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Woodcut printer’s device on title. 55 pp. Small 8vo, attractive modern decorated paper boards. Rome: 1773.
This is the seventh and most complete edition of the list of the books issued by the printing office of the Sacred Congregation de Propaganda Fide, responsible for the spread of Catholicism. The first catalogue was issued in 1639. Amaduzzi (1740-92), Italian Hellenist, has provided a most useful foreword with a history of the printing house. The titles are arranged according to languages, starting with the alphabets in various types and ending with the published decrees and orders of the papal administration concerning the missionary...
12 p.l., 374,  pp., one leaf of errata. 4to, cont. English dark blue morocco (unimportant scuffing to extremities), covers panelled in gilt & blind, spine finely gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine, a.e.g. Amsterdam: J. Claus & others, 1676.
First edition, rare, and a splendid copy bound in contemporary English dark blue morocco, most probably for presentation, of the classic exposition of the Quaker philosophy. The Society of Friends, as Quakers are more formally known, has historically had an outsized influence through the mere force of passive resistance. Their form of Christianity is “widely divergent from the prevalent types, being a....
25,  pp. 8vo, 19th-cent. red sheep-backed marbled boards, spine lettered in gilt. London: Printed for the Author, 1799.
First edition of this scarce book. Rev. Bligh, who has signed and dated (25 August 1798) the final leaf, had the living at Romaldkirk, Yorkshire. This is his account of his lawsuit against his own parishioners regarding the payment of tithes. He gives many details of land and property held by the church and the rules of tithes set out in documents known as glebe terriers. This trial was rather famous in its time.
Title dusty but a nice copy. Stamp of the Lawes Agricultural Trust on front paste-down.
Five engraved frontis. & five engraved plates (of which one is large & folding). Five parts in two vols. Small 8vo, cont. marbled calf (a bit of wear to extremities), spines gilt, red morocco lettering pieces on spines. Paris: Duchesne, 1754.
Best and largest edition (1st ed.: 1710), of this waggish imaginary narrative by Bordelon (1653-1730), a theologian and author. An early example of paranormal fiction, it was translated into four languages and reprinted several times.
The present work functions as a critique of popular credulity in Bordelon’s time. Bordelon creates the superstitious Monsieur Oufle (anagram of “Le Fou”), a gullible merchant. The members...
4 p.l., 262,  pp.; 56,  pp. Two parts in one vol. Folio, cont. sheep (upper joint cracked but strong, three corners somewhat worn, minor foxing), vellum lettering piece on spine. Strasbourg: typis S. Kürsner, 1749.
WEISLINGER, Johann Nikolaus. Armamentarium Catholicum perantiquæ, rarissimæ ac pretiosissimæ Bibliothecæ, quæ asservatur Argentorati in…commenda…ordinis Melitensis Sancti Johannis Hierosolymitani…Notis…interspersis illustratum ex ejusmodi libris, qui ab anno Christi M. CCCC. LXIII. ordine chronologico prodierunt usque ad annum M.D. XXII. quo prodiit primò Martini Lutheri Novum Testamentum… Engraved frontis. port. of the author. Title printed in red & black. 16 p.l., 824,  pp., one leaf of errata...
Title within woodcut border & woodcut on verso of final leaf. 54,  pp. Small 4to, modern binding reusing an early MS. leaf over boards (verso of final leaf a little soiled). [Basel: J. Froben, 1518].
First separate edition of these two famous texts, “In Praise of Marriage” and “In Praise of Medicine.” The first work created a cause célèbre; written many years earlier in honor of the marriage of his friend Lord Mountjoy, when finally published it was seen by the Louvain and Paris theologians as an implicit condemnation of clerical celibacy.
The second work is Erasmus’s expression of his views of the medical arts. It “presents a view of medical ethics that identifies competence, beneficence and diligence as the physician’s primary moral obligations. The activity of the physician, when directed toward the patient in accordance with these obligations, gives rise to reciprocal obligations on the part of the patient: gratitude and reward. The activity of the patient in accordance with these obligations returns honour and payment to the physician.”–Albury & Weisz, “The Medical Ethics of Erasmus and the Physician-Patient Relationship” (online resource). It is dedicated to the distinguished physician Henricus Afinius, the chief physician of Antwerp.
1 p.l., 30 folding leaves. Title printed on yellow paper. 8vo, orig. wrappers, new stitching. Singapore: Jian xia shu yuan [American Board Mission Press], 1836.
First edition of this early book printed in Singapore (it is the earliest Chinese book printed in Singapore in the National Library of Singapore’s collections). The Mission Press was established in that city in 1823 and, in its early years published mainly works in English.
The author of this work, Gützlaff (1803-51), was a German Lutheran missionary to Batavia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and China. A controversial figure, he made trips along the Chinese coast and nearby areas...
4 p.l., 223,  pp. 8vo, cont. polished mottled calf, spine nicely gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. Bern: “In Verlag der neuen Buchhandlung,” 1772.
First edition of one of Haller’s works, written late in life as he became more and more conservative, defending religion against the ideas of the Enlightenment.
