This stunning engraving is an early view of the sun shown with solar flares and surface eruptions based on the observations of Athanasius Kircher and Christoph Scheiner in 1635. This example is a very uncommon variant of Kircher's view of the sun, published in his masterpiece, titled Mundus subterraneus (The Underground World). This engraving was published in Zahn's rare encyclopedia of science, which included several engravings based on those by Kircher, and includes additional vignettes and Latin text surrounding the sun. At top left is a mother eagle with her fledgling, and at top right is a phoenix voluntarily burning itself so that it can rise again from the ashes. At bottom left is a putto holding a cornucopia filled with flowers and fruits, representing the role the sun plays in creating the bounty of nature. And at bottom right is a sunflower, turning its head towards the sun. A very interesting and unique piece.
References: Kanas (2nd Edition) #220.127.116.11.
An excellent example on a bright sheet with an "SHD" watermark and minor marginal soiling.