Release date: August 1974
New Skin for the Old Ceremony was Leonard Cohen's fourth studio album. In this album Cohen bolder use of orchestration, a contrast to the more stripped-down sound he hard earlier preferred. He begins to evolve away from the rawer sound of his earlier albums, with violas, mandolins, banjos, guitars, percussion and other instruments giving the album a more orchestrated (but nevertheless spare) sound.
A remastered CD was released in 1995.
The album is silver in the UK, but never dented the Billboard Top 200.
In 2009, it was included in Hallelujah - The Essential Leonard Cohen Album Collection, an 8-CD box set issued by Sony Music in the Netherlands.
The original cover art for New Skin for the Old Ceremony was an image from the alchemical text Rosarium philosophorum. The two winged and crowned beings in sexual embrace, caused his U.S. record label, Columbia Records to print one early edition of the album minus the image substituting instead a photo of Cohen.
The image originally came to public attention in C.G.Jung's essay, The Psychology of The Transference (2nd ed.1966) where it is held by Jung to depict the union of psychic opposites in the consciousness of the enlightened saint. The sexual embrace as a symbol for this condition of psychic unity is also found frequently in Tibetan thangkas (sacred paintings).