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Articles - CfP Topic

Vol. 7 No. 1 (2021): Materiality of Writing. Reconsidering Religious Texts

Born under a Lucky Star: Interpretations of Illustrations of Pseudo-astrological Birth Amulets from German-Jewish Printing Houses in the 18th Century

August 10, 2020


The subject of this article are illustrations of the zodiac signs on birth amulets from German-Jewish printing houses from the 18th century. These woodcuts are part of a long tradition of astrological references in Jewish art and literature. However, it is noticeable that the amulet texts do not contain any astrological topics. Therefore, the question arises in which relation the woodcuts stand to the text and the function of the amulets. By contextualizing the images with other contemporary traditions of illustration, three interpretation models are developed which can explain the choice of the zodiac signs on the amulets.