Les observations de plusieurs singularitez et choses memorables, trouvees en Grece, Asie, Indée, Egypte, Arabie & autres pays estranges…. Pierre BELON DU MANS.
Les observations de plusieurs singularitez et choses memorables, trouvees en Grece, Asie, Indée, Egypte, Arabie & autres pays estranges…
Les observations de plusieurs singularitez et choses memorables, trouvees en Grece, Asie, Indée, Egypte, Arabie & autres pays estranges…
Les observations de plusieurs singularitez et choses memorables, trouvees en Grece, Asie, Indée, Egypte, Arabie & autres pays estranges…

Les observations de plusieurs singularitez et choses memorables…
Les observations de plusieurs singularitez et choses memorables, trouvees en Grece, Asie, Indée, Egypte, Arabie & autres pays estranges…

Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1555.

Small octavo, fine printer's device on title, three maps including double-page plan of Mt. Sinai, finely executed woodblock illustrations; a most attractive copy in eighteenth-century sprinkled calf, spine gilt in panels with red label.

Exotica, real and imaginary

One of the first explorer-naturalists: Pierre Belon's near-eastern travels in a beautifully printed account. Belon, a physician and naturalist best remembered for his work as a comparative anatomist and master of dissection, undertook long voyages through Egypt, Arabia, the Levant, Greece and Asia Minor between 1546 and 1550. He was a careful and meticulous observer who 'can be considered the originator of comparative anatomy… he enriched the biological sciences by new observations and contributed greatly to the progress of the natural sciences in the sixteenth century.' (DSB). Les observations... is a rich travel narrative, combining natural history detail with descriptions of the curious customs, costumes and history of the peoples Belon encountered on his travels.

One of the first explorer-naturalists: Pierre Belon's near-eastern travels in a beautifully printed account. Belon, a physician and naturalist best remembered for his work as a comparative anatomist and master of dissection, undertook long voyages through Egypt, Arabia, the Levant, Greece and Asia Minor between 1546 and 1550. He was a careful and meticulous observer who 'can be considered the originator of comparative anatomy… he enriched the biological sciences by new observations and contributed greatly to the progress of the natural sciences in the sixteenth century.' (DSB). Les observations... is a rich travel narrative, combining natural history detail with descriptions of the curious customs, costumes and history of the peoples Belon encountered on his travels.

The work includes a fascinating diversity of material reflecting the author's innate curiosity, including chapters on the ancient labyrinths of Crete, opium cultivation and use in Turkey, the daily lives of children and the flooding of the Nile. Donald Lach described it as 'one of the most readable travelogues to appear in the sixteenth century'. Belon had travelled to the east as a member of a diplomatic mission that also included the archaeologist Pierre Giles, and later Guillaume Postel the early arabist as well as the royal cosmographers André Thevet and Nicolas de Nicolay. Together the books published by this remarkably gifted group of travellers provided the west with a compendium of information on the near east that was at the same time exotic and closely observed. Inevitably some fantasy crept in to their observations, and the exotic depictions and descriptions - whether of a giraffe or a chameleon from direct observation, or a gryphon or dragon surviving from mythology - show us the creatures that excited great interest at the time, and clearly especially appealed to the mapmakers since they can often be found in early maps inhabiting the dangerous edges of a world not yet fully discovered.

This is the second edition published in Antwerp by Christopher Plantin in 1555, and typifies the printing for which Plantin is renowned. Although small octavo in format, the composition is spacious, combining elegant cursive type and decorated capitals with sharp, neat impressions of the fine woodblock illustrations.

Brunet, I, 762; Funck, 274; Graesse, I, 331; Nissen , 132; Pritzel, 697; Tobler, S72; Wellcome, 759.

Price (AUD): $9,500.00  other currencies     Ref: #3910332

Condition Report