Friday, September 7, 2012

Lutheran Family Bible by E. Gately & Co.

I think many of you have seen Christian Bibles with masonic symbols used in the designs, but in case you haven't, I'm posting one here. Curious, isn't it? Well, this is a Lutheran Bible in German, which should give you some explanations as to why, if you know a bit about Freemasonry, and remember the history of Protestant Reformation and Martin Luther, for that matter. Masons can be Christians, but just not Catholics, I guess. Anyway, this is Heilige Schrift (Holy Scripture, Illusterated Family Bible in German), published by E. Gately & Co. in 1882. The restoration of this Bible involved external & internal re-hinging, repairs on the edges & corners. Very straight forward tasks.

The cover is filled with masonic symbols: TOP - Hourglass (mortality, human life) Arc of the Covenant (relation to the Knights Templar) The Sun & the Moon, (Gods in pagan belief & relations to astrology) Solomon's Temple with the letter G (G signifies God, the Great Architect of the Universe, Geometry, the Universe's fundamental law). RIGHT: Three Pillars (Wisdom, Strength, Beauty) Anchor (hope). The dove with an olive branch (The emblem of the deacon that signifies the messenger & innocence) Ark (faith) Gavel (authority). LEFT: Pot of incense (pure mind), Jacob's Ladder with seven rounds (Progress towards perfection, and seven steps derived from Mithraism). CENTER: The Masonic blazing star (God). The square & the compass with the level ( The square: virtue & morality. The compass: wisdom of boundaries, The level: equality) BOTTOM: Beehive (industry) Eye of Providence (Eye of God) over the Masonic alter. Whew, ... did I miss anything? I've scanned the cover so that you can check them out yourself!

Monday, September 3, 2012

De L'esprit des Loix, (The Spirit of the Laws), 1758

When I was a teenager, I came to the United States as a part of a school trip, and paid a visit to The National Archives Building while in DC. Although I had only about 15 seconds to get a glance at each founding document of The United States, it was one of the most moving experiences I had had in my youth. All those documents and manuscripts looked so fragile with almost invisible, faded texts in dimly lit displays, and their humble statues contrasted to the idea of the most powerful country in the world. I remember I was thinking of Montesquieu at the display of The Constitution. Well, little I knew that I'd come to handle his master work, The Spirit of the Laws, some twenty years later. This is a three volume set of De L'esprit des Loix (Esprit des Loix) by Charles Louis de Montesquieu, published in Amsterdam in 1758. (Nouvelle Edition.) As all the original cords were still attached to the covers intact, and the original endsheets had to be fully preserved as they were, the conventional re-hinge method couldn't be performed. The alternative re-hinge method used here is normally conducted on medieval bindings wherein the spines are glued to the book, yet they must be preserved. It's partly superficial, so it had to be done with the most care in order to get the maximum integrity and to make the repairs as invisible as possible. The top and bottom of the spine were worn out, so I had to recreate them as well. Original ribbons are ironed and reattached, the hinges of the endsheets were mended and the corners are repaired.