14 October 2003
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF ANITA PEEK GILGER, M.D.
KAEMPFER, Engelbert (1651-1716). Amoenitatum exoticarum polotico- physico- medicarum... descriptiones rerum persicarum & ulterioris asiae. Lemgo: Meyer, 1712.
4o (227 x 180 mm). Engraved frontispiece, engraved title vignette, 16 folding plates, 62 engravings (most full-page) and 12 woodcuts in the text. Contemporary calf gilt (rebacked). Provenance: Earl Ilchester (armorial bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. The only work by Kaempfer to be published in his lifetime. A significant proportion of the work is on Japan, including the important list of Japanese flora. The author was part of the 1683 Swedish embassy to the Shah of Persia. From Isfahan he joined the Dutch East India Company as physician to the company's station at Bandar Abbas. He reached Java in 1689 and joined the annual voyage to Japan in the following year; he spent 2 years in Japan, mostly in Nagasaki, but visited Edo twice. "It is an extremly important book botanically because of Fasc. V which describes and illustrates the plants of the Orient. Here is pictured for the first time for Western eyes such flowers as the Camellia, under its Japanese name 'Tsubaki'" (Hunt). Hunt 427; Nissen BBI 1018; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 3483.
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