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Medieval Academy of America

Eckstein
Author(s): Ananda K. Coomaraswamy
Source: Speculum, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Jan., 1939), pp. 66-72
Published by: Medieval Academy of America
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ECKSTEIN
BY ANANDA K. COOMARASWAMY

IN a remarkablebook, Considerthelilies,howtheygrow(Matth.,vi,28) published


by the PennsylvaniaGermanFolkloreSociety,1937,Mr Stoudt,whoseinterpretationofPennsylvaniaGermanart is based entirelyon 'the historicalmanifestations of mysticalreligion'(with special emphasis on Jacob Bohme, Dante, St
Bernard,and the Bible), was fora longtimepuzzled by the diamondmotif;until
findinga passage in the writingsof AlexanderMach where(in accordancewith
the Biblical textscitedbelow) 'Christwas spokenofas the Eckstein. . . he realised that the (German) word for diamond was the same as for cornerstone'
(p. 76). The device occurson stove-plates,and in thisconnectionMr Stoudt appropriately
citesthe instruction
by ClementofAlexandriato theearlyChristians
to place theacceptedsymbolsofChriston theirdomesticutensils.
So far,so good. We can, however,go further,
and enquirein what sensesChrist
is thus referredto both as 'diamond' and as 'corner-stone,'or more literally
'angle (-stone).'1In Ps. ccxviii,22 = Matth., xxi,42 =Luke xx, 17, we have 'The
stone whichthe buildersrejected,the same is become the head of the corner'
caput anguli); in Eph. ii, 20, 'Himselfthe chiefcorner-stone'
(Ke-aX)ivyywvtas,
avroo'xpto-rov1
(OvroS &KpoywmvtaLov
summoangularilapide ChristoJesu)
'I7o-ov,ipso
the text continuing:'in whom each separate building fitlyframedtogether
constructa=Skr.saimskrta)growethinto a holy temple (ets
(o-vvapJ.o8oLyo1o7'vrv,
vaov&ytov)in the Lord, in whomye also are buildedtogether(coedificamini)
for
a habitationofGod in theSpirit(evIlveb4tart= Skr.dtmani).'The evidentintention of the text is to depict the Christas the unique principleupon which the
whole edificeof the Churchdepends. The principleof anythingis neitherone
among otherparts of it, nor a totalityof parts,but that in whichall parts are
reducedto a unitywithoutcomposition.The figureis parallelto that ofmembershipin theMysticalBody ofChrist.But a 'cornerstone'in the accepted sense of
a stone at the cornerofa building,howeverimportant,and even if an uppermost
quoin be intended,is onlyone offourequal supports;we cannotlogicallyspeak
ofthecorner-stone;
and any one cornerstoneratherreflectsthan is the dominating principleof a building.We begin to suspect that the meaningof 'cornerstone' may have been misunderstood:
that that in whichmen are 'all buildedtogether'cannotbe thoughtofas a corner-stone
in thesenseofa stoneat the corner
or angle of the building.
To knowwhat is meant by the evidentlyequivalentexpressions'head of the
angle' and 'chiefangular(-stone)'we mustask firstwhat is meantby the 'angle'
or 'angular (-stone).' To speak of a 'corner'begs the questionbecause, forus, a
corneris always one ofmany,typicallyfour:'angle,' whichmay implyeitherthe
corneror the peak of a buildingor pediment,is intentionallynon-committal.
rwvtLa
may refereitherto position,as beingat an angle,or to shape, as in 'poly1 Cf. Wynkynde Worde,Pilgr. Perf.183, 'The diamondemoostprecyousto mankynde,thy swete
soneJesus.'

