One commenter said: "they are like flash cards for the insane"
First developed in the 16th century, emblems consist of three parts: a symbolic picture (pictura) with a motto or title (inscriptio) and an explanatory poem or epigram (subscriptio). Emblem books proved popular for more than two hundred years and thousands were published across Europe.
The symbols of the alchemy process to transmute base metals into gold are used as a metaphor for the spiritual metempsychosis of the baser elements of the disciple into a true initiate of the mysteries behind the veil.
'Emblemata Nova..' by Andreas Friedrich (or Friedrichen) includes a subtitle that translates approximately as: a picture book, in which our contemporary world and its essence is painted disguisedly and explained by matching rhymes, exhorting the pious to more devotion and virtue, the evil and reckless to acknowledge the true teachings of Christianity and as a warning to them.