The LION & the CARDINAL by DANIEL MITSUI


The LION & the CARDINAL
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19 July 2002

Draft

ATHANASIUS KIRCHER ~ CABINET of CURIOSITIES



A partial catalogue of the machines presented in his museum:
Two helical spirals most skilfully measuring cycles with the twisted coils of snakes. An organ, driven by an automatic drum, playing a concert of every kind of birdsong, and sustaining in mid-air a spherical globe, continually buffetted by the force of the wind.

A hydrostatic-magnetic machine, representing the hours, zodiac, planets and the whole fabric of the heavens. The hours are described by means of a very simple motion, in which images of the Sun and Moon alternately ascend and descend vertically. The divisions of the hour are marked by the sympathetic motion of the flight of small birds.

A magnetic-hydraulic machine displaying the time all over the world, as well as the astronomical, Italian, Babylonian and ancient hours.

A little fountain moving the globe weighing down on the head of Atlas in a circle by hidden movements.

A fountain lifts a genie fixed in the water up and down, with a perpetual motion of tossing about and turning.

A fountain in which the Goddess Isis, contained in a crystalline sphere, is sustained, and greets guests by spraying water everywhere.

A hydraulic machine that apes perpetual motion, recently invented by the Author, consisting of a clepsydra that flows out when it is inverted, and again when it is turned the right way up, wetting a watery heaven with its spray.

A hydraulic machine most skilfully representing the Primum Mobile, and violently impelling a brass snake resting on top of the water in twists and turns by water.

A water-vomiting hydraulic machine, at the top of which stands a figure vomiting up various liquids for guests to drink.

A hydraulic clock urging or carrying globes or genies up and down inside crystal tubes of five palms in height, indicating the different times.

A hydraulic machine, which supports a crystal goblet, from one side of which a thirsty bird drinks up water, that a snake revomits from the other side while opening its mouth

A hydrotectonic machine moving armed knights from one place and a crowd returning from another by means of continual drops.

A two-headed Imperial Eagle, vomitting water copiously from the depths of its gullets.

A crowd of dancing genies driven by the silent approach of water.

The dove of Archytas reaching towards a crystalline rotunda and indicating the hours by its free flight.

The catoptric theatre, completely filled with a treasure of all sorts of delicacies, fruits, and precious ornaments.

An architectural perspective representing the arrangement of the rooms inside a magnificent palace.

A perpetual screw, the invention of Archimedes, by which it is an easy matter to lift 125 pounds with the strength of a very weak small boy.

A large crystalline globe full of water representing the resurrection of the Saviour in the midst of the waters.

Various thermoscopes, or thermometers which indicate the daily growth of simples, the mutations of the air, the ebb and flow of the tide, and the variation of the winds, together with experiments on the origins of springs.

An extremely large concavo-convex burning mirror, with a collection of many mirrors, some of which show ghosts in the air, others show objects unchanged, others show them multiplied and others reconstitute completely undetermined species from a confused series into a beautiful form. Amongst these there is one which reconstitutes the effigy of Alexander VII.

A large number of mechanical clocks, one of which plays harmonious music by a concert of bells with an elaborate movement, at any hour it plays the sound, also every half-hour with a marvellous harmony of notes and sweetness of sound it plays the hymn Ave Maris stella. Another one indicating the time of day by the movement of a pendulum. Another , finally, giving the minutes and seconds of time. The part of the world illuminated by the sun, the increase and decrease of day and night. The current sign of the zodiac, the astronomical and Italian hours, as well as the ancient hours, or the unequal hours, which it describes along a straight line by a singular artifice. Many sundials.

Armillary spheres, and celestial and terrestrial globes, equipped with their meridians and pivots. Astrolabes, Planispheres, Quadrants, a very full collection of mathematical instruments.

The Delphic Oracle, or speaking statue.

A Divinatory Machine for any planetary influence at the circumference of two glass spheres by genies moved uniformly by a mutually sympathetic motion. Twisting themselves to the same degree at a large distance, each of them in his sphere indicates the same point of the sign.

Various motions of solid globes bearing a resemblance to perpetual motion.

A hydraulic perpetual motion by rarefaction and condensation, an Archimedean screw carrying globes up with a continual motion through helical glass channels.
Selected illustrations from
Romani Collegii Societatus Jesu Musaeum Celeberrimum, a description of Kircher's museum written by Giorgio de Sepibus and published in 1678:






















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