66

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Eckstein

67

gon,' orwhenit meansthe 'cutwaterofa bridge.'rcovta


is thatwhichis prominent
or standsout, and is used metaphorically
in thissense in the Septuaginti, Sam.,
xiv, 38); 'all the chiefof the people,' Vulgate angulos populorum;the Hebrew
word renderedby angulos is pinnap, plural of pinnoth(nrr). English'quoin'
or 'coign,'the etymologicalequivalentof ywvla,
may be eithera cornerstone at
anylevel,ormaybe coping,accordingto thecontext.'
The words meaning 'angle' or 'angular' are combinedwith othersmeaning
'head' and 'extremity.'Ke-aX)i 'head,' and architecturally
'capital,' can onlyapplyto whateverformsthesummitofanything."AKPoSimpliesextremity,2
in whatever direction,as in 'acrolithic,'a statue ofwhichthe extremities,
head, hands,
and feet,are ofstone,but oftenwithspecial reference
to the top or highestpart,
as in 'acropolis.''AKPOTrptov is thepedestalfora figureorotherfinialat the top or
cornersof a pedimentor on a coping (or sometimesrefersto pedestal and figure
together).Such a pedestal or finial,in the case of a stone structure,mightvery
properly
havebeencalledan aKpo0ycvtLa?os Xt'os.
What was the shape ofthe buildingimpliedor takenforgrantedby our texts?
It would be convenientto thinkof a domed or tent-roofed
building,but a rectangularbuildingwith a peaked roofis moreplausible,in view of the probable
derivationofthe formof Solomon'stemplefromthat ofthe Tabernacle,also the
traditionalformof the Ark.The gable end view of such a buildingstates its essentialsin verticalprojection.If nowwe equate &Kpo-ycovtaos Xt0OswithaKpoTJpLoV
it will surelybe to the uppermostangle-stoneand not to eitherof the lateral
angle-stonesthat the Christwouldhave beencompared.He is assuredlythepeak
of the roof.Our view is accordinglythat the real meaningof the text could be
best conveyedin modernEnglish by 'is become the keystoneof the arch,' or
'roofplateofthe vault.' We see him,in otherwords,in that positionat the summit ofa dome whichis regularlyoccupiedin Christianarchitecture
by the figure
ofthe Pantokrator,or a corresponding
monogramor a solar symbol,or even by
an architectural'eye' surmountedby a 'lantern.'"He is the keystone,coping
stone, or roof-plateof the cosmic structurewhichis also his 'Mystical Body,'
monumentand dwellingplace, and ofwhichthe individualman is a microcosmic
analogy.
We can now advantageouslycall attentionto someratherimpressiveOriental
1 Justas in thetypicallyOrissanarchitecture,
wherethe dmalakaformis repeatedas a corner-stone
at various levels of the tall spire, and also formsthe coping-stone;the corner-stones
being really
quarter-dmalakas,
and only the crowningstone exhibitingthe whole form.The crowningamalaka
is hereindeedthe 'head ofthe angle,'bothinasmuchas the fouranglesofthe spireconvergeupwards
towardsit,and inasmuchas theirformsubsistsin it moreeminently,
at the same timemorefullyand
on a higherlevel ofreference.
For an examplesee my HIIA, fig.216.
2 Skr. agra is generally'top,' but can also mean 'extremity'
in any direction;it is also metaphorically 'prior,''foremost,'etc.
I See my 'Symbolismofthe dome', Ind. Hist. Gaz., xiv (1938). Special mentionis made of the fact
that the roof-plateis 'perforated':therecan be no questionthat it is the architecturalequivalentof
the Sundoorthroughwhichone is altogetherliberated;the 'perforation'is the 'eye' of the heavenly
dome,or in otherwordsthe Sun; 'I am the door,by me ifany man enterin, he shall be saved,' etc.
(John,xiv, 9).

