Unidentified flying object in a copperplate

Oct 2013
4,956
Planet Nine, Oregon
#11
I don´t see there any connection to the ´bad breath´ issue. Moreover I don´t see any connection between that issue and the mano cornuta. Bad breath was in medieval times apparently no indication of the presence or effectiveness of evil forces. But, as I already said, maybe the illustrator took artistic freedom.
I wonder though, if it is not bad breath, but an enchantment making him unable to speak, thus he is attempting to avert the evil of the two snide witches with the apatropaic gesture. If you have a "rock in your mouth" perhaps that means you cannot speak in some variation of the tale.
 
Oct 2013
4,956
Planet Nine, Oregon
#12
I wonder though, if it is not bad breath, but an enchantment making him unable to speak, thus he is attempting to avert the evil of the two snide witches with the apatropaic gesture. If you have a "rock in your mouth" perhaps that means you cannot speak in some variation of the tale.
"Legamento, s. m. 1. the act of tying, binding, &c., 2. union, conjunction, relation ; 3 . enchantment, sorcery, witchcraft. ... Legå-re, v. a. 1. to tie, bind, fasten with a rope, chain, &c., to fasten, make fast : 2. to keep united..."
 
Nov 2016
311
Munich
#13
Firstly I don´t see any similarity between the hovering transparent object in front of the guy and a "pebble" or "rock", secondly the two women don´t actually make the impression of being "witches".

However I think it not impossible that the copperplate shows a Decameron scene, but am still doubting it for the mentioned reasons.

Given the guy in the copperplate illustration is Lydia´s husband Nicostratus: why hasn´t he a beard (which is mentioned in Decameron´s text), and why does he show the mano cornuta gesture with his left hand, which signifies defense against evil events or forces (e.g. a demon)? The beard should be shown in an illustration of the Decameron scene because Lydia has to take a lock from the beard of her husband. Furthermore, as far as I see nothing in Decameron´s text indicates that Nicostratus is terrified to a degree that he feels the necessity of showing the mano cornuta. Ok, it may be due to artistic freedom that the illustrator added the gesture, but the lack of the beard which is a necessary element of the story is hard to explain, except by forgetfulness or ignorance on the part of the illustrator.
 
Last edited:
Nov 2017
69
New Jersey, USA
#14
The thing in front of his face is probably a highly exotic speech scroll/banderole/phylactery. I'll just quote from wikipedia: "In art history, speech scroll (also called a banderole or phylactery) is an illustrative device denoting speech, song, or, in rarer cases, other types of sound."

What's also noteworthy about the work is the sign of the horns gesture the man makes, which is either meant to ward off bad luck, or it implies the ashamed woman's cuckoldry, or both. The style looks no later than 17th century to me, given that speech scrolls fell out of fashion after that. The wooden floor suggests it depicts a play, though I don't know which one it would be of. I don't think it's of the Decameron story.
 

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