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Egyptian botany with 50 woodcuts, including the first European illustration of the coffee plant

ALPINO, Prospero (Prosper ALPINI).
De plantis Aegypti liber. ... Accessit etiam liber de Balsamo alias editus.
Including: De balsamo dialogus.
Venice, Francesco de Franceschi, 1592. 4to. With a general title-page and a divisional title-page, each with the same Franceschi woodcut device, and 50 large woodcut plant illustrations. Further with numerous woodcut decorated initials, woodcut decorations and decorations built up from arabesque typographical ornaments. Contemporary(?) wooden boards covered with 18th-century sprinkled paper. [4], "80" [= 84], [8] ll.
€ 8,500
First edition of the earliest treatise on native Egyptian flora, the author's most important scientific work. The Italian physician and botanist Alpini (1553-1617) spent three years in Egypt studying botany and hygiene as a companion to the Venetian Consul Giorgio Emi. He was "among the first of the Italian physician-botanists of the 16th century to examine plants outside the context of their therapeutic uses. Today this work is best known for containing the first European illustration of the coffee plant" (Hünersdorff). Alpini writes: "I saw in the garden of Halybey the Turk a tree ... that is the source of those seeds, very common there, that they call ban or bon; everyone - Egyptians and Arabs alike - prepares a decoction from them that they drink instead of wine and that is sold in public bars just as wine here, and they call it caova. These seeds are imported from the Arabian peninsula ..." (leaf 26r, our translation). The coffee plant is pictured on leaf 26v, captioned "Bon".
From the library of Karl Martin and Siri Hilda Karolina Norrman (1900-95) with their joint bookplate on the front paste-down. Binding rather rubbed and bumped (especially the spine); trimmed somewhat close at head; occasional brown stains and water stains; slight defect in the title-page repaired by a former owner. In good condition. Adams A803; BMC STC Italian, p. 20; Durling 179; Edit 16, CNCE 1244; Gay 1678; Hünersdorff I, pp. 29-32; IA 103853; Ibrahim-Hilmy I, 32; Mueller 5 (& plate I); Nissen 20; Pritzel 111; USTC 808842; Wellcome I, p. 233.
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Related Subjects:

Africa  >  Natural History | North Africa & Egypt
Early printing & manuscripts  >  Natural History & Science
Medicine & pharmacy  >  Herbals & Medical Botany | Medicine & Pharmacy pre 1700
Middle east & islamic world  >  Africa | Medicine & Science
Natural history  >  Herbals & Medical Plants