Mandrakes pollinating

Art portfolio- my work
"Mandrake: male and female (pollinating)" Embroidery on rubber and thread. Painted vintage frames

“Mandrake: male and female (pollinating)” Embroidery on rubber and thread. Painted vintage frames

 

“The belief in the animation of the doll reaches a culmination, vital yet half devilish, in the mandrake, or ‘gallowsman.’  The mandrake, which is mentioned even in the Bible, bears a name which itself signifies a living idol.  It is in reality the root of white bryony, which closely resembles the human form, or of the mandragora (called also Allermannskraut), which grows in the Southern Alps. “

In the Middle Ages it was believed that it originated from the last seminal effusion of a man hanged on the gallows, and that when uprooted it uttered a moaning cry.  Since he who digs it up must die, it is tied to the tail of a black dog, which is then made to drag it from the earth.  It must be washed with wine, bathed, nursed, and suitably clothed.  Its demonic character is revealed by the fact that it will not leave its possessor’  of itself, if it is carried away,  it returns tho him.  Should anyone desire to get rid of the root he must sell it more cheaply than he has bought it,  and the last purchaser has to keep it.  It brings luck to its possessor, makes him rich, opens up secrets to him, and many professional thieves today still hold to the conviction that with its help the doors of any castle can be unlocked.”  p 65 and 66 from the book Dolls by Max von Boehn

Mandrake female (detail)

Mandrake female (detail)

Mandrake male (detail)

Mandrake male (detail)

 

“Throughout the entire Orient the mandrake is regarded as a valuable talisman, for it is believed that it makes its possessor proof against cut, thrust, and bullet;  it is esteemed as an aphrodisiac’ since, too, the conviction is held that it can cure its possessor’s illnesses and transfer them to others, it is a highly coveted article.”  p 67 from the book: Dolls by Max von Boehn

 

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