A very fine copy.
1 p.l., x, 169 pp.; 2 p.l., 184 pp. Two vols. in one. Small 8vo, cont. mottled calf (foot of spine a little chipped, lower edge of upper cover a little defective), spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. “Londres” (but probably Amsterdam): 1768.
First edition of one Holbach’s most important assaults on religion, in which he attacked Christianity and other religions as the source of all human evils. Holbach (1723-89), French philosopher, kept a salon in Paris for Helvetius, d’Alembert, Diderot, Condillac, Turgot, Buffon, Grimm, Hume, Garrick, Wilkes, Sterne, Rousseau and other free-thinkers. He was a major contributor to the Encyclopédie...
vi, , 602 pp., one leaf of errata. 4to, fine cont. tree calf (very slightly worn at head), gilt borders on sides, spine gilt in compartments, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: R. Faulder, 1797.
First edition and a lovely copy. This book was written at a pivotal point in the history of geology, after the publication of Hutton’s Theory of the Earth (1795) but before Playfair’s Illustrations of the Huttonian Theory of the Earth (1802). It was a time when no theory had been generally accepted and Biblical theories were still widely current. Howard’s substantial book is a review of some...
Scroll (322 x 7800 mm.), recently backed with some careful mending. Japan: later mid-Edo.
The “Tale of Zegaibo” is a well-known story in Japanese folklore; it was included in the Konjaku Monogatarishu [Anthology of Tales from the Past], written in the late Heian period (794-1185). The story is concerned with the great tengu Zegaibo who goes to Japan from China in 966 determined to halt the spread of Buddhism in Japan. Eventually, at the direction of Nichirabo, the leader of the Japanese tengu, Zegaibo visits Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei, headquarters of the Japanese Tendai sect, where he suffers a series of...
A large engraved copper plate depicting a mechanical model of the Buddhist solar system, executed by the famous artist Shiba Kokan (1747-1818), “the first Japanese artist to create European-style copperplate etchings.”–Oxford Art online. Kokan, Hiraga Gennai, and Gentaku Otsuki were the earliest exponents of Western-style art and science and travelled to Nagasaki to learn from the Dutch. Kokan wrote and illustrated books introducing Western astronomy to Japan.
The present plate shows the cosmic system taught by Fumon Entsu (1755-1834), a Japanese Buddhist monk of the Tendai (or Tiantai) school. In his Bukkoku rekishohen [Astronomical Works for...
N.p. [Japan]: n.d. [but 17th century].
These texts give an account of the life and times of Shingen Takeda (1521-73), and his son Katsuyori Takeda (1546-82), the greatest warriors of a prominent military house active from 1185 to about 1600, a period of considerable chaos in Japan. The Takeda clan had a profound influence on the development of the concept of bushido, the warrior class ethical system, which in turn can be said to permeate much of modern Japanese culture. Our manuscript includes “accounts of the Takeda clan’s rise and fall; their unique military tactics; the army’s constitution;...
Two full-page woodcuts serving as frontispieces & a full-page woodcut on final leaf. 1 p.l., 38, 38, 29 folding leaves. Three parts in one vol. 8vo, orig. blue wrappers, manuscript title label on upper cover, new stitching. [Guangzhou]: Yao Shi, .
One of the earliest printings — if not the earliest printing — of the translation by Kumarajiva, of the Vimalakirti Sutra, one of the fundamental texts of Chinese Buddhism. Kumarajiva (344-413), Buddhist monk, scholar, missionary, and translator, who came from the Silk Road kingdom of Kucha, was famous for his encyclopaedic knowledge of Indian and Vendantic learning. He was the greatest translator of Buddhist...
vi, 218 pp. 8vo, cont. marbled half-sheep & marbled boards (title & final leaf rather foxed), flat spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine, arms in gilt on upper cover of Max, Graf von Preysing-Lichtenegg-Moos (1810-81). Nuremberg: Riegel & Wiessner, 1819.
First edition of this detailed history of the Jesuits in Bavaria. Lang (1764-1835), was a Bavarian government official, the archivist of Munich, and the author of many histories of Bavaria. The Jesuits in Bavaria exerted considerable influence in the region due to their enormous wealth; they were suppressed in 1773.
Apart from the foxing, a fine copy. Bookplate of Philipp Pfister, secretary to King Ludwig
Title within ornate woodcut architectural border. Woodcut printer’s device on title. 26 unnumbered leaves. Small folio, cont. pigskin-backed wooden boards, spine & boards stamped in blind, orig. brass catches on upper cover, one (of two) orig. clasps. Paris: N. de La Barre for E. Le Fevre, 6 October 1515.
—. Arithmetica Speculativa…duodecim libris demonstrata. Title within ornate woodcut architectural border which is printed in red & black. Woodcut printer’s device on title. Several woodcuts in the text. 100 unnumbered leaves. Small folio (some foxing). Paris: N. de La Barre for E. Le Fevre, 18 December 1515.
