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Thread: Ulrich Ruosch's Alchemical Manual

  1. #1
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    Ulrich Ruosch's Alchemical Manual

    This guy lived in the countryside of Switzerland in the 17th century. His manual is very small, only 8 x 6 cm, but has beautiful and very interesting images:







    Full book in low res:

    https://innergarden.org/artwork/ulrich_ruosch.html

    Does anyone know whether there is a higher quality scan somewhere available?

  2. #2
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    This is really nice. I had only seen the pages of the 4 elements posted by Ritman Library before. So quick searches show that McLean posted just the flask images at some point. But the innergarden.org page seems to be the complete set. I think the scans are small but are at "real size". This was supposedly a book he could carry in his pocket.

    Alchemical handbook of the Appenzell surgeon Ulrich Ruosch (1628-1690), c. 1680. The booklet in brown leather cover measuring only about 8 x 6 cm is Switzerland's smallest alchemical manuscript. It consists of 58 sheets, 10 front and 6 rear paper with personal notes of the owner. The main part consists of 42 parchment leaves of high quality. Its content is a summary of the alchemical worldview and shows the magical meaning of planets, numbers, letters, natural elements, and months. Furthermore, the seven virtues and the alchemical reactions with their 12 levels are shown.

    Alchemy is the doctrine of the interaction of all material and spiritual forces in the cosmos. As a universal secret doctrine, it stands outside and above today's academic sciences based on empirical facts. It includes not only chemistry but also medicine, theology, pharmacy, astrology, philosophy and geology. The best-known example of alchemical research is the centuries-long futile search for a method for converting lead into gold. The alchemical doctrine was cultivated already in the antiquity and came to the end of the Middle Ages again on strong interest. Her most famous innovator is the famous doctor Paracelsus (1493-1541).

    On the front page of the 11th sheet is a summary of the alchemistic worldview with symbols for the four elements, the twelve months, the signs of the zodiac and the seven alchemical planets. The sheet formed the quintessence of all subsequent pages.

    The back of page 31 shows the symbol for fire, lat. Ignis, one of the four elements.

    On the back of the 43rd sheet, the all-seeing eye of God is depicted. On the right is a large red heart with an opening at the top. God is looking into the heart of the alchemist. His intentions must be pure and his life impeccable, so that he can count in his actions with the support of the Creator God.

    The reverse of Sheet 44 shows the amalgamation, one of the twelve alchemical processes (dissolution, decay, dripping, calcification, coagulation, graining, philosopher's stone, softening, transformation, fixation and multiplication). On the bottle is a symbol of a basilisk, which is half cock and half dragon and thus represents an animal amalgam.
    - translated from German: https://zeitzeugnisse.ch/detail.php?...age=1&offset=0
    There is a german book about this, 'Das Alchemiehandbuch des Appenzeller Wundarztes Ulrich Ruosch' by Rudolph Gamper and Thomas Hofmeir. I've only been able to find a review of the book, but it contains some interesting information that ties this to some other recent conversations:

    The alchemical handbook has been reproduced almost in its entirety in this handsome volume, which was commissioned by the present owner of the manuscript and edited and elaborated by two able historians. As an alchemical manuscript of the mid- to late seventeenth century, it holds few surprises. The forty leaves of parchment contain polygonal diagrams with captions that allude to the structure and metamorphosis of the four elements and the seven metals, as well as a cabbala-like alphabet inscribed in circles, and pictorial representations of the four elements, the twelve signs of the zodiac, the seven virtues and the twelve stages of the great work of alchemical transmutation. Around this parchment core were added paper pages on which Ruosch recorded eleven recipes, two of which are strictly medicinal, eight alchemical, and one an account of how to extinguish fire by throwing an egg inscribed with a Hebrew psalm into it.

    As Thomas Hofmeier makes clear in his learned and useful discussion, the ordering of the contents constructs step by step a picture of the universe in its essential structure, then moves on to the virtues that an observer and imitator of the cosmos, the alchemist, must practice, for, as the last in the series of emblematic images of the virtues in the handbook makes clear, God sees straight into the heart of the adept. The images of the twelve stages of the transmutation each contain a flask with coloured liquid, atop which a symbolic creature sits, all set against a delicate This content downloaded from landscape. The landscape itself seems to be included as an allusion to the journey through nature that the work of the alchemist represents.
    Sounds like the greek "Kosmos"... Or "Nature".. Or Maaseh Bereshit (Works of Creation/Formation)

  3. #3
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    Very cool thanks for posting. The images of his look very colorful.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Marcus View Post
    This is really nice. I had only seen the pages of the 4 elements posted by Ritman Library before. So quick searches show that McLean posted just the flask images at some point. But the innergarden.org page seems to be the complete set. I think the scans are small but are at "real size". This was supposedly a book he could carry in his pocket.



    There is a german book about this, 'Das Alchemiehandbuch des Appenzeller Wundarztes Ulrich Ruosch' by Rudolph Gamper and Thomas Hofmeir. I've only been able to find a review of the book, but it contains some interesting information that ties this to some other recent conversations:



    Sounds like the greek "Kosmos"... Or "Nature".. Or Maaseh Bereshit (Works of Creation/Formation)
    Indeed. Even though you might expect a book of prescriptions, it illustrates the alchemical cosmos, really.

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