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> Images of Ancien God

Images of Ancient God” by Vincenzo Cartari, published in 1626 (2nd edition, description by  Lorenzo Pignoria)

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The first version of the “Second Part of the Images of Indian Gods” was published in 1615. This recension, however, does not include details from the Azuchi Castle screens and four images of the Peiresc’s kris. These additions first appear in the 1624 edition. Notably, all five editions were published in Padua or in Venice, the base of the “Padua cell” and where existed a more “liberal” cultural climate, and not in Rome. 

The original sketches by Philips van Winghe or copies of them may contain more details, context, notes on the screens, and even be accompanied by additional sketches. 

The challenge for us is that most of van Winghe’s original notes and manuscripts are considered to be lost. Exceptions include the so-called Notebook conserved at the Royal Library of Brussels and a few loose sheets kept in disparate locations. Various manuscripts containing material copied from van Winghe’s records have also survived. All known originals and copies feature visual and textual descriptions of ancient and Early Christian inscriptions and monuments mainly in Rome. Very few notes on the Far East or other parts of the world—with the exceptions of an image of the Mexican god Quetzalcoatl, some Egyptian antiquities, and the English Stonehenge ancient monument, among others—are included. 

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Extract from Peiresc's letter to Pignoria, 4 January 1616. Carpentras, Bibliothèque Inguimbertine, ms 1875. 

Philips van Winghe’s sketches of the Azuchi Castle screens, two illustrations that feature two buildings described by the author as “temples of some Japanese deities”, were provided to Lorenzo Pignoria by Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1580-1637), a French universal humanist, after that date. Indeed, in his letter, Peiresc offers various new “very curious Indian” materials to his friend, among which a “temple of Japanese [people] at the peak of amount extracted from the paintings the Japanese ambassadors gave to Gregory XIII of blessed memory”

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