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These are early representations of sign language from John Bulwer, Chirologia: or The naturall language of the hand, (London, 1644). The link between hand and mind in this language naturally has connotations of ingenuity, but the word genius itself is also specifically used to describe gesture 25, in the upper left corner of this image under the title 'Munero'. "As for the Right Hand, it is altogether OPEN, free, and manifestly put in action. Wherefore for its part it denotes an ingenuous candor and virtue, whose glory is most perspicuously set out by a|ction; but more especially the Right Hand signi|fieth liberality, and for that cause chosen to bee the hieroglyphique of a most beneficent and plen|tifull largesse: whereas the Left Hand hath a contrary Genius, and is observed to be of a close and retired nature: this Niggard out of a skulking disposition affecting secresie, and the subtile lei|sure of a thrifty vacation."


Ingenuity: Genius, Ingenuity: Ingenuity, Hand, Language, Sign, Honesty, Openess

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Folger Shakespeare Library

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