Mandragora, A Mandrake Doll

Mandragora - Patrushka

Title:  Mandragora

Size: 16 x 20″

Medium: Gouache on wood

This piece was inspired by the mandrake plant and it’s witchy history.

In ancient Greece Mandrake was once powdered and added to wines as well as various love-philtres. It was well known for making humans act like beasts and is believed to be one of the plants responsible for the legends of werewolves and shapeshifters. Mandrake is hallucinogenic, and although it contains less tropane than its relatives, it should only be ingested rarely in one’s life. As a hallucinogen it is best ingested as a tea or infused in wine, but it is much more common to find Mandrake being used in flying ointments such as the magic salve of Medea which she learned to make using Mandrake roots from the Titan. Mandrake roots also have a long history of being used as mannikins or alrauns – carved dolls imbued with a spirit and used for luck, healing, and prophecy. These Mandrake dolls were usually kept wrapped in cloth or stored in a small coffin-like box and hidden from the view of anyone but the owner. They were considered a great responsibility to own and had to be fed in order to remain potent. Such mannikins were passed down through families for generations before they were outlawed by the Church in Europe.

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