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franz xaver messerschmidt: pairs

the bizarre numerological order that we can observe shows pairs, symmetrically placed around the heads with numbers dividable through nine. the sum of digits of these pairs' numbers results again in nine. thus, one can find a corresponding head y to a given head x by the formula: y = x - 2 (x%9), where x%9 means the rest by divison of x through nine, and x > y. the latter applies when x%9 < 5. If x < y, one finds y as follows: y = x + 2 (9 - x%9).

for the group around head #9, there's little similarity of pairs, unless 5 + 13, the two heads showing their tongue, and 8 + 10, two tin-heads with locky hair. for the following rows however, the similarities of the pairs are quite striking.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

18

14 + 22

15 + 21

16 + 20

17 + 19

27

23 + 31

24 + 30

25 + 29

26 + 28

36

32 + 40

33 + 39

34 + 38

35 + 37

45

41 + 49

42 + 48

43 + 47

44 + 46

one may ask, what this order could mean, what sense this could have. the least thing one can say is that it is one way to create hidden order. besides, it is not proved - although very probable - that these numbers are given by the artist himself. they are documented for the first time in 1794, i. e. ten years after his death. another bizarre fact is, that the numbers are properly embossed to the metal pieces, whereas the stone pieces do not bare numbers at all.

if you come across any reasonable explanation for the present «system», please let me know.

© 1997/1999/2003 th.schmid

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