15 July 2005
GASPARO BALBI (1579-1588)
Viaggio dell'Indie Orientali. Venice: Camillo Borgominieri, 1590. 8° (139 x 91mm). Woodcut title device, woodcut foliated initials. (Early quires dampstained.) Modern vellum, red edges. Provenance: Convent of St. Bonaventura, Venice (inscription and shelf marks on title).
FIRST EDITION of a work drawn on for the compilations of De Bry and Samuel Purchas. Balbi was a Venetian jewel merchant who travelled to the East in order to acquire precious stones. His Viaggio, lasting from 1579 to 1588, 'provides a rich and unique description of the coasts of India and Burma,' states Howgego, though 'many of his comments regarding India itself were pirated from Cesare di Federici.' On the return journey from India to Ormuz, Balbi mentions his encounter with the first Japanese embassy to tour Europe. Brunet I, 618; Cordier Japonica 112; Howgego B7.
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