Beston Barnett Design

fine custom furniture and woodworking

Solomon’s Cabinets: Clavicula

44″w, 19″h, 17″d, mahogany, jarrah, gold leaf

“Clavicula” (“Key” in Latin) is part of a series of cabinets which use the abstract vocabulary of Islamic geometry to illustrate legends of the biblical King Solomon. During the Renaissance, a whole body of legends sprang up around Solomon having to do with sorcery, alchemy, and demonology. The “Clavicula Salomonis” (in Latin, though there were also Greek and Hebrew versions) was a grimoire from this era, pseudepigraphically attributed to Solomon and filled with seals or “pentacles” (often six- or seven-pointed) to be used as part of magical experiments. Solomon is said to have locked his harem with such seals. Here, I’ve criss-crossed three doors with an over-under lattice of six-fold geometry, “sealed” with a seven-pointed polygon. The slats are carved and gilt, to form undulating golden curves, suggesting the harem imprisoned. The interior of the cabinet features various of the actual “pentacles” from the books of magic, inlaid in quilted mahogany. With three ornamented doors, the cabinet can be mounted on a stand or hung on a wall with a French clete (as pictured).


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