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Mirror-Image Monograms As Printers’ Devices On Title Pages Of Hebrew Books Printed In The Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries

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Chapter Summary

Hebrew printers' devices take a variety of shapes and forms, seemingly limited only by the printers' imagination and good taste. Within Hebrew books printed over the last several centuries, one form of printers' escutcheon employed rather sparingly is the monogram made up of the printer's or publisher's initials. Abraham Yaari reproduces 208 printers' devices in Hebrew Printers' Marks; nine of them, representing seven printers, are mirror-image monograms or, more precisely, ciphers. Mirror-image monograms can be read directly and in reverse (mirror) image. They result in more attractive and certainly more complex marks than the simple interlacing of letters. A small number of Hebrew printers utilized mirror-image monograms as their devices. This chapter gives an overview of the use of these monograms by Hebrew printers, focusing on the most important printers, a selection of mirror-image monograms, and those devices not represented in Hebrew Printers' Marks.

Keywords: Abraham Yaari; ciphers; Hebrew books; Hebrew printers' devices; mirror-image monograms



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