Illuminated Manuscripts - Page Geometry 2

The Earthly view of creation

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Symbolism of Four

Earthly View
diagrams: Diane George

The binding circle, containing the four elements, is the fifth unifying element: ether.

The innermost, green circle is symbolic of Christ and the path of the Sun. This basic diagram, the quatrefoil, is frequently used in illuminations and was fundamental in the composition of many Medieval works. The 'four-ness' of earthly life was fairly central to the thinking of the time.

Many Medieval cathedrals, stained glass windows – even medical treatments – were based upon the theory of the 'four-ness' of created life and the world. There are four directions, four winds, four evangelists, four elements, four seasons, four phases of the Moon, four conditions (wet, dry, hot, cold).... and to the Medieval mind there were four temperaments, into which everyone was grouped.    NEXT