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68

Eckstein

parallels.In J. i, 200-201 and DhA. i, 269 a 'rest-hall'(vissamana-sala)'is being


built. The buildingcannotbe completedwithouta root-plate,whichcannotbe
made of greenwood, but only of seasoned. The woman Sudhamma, 'Perfect
Virtue,'has preparedin advance a seasoned roof-plate.The builders,who wish
to keep the meritof the work forthemselves,are forcedto use this kanttika
against theirwill:the celestialpalace, forsuch it is in the last analysis,cannot
otherwisebe completed.The roof-plateof hard wood which the builderswould
have rejectedbecomesthekeystoneofthe roof.Because Sudhammahas supplied
the crowningelementof the structure,her name is givento the rest-hallitself.2
that ofa principle,and is identicalin meaning
The name sudhammais manifestly
powersofconsciousness,'i.e., 'perfectvirtues,'
withthe kusala dhamma('efficient
but not exclusivelyin an ethicalsense) ofMiln. 38 as citedin thenextparagraph.
As we have shownelsewhere,the roof-plateis the key piece ofthe roof,as the
roofitselfis themostessentialfeatureofthebuilding,whichis above all a shelter.3
becomesaccordinglythesubject
The roof-plateor, in some cases, the roof-ridge,
ofnumerousparables,forexampleMiln. 38, 'Justas the raftersofa peak-roofed
buildingmove towards,restupon and meet togetherin (samosaragd)the peak,
and thispeak is acknowledgedto be the summit(agga= agra) ofall, just so each
have at-one-ment
powersofconsciousness(kusala dhamma)4
and all oftheefficient
1 Cf.vissamana-ffhdna
in S..1O1, Comm.,and vissameti(causative), in J., III, 36 wherethe host
'givesrest'to wearytravellers.'Come unto me,all ye that labourand are heavyladen,and I willgive
you rest.. . . How oftenwouldI have gatheredtheychildrentogether'(Matth., xi, 28 and xxiii,37).
to 'cease fromtoil.' The anagogic significanceis obvious; forit is preciselythe
The root is vi-gram,
carsani)that 'labours' (gramati),and hencetheusual designationofthemonk,
Wayfarer(parivr&jaka,
ascetic,almsman,etc., as a 'Labourer' (gramana).The Rest House at the end of the road, at worlds'
end,wherethe burdenis laid down,is then vigramanain the sense that whoeverentersthereis no
longera 'Labourer,'no longerundera rule,but altogether'liberated'(fromhimself).And just as in
in 'buildingup' Agni is at the same timebuildingup forhimselfa 'body
the Vedic ritethe sacrificer
of light,'so whoeverlike Sudhamma 'builds up' a rest-houseis at the same time buildingup the
heavenlymansion,and layingup treasurein heaven:

A house was building,and yourbittersighs


Came hitheras toil-helpingmelodies,
And in the mortarof our gem-builtwall
Your tears weremingledmid the rise and fall
Of goldentrowelstinklingin the hands
Of buildersgatheredwide fromall the lands. - Is the house finished?
Nay, come help to build ...
WilliamMorris
2 Sudhammais actuallythe wifeof Magha (the solar Indra), in the same sense that the Churchis
the bride of Christ,and the Sudhamma Devasabha (of whichthereis a representationin reliefat
Bharhut,see Cunningham,Stupa ofBharhut,pl. xvi) is the palace of Indra and analogue of the resthall forwhich'PerfectVirtue'providesthe roof-plate.
3 A materialshelterbeing needed only by those who are 'underthe sun.' Liberation,a breaking
out ofthe cosmosby the Sundoor,is oftendescribedas a breakingthroughthe roofor roof-plate,and
'he whoseroofhas been opened
to as vivafa-chado,
the Buddha as beingthusliberatedis oftenreferred
up'; of which,moreover,the abandonmentof the householdlifeand adoptionof the open-airlifeof
a 'Wanderer'is alreadya prefiguration.
4 These powersof consciousness,
or virtuesor acts of the practicalintellect(collectivelydhammd,
and devdh)are 'contact(of subjectwithobject), sensibilherenearlyequivalentto indriydni,prdo&dh,

