Saturday, 13 May 2017

Georg Daniel Heumann’s engraving from Scheuchzer’s “Physica Sacra”, 1731

Georg Daniel Heumann (1691–1759)
“Pectorale Aharonis” (Breast Plate), 1731, Plate 201 from Johannes Jacob Scheuchzer’s (1672–1733) “Physica Sacra” (Augustae Vindelicorum & Vlmae [Augsburg and Ulm, Germany: Christian Ulrich Wagner]), M DCC XXXI–M DCC XXXV (1731–35]

Engraving on fine laid paper with margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 39.5 x 25.1 cm; (plate) 31.4 x 19.9 cm; (image borderline) 27.8 x 18.9 cm
Lettered above the image borderline: (right) TAB. CCI”.”
Lettered below the image border line: (left) “EXODI Cap. XXVIII. V. 8 – 20. / Pectorale Aharonis.”; (right) [German translation of the Latin text shown on the left] / G. D. Heümann sculps.”

Condition: Excellent impression with full margins (as published) in near pristine condition for its age.

I am selling this curious image from one of the most expensive bibles ever published for the total cost of AU$92 (currently US$67.92/EUR62.50/GBP52.71 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

I am not well read in terms of the biblical events and so my understanding of this curious illustration is based on gossamer-thin knowledge. Nevertheless, I will try to explain what the image is all about.

The architectural structure shown in the print displays the chest-piece/chest-plate of the high priest’s garments belonging to Aaron—Moses’ brother, who was (according to a source that I have lost in my web search) the first high priest of the Israelites, remembered for the miraculous blossoming of his staff or rod and, importantly, the keeper of God’s commandments. In the biblical book, “Exodus” (5th century BCE), chapter 28, verses 8 to 20, I have extracted the following description of what the priestly garments looked like (or should have looked like):

Verse 8: “[a] skilfully woven band on it shall be made … of one piece with … gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen.”

Verses 9 –11: “… two onyx stones …” [engraved with] the names of the sons of Israel … [enclosed] in settings of gold filigree.”

Verses 12 –14: “… set the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod [i.e. the priest’s garment] … and two chains of pure gold, twisted like cords; and you shall attach … to the settings.

Verses 15 – 20:”… a breast-piece … in the style of the ephod … of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen … square and doubled … set in … four rows of stones … sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row … second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond … the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst …and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper … set in gold filigree.”

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