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VESALIUS, Andreas (1514-64). Epistola rationem modumque propinandi radicis Chynae decocti, quo nuper inuictissimus Carolus V. Imperator usus est, pertractans. Basel: Johannes Oporinus, October 1546.
VESALIUS, Andreas (1514-64). Epistola rationem modumque propinandi radicis Chynae decocti, quo nuper inuictissimus Carolus V. Imperator usus est, pertractans. Basel: Johannes Oporinus, October 1546.

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VESALIUS, Andreas (1514-64). Epistola rationem modumque propinandi radicis Chynae decocti, quo nuper inuictissimus Carolus V. Imperator usus est, pertractans. Basel: Johannes Oporinus, October 1546.

2o (266 x 170 mm). Collation: A-Z Aa-Cc4 Dd6 (A1r title, A1v blank, A2r dedication from Franciscus Vesalius [Andreas' brother] to Duke Cosimo de' Medici, incorrectly dated 1566 instead of 1546, B1v woodcut portrait of Vesalius, B2r letter on the China root, addressed to Joachim Roelants, physician of Mechlin, Bb8v preface in Latin to the following work, Cc1r Regimento per pigliar l'aqua de la radice de chyna, in Italian, Cc3r index, Dd5r errata, Dd6 printer's device). 109 leaves (of 110, without Dd6). Roman type and italic types, printed shoulder notes. Woodcut author's portrait, printer's woodcut device; 3 large, 1 medium and 1 small woodcut initials. (Occasional foxing, first leaves dampstained, one small marginal wormhole in quire A, B1 creased with lower margin frayed.) Contemporary vellum over pasteboard, evidence of 4 pairs of ties (stained, a few wormholes, frayed at spine and corners); modern black morocco box. Provenance: "100" lettered on tail edge of textblock; "Can:169--35" (deleted), "Can:4--35", inscriptions on pastedown.

FIRST EDITION. "In this work on the discovery and therapeutic use of the china root (Smilax chinae) in the treatment of syphilis, Vesalius described the first attempt to formulate methods of identification of an exotic drug. He also offered physicians means of detecting adulteration of the china root, which was coming into common use" (Norman). The China-root Epistle also contains important autobiographical data about Vesalius' ancestors, his teaching experience, his destruction of his early manuscripts, and in particular, the opposition to his Fabrica. In fact, the greater part of the work is devoted to Vesalius' defense of his anatomical methods and doctrines. The woodcut initials in this edition were reused from the Fabrica, as was the woodcut author portrait, here looking somewhat worn and with a chip out of the upper left corner. After being used a third time in the Fabrica of 1555, the portrait disappeared; it was not among the set of the Fabrica's woodblocks rediscovered in the twentieth century (see lot 218). Cushing VII.-1; BM/STC German p. 891; Garrison-Morton 1810.1; O'Malley pp. 187-224; Osler 584; Waller 9923 (lacking the portrait); Wellcome 6570 (lacking portrait and last leaf); Norman 2141.
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