New York, East
5 June 1997
DURET, CLAUDE. Histoire admirable des plantes et herbes esmerveillables et miraculeuses en nature: mesmes d'aucunes qui sont vrais Zoophytes, ou Plant'-animales, Plantes & Animaux tout ensemble... Paris: Nicolas Buon, 1605. 8vo, 163 x 110 mm., contemporary vellum, a few early ink doodles to covers, traces of ties, creasing to corners of first few leaves, lacking last leaf blank. FIRST (AND ONLY?) EDITION, wooduct device on title, 28 full-page woodcuts in the text, most of fantastical plants. Nissen BBI 571.
A charming throw-back to a medieval view of nature. Duret's work consists of a compilation of accounts of plants with peculiar, exotic, or outright mythical properties, from Western classical accounts as well as Eastern and Indian fables. The plants include both authentic exotic species and fictive amalgamations such as the "Zoophytes", which include such creatures as the barnacle goose tree with walking leaves, the tree whose fruits produce live ducks, "shy" plants who don't like to be touched, the vegetable lamp of Tartary, and the tree which grows into a live sheep.
Provenance: Inscription on title of Joann [Rabi?] dated 1614 -- Robert de Belder.
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