Early German Firing Glass / Cannon

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This wonderfully copper-wheel engraved firing glass was a presentation piece from one German Brother to another.  It carries many of the symbols of Blue Lodge Masonry including the Seal of Solomon or Star of David with the Letter "G".  The Seal of Solomon or the Shield of David, for under both names the same thing was denoted, is a hexagonal figure consisting of two interlaced triangles, thus forming the outlines of a six-pointed star.  Upon it was inscribed one of the sacred names of God, from which inscription it was supposed principally to derive its talismanic powers.  These powers were very extensive, for it was believed that it would extinguish fire, prevent wounds in a conflict, and perform many other wonders.  The Jews called it the Shield of David in reference to the protection which it gave to the possessors.  But to the other Orientalists it was more familiarly known as the Seal of Solomon.  Among these imaginative people, there was a very prevalent belief in the magical character of the King of Israel.   He was esteemed rather as a great magician than as a great monarch, and by the signet that he wore, on which this talismanic seal was engraved, he is supposed to have accomplished the most extraordinary actions, and by it to have enlisted in his service the labors of the genii for the construction of his celebrated Temple.  The two triangles were said sometimes to be symbols of fire and water, sometimes of prayer and remission, sometimes of creation and redemption, or of life and death, or of ressurrection and judgement.  But at length the ecclesiologists seem to have settled on the idea that the figure should be considered as representing the two natures of our Lord--His Divine and His human nature.  Thus we find the Seal of Solomon dispersed all over Europe, in medallions, made at a very early period, on the breasts of the recumbent effigies of the dead as they lie in their tombs, and more especially in churches, where it is presented to us either carved on the walls or painted in the windows.  Everywhere in Europe, and now in the United States, where ecclesiastical architecture is beginning at length to find a development of taste, is this old Eastern talisman to be found doing its work as a Christian emblem.  The spirit of the old talismanic faith is gone, but the form remains, to be nourished by us as the natural homage of the present to the past.




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