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Eckstein

69

(samadhi, etymologically
and semantically'synthesis')fortheirhead (pamukha),
rest upon and slope towardsat-one-ment,'or in termsof a furthercomparison,
as the fourwingsofan armyare relatedto the king,environing
himand depending upon him as theirhead.
Our roof-plateseen frombelow hangs in the vault of the roofnot obviously
supportedfrombelow, but it is neverthelessvirtuallythe capital of a central
pillar; just as a king-postalthoughsupportedby a cross beam is virtuallythe
upperpart ofa columnextendingdownwardsto and supportedby thefloor.The
centralpillarthusimpliedmaybe comparedto thecentre-pole
ofa tentorthehandle of an umbrella;the equation of roofwithumbrellais explicit.Such a central
pillarcorrespondsalso to the trunkofthe Tree ofLife and to the verticalofthe
Cross,Gk. stauros,Skr. skambha;and it is the centralprincipleofthe wholeconstruction,whichdepartsfromit belowand returnsto it above, as can be readily
seen if we considera buildingin its simplestaspect,whichis that of a tepee or
pyramid.The actual employmentof such a centralpillaris impliedin an earlier
formofthe parable quoted above, viz., in AA.iii.2.1,where'Justas all the other
beams (vamsa, literally'bamboo') are unifiedin (samdhitda) in the hall-beam
(gala-vam?a),so in this Breath (prd#a)the powers (indriydai)of eye, ear and
mind, the body and whole self (sarva dtmd)are unified.'Here, as usual, the
'Breath' in the singularrefersto the Brahmanand Atman,the Spirit.'
The buildingitselfis the cosmosin a likeness,and therefore
a likenessof the
'body' of the cosmic (lokdvati,MU.vi.6) Man, the 'mysticalbody' of Christ'of
which ye are members':2 the roof-platein which the rafters,which are also
'beams' (in both sensesof the word) meet (as the anglesof a pyramid,or ribsof
an umbrella,or radii of a circlemeet in a point), is the Sun of Men (suiryon.rn,
RV.i.146.4), the 'one lotus of the sky' (BU.vi.3.6). The pillar expressedor implied, about whichthe whole buildingis constructedand of whichits fourcorners or quarters (representedby other pillars or by verticallysuperimposed
seriesofquoins) is thecentreor 'heart'3ofthebuildingon any floor,circle(cakra,
loka) or level of reference(howevermany the storeysmay be): and cosmically,
the Sun-pillar'extendingfromthe centreofthe skyto the navel oftheearth,and
pillarofFire extendedconverselyfromthe navel ofthe earthto the centreofthe
ity, recognition,will, awareness,counsel, habit' (phassd, vedand,sanad, cetand,vinadna, vitakka,
operationno longerinvolvesa temporalsequence
vicara).Whenthesehave been unified(ekatobhavd),
ofacts, but becomesa singleact of being (Miln.63).
1 For detaileddiscussionofall the architectural
symbolsdiscussedin the precedingparagraphssee
iii [1938], 'Inverted
my 'Symbolismof the Dome' (loc. cit.), 'Usni!saand Chatra' (Poona Orientalist,
Tree' (Q. J. Myth.Soc., xxix [1938]), and 'Svayam&trpU: Janua Coeli' (appearingin Zalmoxis);
XLIII [1938],
Rene Guenon,'Le symbolismedu dome' and 'Le domeet la roue,'Etudestraditionnelles,
and Mus, Barabadur,parts iv and v.
2 Cf. Mund. Up.ii.1.4, 'Fire is his head; His eyes,the moonand sun; the airtsHis ears; His voice
therevealedVedas; the gale His breath;His hearttheall; fromHis feettheearth;He is indeedthe
Spiritimmanentin everybeing' (sarvabhuttntaratmd).
3 The axial pillarofa Japanesepagoda (stfipa),aroundwhichtherewindsa spiralstair,is actually
called the 'heartpillar' (shinbashira)and thus distinguishedfromthe four'guardianpillars' (shiten4 AB.v.98.1, ddityah
vedih.AB.ii.1, vajrovai yuipa.
yapahi,prthivt
bashira)ofthe'corners.'

