Art and Alchemy: Calcination

Art of burning to complete ash. Historical imagery and allegory of the process of fire with attributions.

I saw during my sleep a certain little man, a barber dressed in a red robe and royal clothing, who was standing outside the place of punishment, and he said to me: ‘What are you doing here, O man?’ And I said to him: “I stop here because I have gone astray from all directions, I find myself lost.” He tells me, then: ‘Follow me.’ And I came and I followed him. As we near the place of punishment, I saw the one who guided me, this little barber to engage in this place and his whole body was consumed by fire.

Zosimos (c. 300 AD)
Book of Lambspring (1625)
A compleat body of chymistry (1670) Nicaise Le Fèvre
Philosophia reformata (1622) Johann Daniel Mylius

Therefore when bodies to powder be burnt,

Dry as ashes of tree or bone,

Of such calxes then will we will have none,

For moisture we multiply radical,

In our calcining, diminishing none at all.

George Ripley (1471)
Azoth – Philosophia reformata (1622) Johann Daniel Mylius
Ulrich Ruosch Manuscript (1680)

…and put it to the fire, and you shall see wonderful things from them.

Attributed to Maria Profetissa
Atalanta fugiens (1618)

Know my Son, that the philosophers bind up their matter with a strong chain, that it may contend with the Fire; because the spirits in the washed bodies desire to dwell therein and to rejoice. In these habitations they verify themselves and inhabit there, and the bodies hold them, nor can they be thereafter separated any more.

Attributed to Hermes Trismegistus
Drawings of Alchemical Apparatus (1557)

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