• The Wolfgang A. Herz Library:  auction at Christies

    Sale 2158

    The Wolfgang A. Herz Library: Important Voyages and Travels

    9 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 94

    HERBERSTEIN, Sigmund, Freiherr von (1486-1566). Moscoviter wunderbare Historien. Basel: N. Brillinger and M. Russinger, 1563.

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    HERBERSTEIN, Sigmund, Freiherr von (1486-1566). Moscoviter wunderbare Historien. Basel: N. Brillinger and M. Russinger, 1563.

    2o (314 x 201 mm). 3 woodcut folding maps, 7 woodcuts in text (5 full-page), calligraphic initials (some light dampstaining, mostly marginal). Red half morocco.

    THE FIRST REALISTIC ACCOUNT OF RUSSIA

    Second German edition, but the first offical translation, by the Basel physician Heinrich Pantaleon, from the Latin original published in 1549. A free German version of the book, by Herberstein himself, had appeared in 1557. This frequently republished encyclopedic travel account is illustrated with highly interesting woodcuts. The folding maps are topographical and physdical representations of Muscovy, cut under the author's supervision, and a double page plan of the city of Moscow. The woodcut on the title verso depicts Csar Vasiliy Ivanovich. On pages 172-174 are full-page and smaller cuts of three Russian warriors on horseback; of horses saddled and bridled; of various elegantly decorated riding equipment; and of a winter scene with sleighs. Of very special interest are the full-page cuts of two species of Bulls (pp. 124-135). They together with the text have served to prove, in zoology, that the "tur" was the predecessor of the domestic bull, and the "zubr" the European cousin of the American bison. Adams H-303; Adelung I, pp. 171-172; BMC/STC German 397.


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