KIRCHER, Athanasius (1602-1680). Oedipus Aegyptiacus hoc est Universalis Hieroglyphicae veterum doctrinae temporum iniuria abolitae instauration. Rome: Vitalis Mascardi, 1652-1655.
3 volumes in 4, 2° (351 x 240mm). Additional engraved title to volume I, portrait of the dedicatee Ferdinand III by C. Bloemaert, 14 plates and maps, all folding, 12 engraved illustrations, over 400 woodcuts and diagrams, many full-page. (Titles lightly soiled, title of vol. III with marginal repair, some occasional browning and staining.) Contemporary tree calf, panels ruled in gilt, spines in six compartments with gilt raised bands, lettered in the second compartment, red speckled edges (light rubbing to extremities, a few small light scuff marks). Provenance: unidentified ink shelfmarks and faded stamps -- Bibliotheca Kircheriana (book label).
A FINE FIRST EDITION OF 'KIRCHER'S LARGEST AND MOST ASTOUNDING WORK the culmination of years of research in Egyptology' (Merrill). Volume I gives a general overview of Egypt's geography, the Nile and the Egyptian pantheon; it also discusses the religious practices of China, Japan, India, Mongolia and the Aztec culture. Volume II researches hieroglyphics, their origin and Kircher's method of interpretation. A large section is also dedicated to the Cabala and the significance of numbers, geometric shapes, music and astrology. In volume III Kircher concentrates on the relatioships between hieroglyphs, Chinese characters and Aztec writings. Brunet III, 668 ('Ce savant ouvrage et le plus recherché, et l'un des plus rares de tous ceux du P. Kircher'); Dorbon-Aine 2389 ('un monument formidable d'érudition et on ne le trouve que rarement complet de 4 volumes'); Graesse IV, 22; Sommervogel IV, 1052-56.13; Merrill 10; Caillet II, 5788 ('De tous les ouvrages du père Kircher celui-ci est le plus savant et le plus recherché'). (4)