In Air, Fire, Earth and Water | World on the Scales

The Artwork:
Album cover for King Crimson’s 1970 vinyl LP In the Wake of Poseidon features the artwork The 12 Archetypes or The 12 Faces of Humankind by Tammo de Jongh (1967).

A description of the twelve faces for this work is described on The Hope. Not all of these are featured in these two images. The First image on the left shows by definition:

  • The Fool (Fire & Wind) featured on the left with red beard;
  • The Actress (Water & Fire) with black hair, a necklace, earrings and tears in her eyes;
  • The Child (Water & Air) a picture of innocence; a girl with long golden hair, wearing a gold chain, on the end of which is a small golden key.
  • The Enchantress (Water & Earth) in the upper right corner with long dark hair blown sideways.

The second image on the right depicts:

  • The Logician (Air & Fire) in the upper left corner with a long dark beard, surrounded by stars.
  • The Observer (Air & Earth) wearing glasses and in a pensive mode.
  • The Wise Woman (Earth & Air) wearing a winter scarf, and
  • The Patriarch (Air & Water) looking like an aged philosopher.

There are four other archetype ‘faces’ not depicted here but include:

  • The Warrior (Fire & Earth) a warrior’s face with helmet and black beard.
  • The Slave (Earth & Fire) a female indigenous African with gold earrings with a warm and friendly face.
  • Mother Nature (Wind & Earth) in the upper left corner with blonde hair surrounded by flowers and butterflies; and
  • The Joker (Fire & Air) a harlequin with a gold-stuccoed triangular hat.

The Artist:
Tammo de Jongh (1927-1997) was a Dutch artist who in the 1960s lived with two friends Thomas Knapp (aka Sebastien Michael Llewelyn), and Herewood Gabriel, in Kentish Town, London. They called themselves ‘The Green Monks’,  who later became the ‘Graigian Society’ (or The Community). De Jongh took the name of Anelog. They dedicated themselves to the Tarot and to the work of G. I. Gurdjieff. The community broke up after the death of De Jongh of a heart attack.

De Jongh worked with Richard Gardner and produced a book The Purpose of Love, (1970). Its content focussed on a theory based on nature, which could transform both individual lives and the world we live in. This would be achieved by understanding the elements of air, fire, earth and water; in a direct and experiential form. They believed that the elements could be seen as the source of different types of consciousness, ways of seeing and living which they termed “Natural Psychology”. By grouping the elements in pairs, it produced twelve possible combinations: air and water, earth and fire, etc. Each combination had associated natural phenomena attached, such as mist and dew, lakes and seas, ice and hot air, etc; as well as colours, psychological qualities, and one of twelve archetypal figures such as ‘The Fool’, ‘The Actress’ The Child’ and so on.
Discover more about this on CredenceDawg’s website.

The Album cover:
In The Wake of Poseidon was the second studio album of ‘prog rock’ group King Crimson. Their first album was In the Court of the Crimson King.  The line-up for their second album included: Robert Fripp, Pete Sinfield, Greg Lake (who had officially left the group), Gordon Haskell, Peter and Michael Giles, Mel Collins, Keith Tippett, and Andy McCulloch as sessional players.

The song [Excerpt]:
Plato’s spawn cold ivyed eyes
Snare truth in bone and globe
Harlequins coin pointless games
Sneer jokes in parrot’s robe
Two women weep, dame Scarlet screen
Sheds sudden theatre rain,
Whilst dark in dream the midnight queen
Knows every human pain

In air, fire, earth and water
World on the scales
Air, fire, earth and water
Balance of change
World on the scales
On the scales

Website | About | Facebook | Twitter

“Is It Art?”

This entry was posted in Art, Artists A-Z, Cover Art and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to In Air, Fire, Earth and Water | World on the Scales

  1. Eric Wayne says:

    Ah, I used to look at that album cover while listening to the album on my record player when I was in High School, over 30 years ago. Great music, and great album cover art. Yes, it’s art.

Leave a Reply