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sky,the 'pillaroflifeat the partingand meetingofthe ways' (RV.v.5.6, v.139.3,


etc.), Branstockor fierytrunkof the Tree of Life and BurningBush, the Shaft
of Light or Bolt that at once divides and connectstogetherheaven and earth,
and withwhichtheDragon was smittenin thebeginning,
theverticalofthe Cross
of Light - staurosand skambha.In this omniform
pillarextendingfromfloorto
roofofthe cosmosall thingsinherein one form,the singleformthat is the form
of verydifferent
things:'There inheresthis all, therewhateverstirs,whatever
breathes... that concurrently(sambh'uya, "assembled," "combined," etc.) is
one simply'(ekameva,AV.v.8.7-11) correspondsto Eph., ii, 20 'in whomye also
are buildedtogether,'and apocryphalActsofJohn,98-99: 'a crossoflightset up,
in whichwas one formand likeness,and in it anothermultitudeofdiverseforms
... This cross,then,is that whichfixedall thingsapart and joined all thingsunto itself. .. and then also, being one, streamedforthinto all things." Vajra as
'bolt' coincidingwithSkambhaas AxisMundi, similardoctrinecan be recognized
in Heraclitus,xxxvii,'the thunderbolt(Kepavv0s)governs(olaKt1Et) all things,'
or - as mighthave been said, OIKLEL, builds all things."
The 'head' ofthispillaris thesolarand man-regarding
(nr-caksus)Face ofGod,
the omniform
and omniscientSun, who is also the Spiritwhose kiss endowsall
thingswith being (SB.vii.3.2.12-13), and connectsall thingsto himselfin one
con-spiration.
His Orb is moreovernot onlythe roof-plateofthe cosmos,but the
door of the worlds,throughwhich one is altogetherliberated,breakingout of
thecosmos- 'No man comethto theFathersave by me . .. I am theway . .. I
am the door' (John,xiv, 6 and x, 9). Architecturally,
the 'head of the angle' is
our roof-plate,copingstone,and acroter,the capital of an axial pillar,whichis
reallyone ofpneumaticlight,and ifnot structurally
realizedis nevertheless
ideally present.Macrocosmically,this 'head ofthe angle' is the Sun in the zenith;and
whoeverreturnsto this Sun, the Truth,as like to like,by an ablatioomnisalteritatis,2
becomesa Mover-at-willand forhimit is 'evermoreday.'
In variouscountriesthe hardestand brighteststone or metal knownhas been
the symbolofindestructibility,
invulnerability,
stability,light,and immortality.
The NorthAmericanIndian preservesto this day what was probablyalreadya
Paleolithic use of 'flint'in this"sense;3the Egyptian pyramidionwas made of
granite'polishedlike a mirror';the adamant (diamond)ofthe classicalworldwas
probablyofIndian origin;theChinesehad theirjade, but also derivedfromIndia
withBuddhismthe symbolicvalues of vajra, whichthey renderedby the character chin (Giles 2032) ofwhichthe primaryvalue is metal,especiallygold,and
also weapon.
Skr. vajra is not only the lightning,thunder-bolt,
shaft,or lance withwhich
' For the skambha,Axis Mundi, as Brahman,and singleformofall things,see the wholeofAV.x.7
and 8. The doctrineis offundamentalimportin the wholeof the Vedic ontology.
2 For Nicolas of Cusa, the conditionoffiliatioand theosisis thus defined.Cf. 'If any man come
unto me and hate not .. . yea, and his own soul also, he cannot be my disciple' (Luke, xiv, 26);
'The word of God ... piercingeven to the dividingasunderof soul fromspirit' (Heb., iv, 1P, cf.
Dionysius,De div.nom,ix, 3). 'Whoso cleavethto God becomethone spiritwithhim' (I Cor., vi, 27).
3 The Navajo conceptionof 'flintarmour' is the equivalent of Milton's 'in a rock ofDiamond
arm'd' (Paradise Lost,vi, 364), and Buddhistvajra-kdya.

