"The Magic Flute" - Bro. Alberti and the Frontispiece of the Libretto on the Occasion of the First Performance in the Year 1791 (Page 12).

Ornamental vase top part

On the part of the vase turned to us, four snakes are coiling. Through the snaketailes coming out of the backside, we recognize that there are more snakes. Snakes have always been feared and were considered as cunning and clever. They are sinister to people because of their skilful movements, their unexpected assault and their dangerous poison. The snake is a symbol with a lot of contradicting interpretations. She belongs to the ground and to the gods of the ground. According to ancient Egyptian imagination, the underworld is populated with fire spitting snakes. In gnosticism, she is a symbol of life and death as well as of light and darkness.

Two into each other entangled dogs are lying on the lid keeping guard. Seen in a symbolic way, the dog is an animal at the threshold between this life and the life to come. He is the guard at the door of the underworld.

Next page or preceding page.