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The Legendary Home of Witches and Devils
This is a rare and very unusual map of Blocksberg mountain, the highest of Germany's Harz Mountains.
The chart illustrates the Walpurgis Night (Walpurgisnacht) celebration. Walpurgisnacht is an ancient central European celebration with Christian and pagan origins, intended to welcome the Spring and drive away evil spirits. It takes place on the night of April 30-May 1, when legend has it that witches gather to dance atop the Brocken.
Blocksberg is the legendary home of witches (Hexen) and devils (Teufel). On the top of the mountain is the Hexentanzplatz, where the witches dance with the devil until he chooses one to partner with him in the coming year. At the conclusion of the dance the remaining witches take to the sky to search the world for young women to join their ranks.
The chart locates the nearby villages and includes two keys in scrolls in the upper corners. Two figures dance on the Hexentanzplatz, witches on their broomsticks fill the sky, and bonfires blaze on the mountain side. This is the second state with an additional notation dated 1751, explaining that the witches should not be taken seriously.
The French title is in a ribbon banner above the cartouche, Vue de la Montagne de Broken....
Homann Heirs was a German publishing firm that enjoyed a major place in the European map market throughout the eighteenth century. Founded in 1702 by Johann Baptist Homann, the business passed to his son, Christoph, upon Johann’s death in 1724. Christoph died in 1730, aged only 27, and the firm was inherited by subsequent Homann heirs. This altered the name of the company, which was known as Homann Erben, or Homann heirs. The firm continued in business until 1848.
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