29 November 2007
DIVINATION -- [PROKHOROV, Mikhail.] Drevnei i Novoi Polnoi Gadatel'noi Sposob. [An Ancient and New Complete Divination Method]. Moscow: A. Reshetnikov, 1800.
8° (175 x 105mm). Text printed within black frame. Engraved frontispiece, engraved head- and tail-pieces. (Some light marginal staining and soiling, some small losses to margins of a few leaves.) Contemporary half-calf, flat spine with gilt rules and title (extremities rubbed, spine head and tail chipped, gilt flaked). Provenance: Aleksandr Smirdin (bookplate) -- Rossica (book-label) - Diaghilev-Lifar (inscription; sold Sotheby's, Monaco, November 1975, lot 209).
FIRST REVISED EDITION. THE SMIRDIN--DIAGHILEV-LIFAR COPY of a rare work on divination. The rhyming caption under the frontispiece explains that there is nothing more 'annoying' than receiving an 'unpleasant' answer from the dice one is using to tell fortunes; such divination, popular at all levels of society in Russia from the second half of the eighteenth century, was often seen more as a harmless pastime than a serious method of divining the future. RARE: WorldCat records no copies in North America. SK 5743; Sopikov 11218.
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