The Emblem Books of the Dombibliothek Freising

As an intermedial genre, the emblem is a combination of image and text that can be designed in two or more parts within the book emblematics.

An essential feature of an emblem is the tension or mystery that develops between the parts of the text, in particular the motto, and the image. The tripartite form, consisting of two text parts (motto, subscriptio) and an image (pictura), can be seen with Henkel and Schöne (1967) as the basic structure of an emblem. Nonetheless, against the background of the rich history of emblematics, it has never attained an ideal quality.

The genre of book emblematics has enjoyed great popularity since the first emblem book from the sixteenth century, the Emblemata of Andrea Alciato (1492-1550), published in Augsburg in 1531. It lost its importance in the eighteenth century.

The emblem books of the Dombibliothek Freising (Cathedral Library Freising) contain over 220 emblems from ten publications from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. For example, the title Lieblich rüchende CENTIFOLIA (Sweet-Smelling CENTIFOLIA) from 1709, a collection of sermons edited and illustrated on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Fraternity of the Blessed Sacrament of St Peter in Munich, is of particular interest for two reasons: on the one side, the work is situated on the border between pure "book emblematic" and so-called "non-literary emblematics", which is important in literary history. On the other side, the work shows a view of the cityscape of Munich dated to around 1700, which is why CENTIFOLIA also occupies a prominent position from the perspective of urban and cultural history.

Judith Frankhäuser-Kandler / Johannes Kandler

>> This collection is part of the holdings of the Dombibliothek Freising (Cathedral Library Freising).