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71

Indra smotethe Dragon in the beginning,and Axis Mundi and SacrificialPillar,


skambhaand -rcavp6s
(Skr. sthavara4,
'firm'),but also 'diamond,'and in the latter
sense with special referenceto the qualities of hardness,indestructibility,
and
intellectualbrilliance.We have, forexample,such expressionsas vajrasana,'diamond throne"(on whichthe Buddha and all formerMunis have been seated at
the Navel of the Earth), and vajra-kaya,'diamond body,' an immortalbody of
light.Skr.agri,angle,corner,and a*9a, part,corner,edge,point,etc.,are related
to aKpoS, acer,acies.2 The vajra as weapon or sacrificialpost is constantlyspoken
of as 'angular,' for example 'four-edged'(catur-agri)in RV.iv.22.2; in AB.ii.1
and KB.x.1 thesacrificial
post (yuipa=oravp6s)and thebolt (vajra) are identified,
and the one is to be made 'eight-angled'(astagri)likethe other.3It is evidentthat
vajraas 'adamant' ordiamondis a naturallyeight-angled
stone.In thesameway,
Pali attanisa,
is both 'diamond,'and 'pillar,'typicallyofa heavenly
'eight-edged,'
palace (forreferencessee PTS, Pali Dictionary,s.v.). Chinese chin (Jap. kong&,
Skr. vajra) in combinationwith othercharactersgives us such expressionsas
'golden crow' (Sun), and 'diamond pivot, or axis' (Moon). The characterfor
'axis,' shu (Giles 10092) impliesalso 'centre,'and whateveris fundamental:t'ien
shu is the pole or axis on whichthe skyturns;shuyii (Giles 13626) is controlling
power,guidingmind, yeixv.Withoutgoingfurtherinto the analysis of these
expressionsit will be sufficiently
evidentthat the complexof ideas in whichthe
notionsof adamantinequality and of the polar or solar axis of the universeare
inseparablyconnectedis part and parcel of a universaland widelydistributed
tradition,in the lightof whichour Biblical phrasesdiscussedabove should be
envisaged.
We shall concludewitha referenceto the notionof a corner-stone
or angular
in termsofEgyptianarchitecture.
No architecstonewhichis also an extremity
turalunitthat can be thoughtofwouldbetterthan a pyramidion(the crowning
memberofa pyramid)fitthephrase'head ofthe angle,'or simply'angle' as used
in OT. to mean chiefor leader. The pyramidiaof Weserka-ra(tenthdynasty)
and of Amenemhatiii (twelfthdynasty) are describedin Ann. du Servicedes
Antiquites,xxx, 105 ff.,and iII, 9206ff.The characteristicofthese pyramidiais
theirsolar symbolism.Of the first,'une grandepointe de pyramideen granit
noir,'we are told that 'Au haut de chacunede ses faces,le disque solaireetendses
1 'As a rockof Diamond, stedfastevermore'(Spenser,Fairy Queen,i, 6, 4). For values of
vajra see
also my ElementsofBuddhistIconography,
pp. 14-15.
2 Of the two Indian (Pali) wordsku(a and
kaitika whichdenotethe peak or roofplateof a house
to whichthe raftersconverge,the formeris froma root kuJ(,to bend (froman angle), whencealso
kfii (cf.Eng. 'cot' and 'hut'), a smallhouse withan edgedor domedroof,or even a largeshrinewith
a spire;and the lattera diminutiveof kanna (skr.karna),of whichthe primarymeaningis 'corner,'
and relatedbothto agri,etc. and to srnga, 'horn,'and architecturally
'spire.' Thus the kannika (the
'roofplate')rejectedby thebuildersin theSudhammastory(p. 68 above) wouldbe quiteliterally'cornerstone' but forthe factthat it is made not of stonebut ofhard wood; the symbolismis, of course,
unaffected
by this materialaccident.
3 Indian pillarsin architectural
use are typically(althoughnot always) bothfour-and eight-angled
at the same time,i.e. square in sectionabove and below,and sometimesalso in the middle,but for
the restchamferedso as to be eight-angled
in section.

