18 November 2014
RUSSIA – Illuminated manuscript: Povestvovanie o chudesnem zhitii i preslavutykh rytserstvakh khrabrago vitiazia Popiraia Podvigaevich. [Narrative of the wonderous Life of the Noted Chivalrous Courageous Knight Popirai Podvigaevich.] Russia, early 19th century.
Manuscript on paper, 230 x 190 mm, watermarked J. Honig & Zoonen, comprising: initial blank leaf, 14 leaves [28 pages] of text in red and black numbered in Cyrillic alphabetic numerals, 16-19 lines per page, one leaf ‘To the Reader’ with blank verso, and 7 leaves of 12 drawings in pen and ink and grey wash with captions on rectos only, final blank leaf. (Slight soiling to lower corners.) Contemporary pink silk over blue paper, embroidered with simple border of scrolling foliage enclosing a winged phallus (soiled and somewhat worn); housed in a modern black morocco-backed watered silk case.
A VERY RARE EARLY RUSSIAN EROTIC MANUSCRIPT IN ITS ORIGINAL EROTIC SILK BINDING. A fine example of the erotic literature which appeared in the 18th century with naïve illustrations referring to passages in the text and the four ‘wonders’ therein. These follow the images in the ‘lubok’ popular woodcut prints that were printed at the same time. The various tales of such encounters were copied in manuscript and distributed to avoid the censor.
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