First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Now as Moses, three months after the exodus, ascended Mount Sinai, and there fasted and attended for forty days and forty nights in order to obtain the law of the Lord, the Lord at the same time ordered him to make an ark of undecayed shittim wood,[Acacia wood, a hard wood tree common in the Sinai peninsula.] two and one-half cubits in length, and one and one-half cubits in width, and in height the same; and entirely covered inside and out with purest gold; and above it, a crown (cornice) of gold; and a lid of the same breadth and length as the ark, so as to cover it, called a mercy seat. And lengthwise of the ark on either side of it, two golden rings, which passed through the wood, and through them gilded staves of shittim wood with which to carry the ark, and these were never to be removed. And at each end of the mercy seat was to be placed a golden cherubim, and each was to face toward the mercy seat, and they were to face one another; and their wings were to be outspread over the ark and toward each other, and to touch one another. And this was to be placed in the sanctum sanctorum (holy of holies). But within the ark were placed the golden bowl and the showbread, the rod of Aaron and the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. [For a more accurate description of the ark and its contents, see Exodus 25:10-21.]

And the Lord said to Moses, You shall also make a table of shittim wood overlaid with gold plate, and supported by four feet, and a golden ring in each foot, and through the rings golden staves by which the table may be carried; and finally, round about it, as on the ark, a golden crown (cornice), four fingers in breadth, so that half of it projects above the table, in order that the things placed on it may not fall off; the other half to hang down as an ornament. On this table were placed twelve cakes of unleavened bread, six to the right and six to the left, and upon each stack a golden bowl or cup was placed, provided with incense each morning. On the Sabbath they placed fresh warm cakes on the table, which remained untouched until the following Sabbath, when they were taken from there, and the priests alone ate them. These cakes were known as priestly bread, because the priests made and baked them, placed them on the table, and removed them from it. They were called the bread of the offering; for they were laid before the Lord as an everlasting memorial of the Twelve Tribes of the children of Israel. [See Exodus 35:23-30.]


The first of these illustrations (8-3/4" x 5-1/4") shows two arks, both placed on a tessellated floor, side by side, apparently for purposes of comparison. The ark at the left shows the construction according to the Rabbi Solomon; the one at the right, according to the ‘Catholic doctors.’ The arks themselves are identical in construction, but in the former the cherubims stand on the ark in opposite corners, while in the latter they stand beside the ark, lifting its lid or mercy seat.


The second illustration (8-3/4" x 3-13/16") is of the Table of the Showbread (one version only). The table rests on a tessellated floor. On either side is a stack of six cakes, surmounted by a bowl of burning incense. On the right and left appears the open country, no doubt to indicate that the table was not placed in the holy of the holies, but ‘without the vail.’