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Cristoval Acosta (1512-1580) and Garcia da Orta (c. 1500-1568).
Cristoval Acosta (1512-1580) and Garcia da Orta (c. 1500-1568).
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Cristoval Acosta (1512-1580) and Garcia da Orta (c. 1500-1568).

TRACTADO DE LAS DROGAS, Y MEDICINAS DE LAS INDIAS ORIENTALES. 1578

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Cristoval Acosta (1512-1580) and Garcia da Orta (c. 1500-1568).
Tractado de las drogas, y medicinas de las Indias Orientales. 1578
ACOSTA, Cristoval (1512-1580) and Garcia da ORTA (c. 1500-1568). Tractado de las drogas, y medicinas de las Indias Orientales, con sus plantas debuxadas al bivo. Burgos: Martin de Victoria, 1578.

First edition of this highly influential work by the Portuguese physician and naturalist Cristoval Acosta. It is an extended version of Garcia da Orta's important record of Indian plants and tropical medicine, first published at Goa in 1563. Acosta and Orta met in Goa where they both studied the indigenous flora and medicine. Acosta's enlargement 'clearly surpasses the earlier work in its systematic, first-hand observations of both East and West Indian plants and its illustrations after Acosta's own accurate drawings' (Norman 1). Among the Asian plants illustrated are cinnamon, mango, tamarind, pepper, nutmeg, ginger, cardomom, pineapple, sugar cane and the rubber tree. Alden-Landis 587/19; Blunt-Rahael pp.145-48; Garrison-Morton 1819; Hunt 130; NLM/Durling 1064; Pritzel 13; Stafleu-Cowan 23.

Octavo (186 x 132mm). Woodcut title border incorporating arms of Burgos, woodcut portrait of Acosta, and 41 full-page woodcut illustrations of New World plants, 2 full-page woodcuts of elephants, 3 smaller illustrations of plants, historiated woodcut initials (short marginal tears to T1 and Z7, title cut close at foot, variable spotting, browning and staining throughout). 18th-century half sheep over marbled paper-covered boards (extremities rubbed, joints cracking). Provenance: Fernando de Henao Monsaraz (near contemporary ownership inscription on title) – evidence of stamp removed from front pastedown.
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