The Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit (Book of the Holy Trinity) is one of the earliest alchemical manuscripts with emblematic illustrations, as well as being the earliest alchemical work written in German. The work seems to have been created around 1410-1419 and a number of manuscripts appeared during the first half of the 15th century. A later revision of the text was created around 1440. Its wonderful imagery later influenced such series as the Rosarium philosophorum (1550).
The primal elements of sulphur (that which burns) and mercury (that which is volatile) are embodied in the androgyne or hermaphrodite. The union of these opposite principles is the purpose of alchemy and of human endeavour itself. The androgyne wears the crown of perfection. It stands on a dragon - a serpent with bird's feet - symbolizing its dominion over the forces of land, sea and air. The four heads of the dragon represent the four elements - fire, air, water and earth.