Pandora, the figure from Greek mythology, while not herself androgynous, is an important figure in the history of androgyny and its various forms of illustration. According to myth, Pandora, the first woman on earth, was created by order of Zeus upon Prometheus's theft of fire from the Gods. After Prometheus gave fire to mortal man, Zeus sought to punish man by creating woman. To enhance the punishment, Zeus ensured that Pandora was endowed with many gifts including beauty and talent, causing men to fall from their idyllic bliss into a constant state of longing for the opposite sex. One of Pandora's " gifts" was a box which, when opened by her, released many evils into the world.
Pandora was often depicted in medieval texts on alchemy, such as in the 1582 woodcuts by Hieronymous Reusner at bottom, as a seminal figure in that movement. In alchemical theory, the unification of base metals to form gold was allegorical of the attainment of spiritual perfection. The joinder of man and woman, as represented here by Pandora, was a common metaphor in alchemical thought for the achievement of that level of unity or perfection.