In the upper left-hand corner of the central panel, an egg appears — a device into which the souls emerging into birth cram themselves, indicating that this vessel contains the essential soul of a man — that is, what he is in essence, what he takes into the world with him —not what he acquires during his life in the world, which is personality. The egg is the container for both essence and personality; all of the impressions that fall into mankind end up stored in this container as he moves through life.
After making its appearance at birth, the egg travels through the Tantric circle of life, making only this one appearance. It's clearly a container, a vehicle in which an embryo is developing, and from which something will be born.
But the device is used sparingly; and the egg, in this painting, is always the same egg, which is ultimately broken open to show the contents of man's inner life in purgatory.
Here is the egg again, seen for the third and final time before we encounter it opened, with its contents revealed.
A Doremishock resource
All material copyright 2013 by Lee van Laer. This work may not be reproduced without permission.