Certainly, a meaning could be assigned to many of them through further research, but such a
step would fail to recognize the character of the emblem as an open form and would deprive the
recipient of the freedom to assign a meaning to the emblem which differs from the primary
sources.The Munich Emblem Database seeks to do justice to this problem as far as the emblem
books permit.The Munich project does one of three things: 1) interprets the relationship between
the pictura and its possible meaning; 2) uses the author's elucidation as commentary (as cited from
Dilherr); or 3) provides no reference to meaning (as in the Emblematische Gemühts-Vergnügung).
he examples cited below may clarify the decision not to draw conclusions about the mean-
ing of an emblem through an index. Instead users can carry out a full-text search by enter-
ing self-selected keywords into the input field or form their own hypotheses about meaning by
looking at the available text selections from the emblem book themselves.
The Augsburg publishing house of the art dealer and engraver Jeremias Wolff published the
three-part Emblematischer Parnassus by Laurentius Wolfgang Woyt (1673-1739), a protestant min-
ister and member of the Pegnesicher Blumenorden, who was primarily known as an author of
In each of the three volumes of the Emblematischer Parnassus 500 emblems are
distributed over 42 pages. Each emblem contains four engraved mottos in Latin, French, Italian,
and German. A page with the description of the pictura and a distich in German precedes each
plate.An independently paginated appendix entitled "Moralische Applicationes" (Moral Applica-
tions), which provides moral and spiritual interpretations of the emblems, follows the section with
the plates.This emblem encyclopedia provides the ideal opportunity to pursue the question of
whether I know what I see, or do I see what I know.This question addresses the problem of iden-
tification in the description of the image, a central point in managing an emblem database.
The fourth medallion in the first plate (ill. 4) of the third volume (ill. 5) shows a creek or river
with two anglers and several trees on the shore.
See footnote 13, Praz (1964) 539;
see footnote 4, Landwehr (1972) no.
Illustration 4: Laurentius Wolfgang Woyt, Emblematischer
Parnassus. Part 3, Augsburg: J.Wolff, 1730, p. 5 (ZIKG:
SB 327/6 R).
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