[ORTA, GARCIA DE and] CHRISTOVAL ACOSTA. Tractado de las Drogas, y medicinas de las Indias Orientales...Burgos: Martin de Victoria 1578.
4to, 191 x 131mm. (7 1/2 x 5 1/8 in.), red morocco, covers gilt-panelled, spine gilt in six compartments, turn-ins gilt, edges marbled and gilt, by Chambolle-Duru, joints and extremities rubbed, upper inner hinge splitting, tightly bound, lower margins of title-leaf, dedication leaf and fol. Aa1 skillfully renewed, with loss of printed price notice below title border and very slight loss to 3 letters on Aa1 verso, insignificant marginal tears or repairs to 3 or 4 other leaves, uniform light discoloration, occasional pale spotting.
FIRST EDITION, title within woodcut architectural border incorporating arms of the city of Burgos, portrait of Acosta, numerous ornamental initials, and 47 full-page woodcuts, of which 45 of plants and two of elephants.
Influential illustrated Spanish adaptation of Garcia da Orta's unillustrated Coloquios dos Simples e Drogas he Cousas Medicinais da India, published in Goa, India in 1563. The physician da Orta had spent many years in Goa, where he conducted a methodical and pioneering study of local flora, his particular interest being plants of potential use as drugs. Acosta, a Jesuit and fellow physician, met da Orta during his travels through India. Though not the first European edition of Goa's work, Acosta's version of the Coloquios, published on his return to Spain, is considered the most useful, being enriched with his own observations and with illustrations that were apparently drawn from nature. The plants depicted include numerous tropical spices and fruits, at least one of which, the pineapple, was later introduced to the East Indies.
Alden and Landis 578/19; Blunt and Raphael, pp. 145-148. Hunt I, 130; Pritzel 13; Sabin 113; Stafleu TL-2 23; Ahumada 34.
Provenance: Juan Carlos Ahumada, bookplate; the present owner.