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Masonic Apron Design
Maker not marked
USA: New York, Rochester (possibly)
Watercolor; pencil; ink; paper
mat: 19-1/4"h x 14-1/4"w; sheet: 8-1/4"h x 7-1/4"w
Special Acquisitions Fund

Masonic apron design; numerous symbols including two angels holding a floral vine; ribbon designs on sides including crown motif, skull and crossbones, tools, cross, sword, flowers and vine; three columns, center surmounted by pelican, lamb, dove; the letters "IFFBS" appear on the columns; simulated flooring with animal's head, cock, sun and moon faces; painted in red, blue, yellow, orange; in pen on back "(--- Rochester)."

On occasion Masons drew pictures of symbols, scenes and ritual objects when communicating with their brethren. This watercolor, which may have been enclosed in a letter, shows the design of an apron. This design includes symbols—such as the rooster, lion and eagle—that helped illustrate lessons taught in the higher degrees, now known as the York and Scottish Rites. Scholars have speculated that the painter who drew this design was copying the iconography of a French apron.

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