Images to Tell a Story

Tamagawa Yoshihisa, Tsuba with design of two dragons, early-mid 19th century (source).

Tsuba in the form of a peony blossom, made in Japan, early-mid 19th century (source).

Geertgen tot Sint Jans (c. 1465 – c. 1495)The Glorification of Mary (De verheerlijking van Maria)Alternate title: Virgin and Child (De maagd en het Kind)1470-1495In his Glorification of Mary, the figures of Maria with her baby are surrounded by three circles of halo. Within the halo are all sorts of musical instruments. This painting shows some of the oldest pictures of musical instruments known in the Netherlands. The baby Jesus is playing with a pair of bells, and seems to be playing music with an angel in the outermost halo, holding an identical set of bells. (Wiki)
Here description and interpretation.

Petrus Apianus - Astronomicum Caesareum - Ingolstadt, 1540 
volvelle - medieval instrument consisting of a series of concentric rotating disks, used to compute the phases of the moon and its position in relation to that of the sun

Rembrandt : Faust (ca. 1652)
An old man looks up from his work. A bright, radiating disk has appeared at the window of his study. Within the circle of light is a mysterious text. It is an anagram - that is, words in which the letters are in a different order. Reading from the inside out, it says: INRI ADAM Te DAGERAM AMRTET ALGAR ALGASTNA, although just what that means is unclear. To the right of the disk, a hand can be distinguished, which points to something resembling an oval mirror. Although the room is poorly lit, many things can still be perceived; the books, the globe¹ and the skull, left rear, all suggest that the man is educated. ¹The object in this print by Rembrandt is a scientific instrument known as an astrolabe used to determine the positions of celestial bodies in relation to the horizon and to calculate time.

Oskar Kokoschka, Schlafende Frau (aus: Die träumenden Knaben), 1907/1908
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