prophecy of Tiriel and Taphthartharath.

    The reverse contains a set of Cabbalistic astrological symbols for Mercury surrounded by a Hebrew inscription.

    The central section features four symbols. The top symbol is composed of a grid pattern composed of circles, squares and triangle which is the character or seal for Mercury. The symbol immediately below is the symbol for Mercury used in western astrology. The parallel line symbol on the bottom left represents Taphthartharath while the pointed symbol on the right represents Tiriel.

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  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 4 June 2011
  • Production place

    • Made in: Colorado
    • (Americas,North America,United States of America,Colorado (state))
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 43 millimetres
    • Weight: 34.7 grammes
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Hebrew
      • Inscription Position

        Obverse: left side of the magic number table
      • Inscription Language

        Hebrew
      • Inscription Translation

        A fixed place; Tiriel (Angel/Intelligence of Mercury); prophecy
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Script

        Hebrew
      • Inscription Position

        Obverse: right side of the magic number table
      • Inscription Language

        Hebrew
      • Inscription Translation

        Taphthartharath (Demon/Spirit of Mercury)
  • Curator's comments

    Here the craftsman describes the process of creating this amulet:

    ‘I made this design by drawing it in AutoCAD. I converted the AutoCAD file into an Adobe PDF. I emailed the PDF file to a company that photo-etched the image into a sheet of metal. I cut out the metal, glued, shaped, and polished the two halves together. Next, I made a mould of the model. Using a wax injector I filled the mould with wax and removed the wax when it cooled. From this point I used the lost wax method to cast the piece.’Additional references:

    E.A. Wallis Budge ([1930]/1978), 'Amulets and Superstitions', New York: Dover Publications Inc. (chapters VIII, XXI and XXII)

    Joshua Trachtenberg ([1939]/2004), 'Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion', Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (chapter 16)

    T Schrire (1966), 'Hebrew Amulets: their decipherment and interpretation', London: Routledge and Kegan Paul (chapters 11 & 12)

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  • Bibliography

    • Budge E A W 1930a bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2011

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    2011,8031.1

Obverse of the Mercury Hebrew astrological amulet featuring a magic table of numbers

Obverse

Obverse of the Mercury Hebrew astrological amulet featuring a magic table of numbers

Image description

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Object reference number: MCT31934

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