Fine frontispiece at beginning & “afterpiece” scene at end. Scroll (210 x 9560 mm.), written in ink, color, gold, & silver on indigo-dyed paper. [Japan]: at end (in trans.): “copied on 28th April 1782 by [name impossible to determine as the characters can be read in multiple ways].”
This devotional scroll contains a selection of texts — known as the Gokito-kyo Lotus Sutra — taken from the much larger Lotus Sutra, one of the most influential scriptures of the Mahayana Buddhism. It is highly regarded in a number of Asian countries, including China, Korea, and Japan, where it has been traditionally practiced. The Gokito-kyo Lotus...
Large woodcut on title of an astronomer studying an armillary sphere in front of a starry sky by Hans Burgkmair & nine woodcuts in the text. 40 unnumbered leaves. Small 4to, cont. limp vellum, title written in a contemporary hand on upper cover, with the orig. nine-link chain attached to the lower cover with the orig. chain swivel & ring at other end, orig. deerskin ties. Augsburg: V. Otmar, 1548.
A fine copy of the “first German encyclopedia” of general knowledge, here bound in a very remarkable chained binding. Most surviving chained bindings are substantial folios; our example is a smaller format book with...
Woodcut port. of the author on verso of title & several woodcuts in the text. Title within typographical border. 12 p.l. (last leaf a blank), 348,  pp. Small thick 8vo, cont. vellum over boards, stamped in blind on upper cover “M N H L” & “1613.” Wittenberg: W. Meisner at the expense of C. Berger, [date of Foreword “1612“].
MATENESIUS, Johann Friedrich. Critices Christianae Libri Duo de Ritu Bibendi super Sanitate, Pontificum, Caesarum, Principum, Ducum, Magnatum Amicorum, Amicarum, &c.… Woodcut printer’s vignette on title. 8 p.l., 189 pp., one blank leaf. Small 8vo (tear to first leaf of text in blank portion of...
Three text leaves with Chinese characters, final conjugate leaf a full-page woodcut with about 65 Chinese characters, & a large folding engraved plate printing in Chinese characters the Kangxi Emperor’s edict of 1716. 58,  pp. Large 4to, orig. decorative wrappers, uncut. Nuremberg & Altdorf: Monath & Kussler, 1802.
First and only edition of an extremely uncommon book. Murr (1733-1811), a resident of Nuremberg, was a scholar with polymathic interests. He edited several intellectual journals, published on libraries and art museums, etc.
This work is, in large part, concerned with the Chinese Rites Controversy and the famous “Red Decree.” The Jesuit missionaries who came to China in...
Two folding engraved floor plans. xl, 303 pp.; 1 p.l., 304 pp., one leaf of errata. Two vols. 8vo, cont. marbled sheep, spines richly gilt, red & green leather lettering pieces on spines. Nuremberg: Felssecker, 1787-88.
First edition of this valuable history of the suppression of the Jesuits in Portugal, based on original documents. The suppression was overseen by the Marquis of Pombal; Murr gives here a highly detailed chronological account, year-by-year from 1750 through 1761. In Vol. II Murr provides a list of all the foreign missions of the Portuguese Jesuits, including Angola, India, Japan, Cambodia, China, Brazil, etc.
Murr (1733-1811), a resident of Nuremberg, was a scholar with wide interests. He edited several intellectual journals, published on libraries and art museums, etc.
Three parts in two vols. 139; 86 folding leaves. 8vo (235 x 165 mm.), cont. patterned covers (extremities a little worn), new stitching. Edo: ca. 1863.
A fascinating compilation of contemporary reports chronicling the first 11 years of the turbulent Bakumatsu era, 1853-67, the period between Commodore Perry’s first visit to Japan and the establishment of the Meiji government. These two volumes consist of manuscript copies of high-level official documents in the years 1853 to 1863, describing pivotal moments in Japan’s history that fundamentally shaped its relationship to the rest of the world.
Heralding the end of the Edo period and a Tokugawa-controlled government, the Bakumatsu period saw Japan end its policy of strict isolationism. The shogun reluctantly accepted that interactions with the rest of the world were unavoidable; however, sizable factions steadfastly and violently resisted opening Japan to the world. The influx of Americans, British, Russians, French, and Dutch in several port cities instigated numerous crimes against foreigners. In one notable incident in January 1861, a group of samurai assassinated a Dutchman named Henry Heusken, who was serving as secretary and interpreter for the American embassy. That summer, at the British legation in Edo, a band of ronin (masterless samurai) attacked ambassador Rutherford Alcock and several other diplomats, killing two.
62 unnumbered leaves (the final leaf, a blank, is present). Small folio, cont. blind-stamped pigskin-backed wooden boards, orig. clasps & catches. Tübingen: T. Anshelm, 1514.
—. De Arte Cabalistica Libri Tres Leoni X. dicati. Large woodcut coat-of-arms of Reuchlin on title. Much printing in Hebrew. 4 p.l., LXXIX leaves, one leaf. Small folio. Hagenau: T. Anshelm, 1517.