Early German work on Indian myths - help for ID

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Fri Dec 1 21:52:48 UTC 2000

We are acquiring a volume in German consisting entirely of
illustrations of Indian mythology. From the style I would expect it to
be from the late 18th or early 19th c.  The 7 tables are numbered
i-iii, i-iv. The script is Roman, not Fraktur.

Tab. I has these captions: Die 21 Welten tragende Schildkroete...;
Die Unterwelt Patalam...
Tab. II: Die VII Himmelreiche der ober-welt oder die VII Loks vel
Tab. III: Mortion v. Murto, die VII Kreise der Mittelwelt....
Tab. I-IV, larger, lack captions except for figure numbers and
consist of 30 or more small figures per page.  Some appear directly
copied from Indian pictures though without any attempt, or at least
any successful attempt, to render the style.  E.g. one scrupulously
renders the torn corners of the original page, perhaps fearing some
image may have been lost.  Others appear like nothing I have ever seen
as far as iconography goes.  I suspect some of these have been either
created by the artist from textual sources or are from syncretistic
combinations with Western occultist or unity-of-all-mythologies
thought; many strikingly resemble illustrations from Western
alchemical books.  Fig. 112 and 113 of Tab. 1 seem to be based on the
Four Beasts of Ezekiel and Revelations with the addition of a cobra in
the first case and a man in a yoga posture and a goat in the second.

I have examined our copies of the following early German works on
Indian mythology and found they are different:
Dorow. Die indische mythologie
Vjasa (periodical)
Wolheim da Fonseca. Mythologie des alten Indien
Kleuker. Das brahmanische religionssystem
Petiscus. Der Olymp
Kanne. Pantheum der aeltesten Naturphilosophie
Kanne. Erte urkunden der geschichte, oder, Allgemeine mythologie
Bryant, New system; or, An analysis of ancient mythology (in case
there might have been a German trans.)
Rhode. Ueber religioese bildung, mythologie und philosophie der

LC does not have a copy of Kanne. System der indischen mythe; oder,
Chronus, which according to the OCLC record has illustrations.

I have also checked Mitter, Much Maligned Monsters and found nothing

Could anyone help me identify this intriguing item?


Allen Thrasher

Library of Congress

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