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Eckstein

ailes protectrices,'the foursolar symbolsbeingthose ofthe 'divinitesdes quatre


pointscardinaux,Ra, Ptah, Anubiset les astresnocturnes.'The second'est taille
avec une regularitesinguliereet il a ete poli a miroir.... La faceest est occupee
par un beau disque aile flanquedes deux Uraeus: entreles deux ailes est grave
un groupeforme. . . des deux yeux, des trois luths et du disque non aile' (in
which the centreof the circle is marked): 'Chaque face, repondanta une des
maisonsdu monde,est consacree'a la divinitequi protegecettemaison.'The norofa centralpoint,surroundedby fourguardiansofthe quarters
mal arrangement
will be recognizedimmediately.The legendsengravedon the foursides of the
pyramidionare dialogues betweenthe deceased or his priestand the guardian
deitiesof the respective'houses': on the East, forexample ' "Soit ouvertla face
du roi Nimari (name of the king as child of Ra, the Sun) pour qu'il donne au
et indestructible."Ainsi
de se leveren dieu mattrede l'1tternite
roi Amenemhatt
parle le pretre,et le dieu larmakhis, gardiende la maisonest repond, "Harmakhis a dit: J'ai donne l'horizonexcellentau roi du Sud et du Nord qui prend
l'heritagedex deux terres"- ici il s'addressedirectementau roi, - "pour que
tu t'unisse a lui; ainsi m'a-t-ilplu." Et l'horizonprend la parole a son tour.
"L'horizon a dit que tu te reposessur lui; ainsi m'a-t-ilplu".' And similarlyon
the othersides.
To thisit mustbe added that the hieroglyphfor'pyramidion,'bubn. t (also the
'pointofan obelisk'),in the combinationbnbn.tj becomesan epithetofthe Sungod, 'He ofthe pyramidion."
The deceased kingis thus at the same timeacceptedby the fourfacesor fourfold aspect2of the Sun, and identifiedwith the Sun; while the two kingdoms,
northand south, are analogicallyHeaven and Earth, of whichhe receivesthe
notmerelythetomb,but at thesame
inheritance;thepyramiditselfrepresenting
timethe cosmicembodimentor dwellingplace of the resurrectedking,now becomesa memberofthe'mysticalbody' ofthe Sun. The apex ofthepyramid,which
the unique principlein which,as one may say,
is also the Sun, is architecturally
all the rest is builded togetherand existsmoreeminently.If bnbn.t is also the
'pointofan obelisk,'whichcorrespondsto the 'Sunpillar'ofothertraditions,even
this pillar may be said to be representedby the tenon whichprojectsfromthe
lowersurfaceofthe pyramidionand holds it fastwhenset in place. And if now
Christis the 'angle' or 'head of the angle,' it is clear that this could have been
statedin Egyptianarchitecturalphraseologyby sayinginsteadof 'is becomethe
head of the corner,''is become the bnbn.t.'It is not absolutelyimpossiblethat
the Hebrew expressionitselfwas ultimatelyofEgyptianorigin,and oughtto be
thus restored.
BOSTON MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS.
1 Cf. also in Greece, 'this earlieraspect of the Sun-God as a pyramidalpillar' (ArthurEvans,
'Mycenean Tree and Pillar-cult,'JHS., 1901, p. 173.
2 On the ultimatesignificance
of the fourfaces of God see P. Mus, 'Has Brahma fourfaces?' in
JISOA, v (1937).

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