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The archives of Louis Charbonneau-Lassay

Help reconstitute unfinished or lost books by Charbonneau-Lassay

About the project

Help us reach our final goal of 10,000  €

The minimum goal of 6,000 € was reached in just 6 days!

The medium goal of 8,000 € was reached in 18 jours!

Donations and subscriptions to the Vulnerary of Christ in French will still be accepted until November 26. The additional contributions will be entirely used to help purchase the archives of Charbonneau-Lassay, their total purchase price being indeed 10,000 €. 

Project summary

The project consists in financing the purchase of the archives that were gathered by the Christian scholar Louis Charbonneau-Lassay (1871-1946), renown author of The Bestiary of Christ, in order to reconstitute his unfinished or lost books. Once the archives are in our possession, they will be scanned during the year 2017 for public access through an internet website. At the completion of the project, they will be offered to a museum or an organization for preservation.


(Some of the thousands of notes that were used for the redaction of the Bestiary of Christ)

Who is Louis Charbonneau-Lassay ?

Louis Charbonneau-Lassay is the author of the famous Bestiary of Christ whose almost the entirety of the 500 copies printed in Belgium during the Second World War were destroyed by German bombings. An English translation by G. M. Dooling (somewhat shortened compared to the original) was published in 1992.


(The Bestiary of Christ, English book cover, and one of the rare copies of the 1940 first print)

Collector of antiquities and renown Christian symbolist, Charbonneau-Lassay was a close friend of René Guénon. Guénon mentioned many times to his correspondents the quality of Charbonneau-Lassay's publications, and he was kept regularly informed by the author of the progress of his work 

In 1925, Charbonneau-Lassay decided to write a large book in several volumes on the subject of the Christ symbolism. He dedicated his life to this work. Here is the original plan established by the author, mentioning some books that would end up never being completed or published:

The part dedicated to the Savior in the symbolism of diverse Christian nations is important, a lot larger than what theologians, historians, scholars and Christian archaeologists would expect: this is because it deeply penetrates all the areas of activities covered by the human minds.

This Christ symbolism was imposed to the Christian religion as early as its first years by the necessity to escape its persecutors by veiling its doctrine, by hiding the divine personality of its founder, and the identity of its members under the dogmatic emblems and the signs known only to the initiates, who were committed to the most complete silence about it. This is what was called "the discipline of secrecy", mentioned in several writings of that time, especially in the Ecclesiastical hierarchy attributed to Dionysius the Areopagite.

[...]

The first book, the Bestiary of Christ, will introduce thirty-three quadrupeds, twenty-nine birds, twelve aquatic animals, five reptiles and eleven insects, plus, another sixteen satanic animals, antithesis of the others; for a total of roughly eighty-five chapters. [...]

The rest of the work will include, if God gives me life, first the emblematic and Christic role of the Vegetals, of the Animals, of the phenomenons from the Sky and the Atmosphere, and geometric emblems: it will be the second book; it will have at least fifty two chapters.

The third book, with seventy chapters, will introduce emblematic objects, graphic signs, liturgical symbols, iconography of mythological, pagans or biblical characters that have been considered as figurations of Christ, finally of the supreme symbole of his open and radiating Heart.

In addition to the Bestiary of Christ, Charbonneau-Lassay finished just before his death the manuscript of another book about the symbolism of the Five Wounds and of the Heart of Christ, which he called The Vulnerary of Christ and for which he used a large number of notes, photographies and drawings he had collected throughout his lifetime and his career as an archaeologist and an historian. This manuscript was unfortunately mysteriously lost after his death.


(Old photographie that was used for the Vulnerary of Christ)

This is one of René Guénon's correspondents described the state of Charbonneau-Lassay's archives after his death, in a letter from August 1947: "There are about fifty thousand notes, organized in five or six hundred different categories containing everything he had gathered on Christian iconography."

These archives were kept in a chest, and they were passed on from the first offical legatee to only three other successors.


(Original drawing of a Phoenix that was used for an engraving in the Bestiary of Christ)


(Original drawing of the head of a god-bull used for an engraving in the Bestiary of Christ)

Because of my interest the past several years on Guénon's work, and the creation of an index of his work, especially because of my increasing interest for Charbonneau-Lassay's work regarding Christian symbolism, I have been contacted by the people who own these archives and who offered to sell them to me. After long consideration, I have thought that this could be the opportunity for a crowdfunding project in order to first save these archives and prevent them from being scattered among multiple private collectors, in order also to share their content with searchers and the public, through an internet website that would allow the consultation of the archives and the publishing of reconstituted books. And the end these archives could be given to an organization or a museum for conservation. If possible, maybe this task could be given to a Foundation Charbonneau-Lassay that would have to be created.

What exactly are the notes and archives of Charbonneau-Lassay?

  • The preparatory notes to the chapters that would constitute, according to the author, the second volume following the Bestiary of Christ and whose titles would be: the Vulnerary of Christ (about the Five Wounds of Christ), the Lapidary of Christ (the Stones symbolizing Christ), the Florary of Christ (Vegetals symbolizing Christ), the Iconography of the Sacred-Heart.
  • The preparatory notes regarding diverse elements of Christian symbolismemblemssymbols and liturgical objects, prefigurations of Christ, graphical elements, etc.
  • The archives of the Bestiary of Christ.

Your contribution will allow us, if we reach our goal, to purchase these archives and made them available for consultation. If we do not reach our goal, the project will be abandoned and the risk exists that these archives will be scattered, or damaged with time. We consider it our absolute duty to unit our efforts in order to save them and to ensure their transmission to future generations.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

Gauthier Pierozak

For more information here are a few links:

Biography about Charbonneau-Lassay on Wikipedia (in French): https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Charbonneau-Lassay
Bibliography of Charbonneau-Lassay, as well a large number of documents, including the correspondance with René Guénon: http://www.cesnur.org
Museum Charbonneau-Lassay in Loudun, France, where are his collections of archeological findings, among other things: http://www.alienor.org/musees/index.php/fre/La-liste-des-villes/Loudun/Musee-Charbonneau-Lassay

What are the funds for?

  • 4,000 euros will be used to participate in the purchase of the archives (end of 2016).
  • 1,600 euros will be used to participate in the financing of the gifts, particularly the publishing of the Vulnerary of Christ in French limited and numbered edition (first quarter of 2017). See more about the content of this book at the following link: http://vulneraire.regnabit.com.
  • 400 euros will be used to finance the creation of an internet website to consult the archives of  Charbonneau-Lassay (second quarter of 2017).

It is important to clarify that your contribution will not give you any right of ownership to some of these archives. Your funding will help with the acquisition of the archives by the project director and they will be made available to the people who are interested in consulting them, in a form or another (internet, print). This is a form of patronage with a gift in return (a book or the scan of the archives among other things). 


(Cover project for the reconstitution of the Vulnerary of Christ)

Note: For logistical reasons, because I am currently living in the United States of America for family and professional reasons, my brother Jean-Guy Pierozak will collect the funds and will assist with the management of the gifts. This will help reduce unnecessary international fees.

About the project owner

Gauthier Pierozak has been studying for over 25 years symbolism in general, and more particularly Christian symbolism. He has gathered many writing by authors such as René Guénon or Louis Charbonneau-Lassay, and he dedicates his free time to transmission of their work to future generations

Gauthier Pierozak is in particular the author of a very precious tool for René Guénon's readers, a tool that allows the research of keywords in his entire work: www.index-rene-guenon.org. It will be possible to adapt this tool into a site where the archives of Charbonneau-Lassay will be accessed.