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A Memento Mori as New Year greeting | by Kintzertorium
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A Memento Mori as New Year greeting

The sheet is printed from eleven blocks; in the centre of the print is a woman with a skull instead of the face reflected in the mirror which she is holding; her mirror and dress are inscribed; further inscriptions are on six scrolls; at the top and bottom of are two borders, of which the upper one contains Christ-child, two angels and greetings for the new year. c.1500.

 

► The text on the label from the departmental exhibition at the BM in 2002 reads as follows:

"A memento mori as New Year greeting, about 1500

Xylographic sheet (in which text as well as image are cut in the block), 11 blocks, partly coloured and underlined in red, probably published in Munich

The beautiful woman with long hair has a skull in the place of the young face she sees in her mirror. The main text underlines the obvious message. It is written in verse by the Munich poet Hans Kurz, whose name appears on the hem on the woman's skirt. The two ribbon-texts which flank her add the information that her name is Syman (sie-Mann) and Frau Hille (Holle), respectively virago and witch.

The heading gives the function of the sheet as a New Year greeting. Its male producers (artist, poet, printer) thus issue a warning to those who buy and contemplate the sheet that women are dangerous agents of mortality in the world. Above sits the Christ-child holding the orb of power."

 

► Dodgson notes that the poet's name Hans Kurz and the dialect link the cut to Bavaria, but the style rather recalled the school of Basle and Strassburg around 1500-10.

 

► Inscriptions:

On the upper border the New Year's wishes: "EIN GVT SELIG NEV IAR BVSCH ICH EVCH"

On the scroll underneath the upper border: "~ Leben · Leben · Leben ~ Ich bin iung schön hübsch wolgestalt · Wie aber wenn ich wird alt"

On the central block: on the dress the name "Hans KVRCZ" is inscribed, on the mirror: "ZIT BRINGT ALLE DING"

 

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Taken on October 19, 2008