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60 splendid plates of East Indian shellfish, crustaceans and other marine specimens,
drawn by Maria Sibylla Merian

RUMPHIUS, Georg Everhard.
d'Amboinsche rariteitkamer, behelzende eene beschryvinge van aleerhande zoo weeke als harde schaalvisschen, te weete raare krabben, kreeften, en diergelyke zeedieren, als mede allerhande hoorntjes en schulpen, die men in d'Amboinsche zee vindt: daar benevens zommigen mineraalen, gesteenten, en soorten van aarde, die in d'Amboinsche, en zommige omleggende eilanden gevonden worden.
Amsterdam, Jan Roman de Jonge, 1741. Royal folio (44 x 27.5 cm). With engraved title-page, engraved author's portrait, 60 engraved plates and 5 engraved vignettes. Contemporary red half roan.
€ 8,500
Second edition, in the original Dutch, of a monumental and splendidly illustrated account of Ambonese and other East Indian marine specimens excluding vertebrate fish, with scientifically accurate engravings drawn by Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) apparently in the year of the death of the owner, Rumphius. The 60 large engraved plates show crustaceans, sea urchins, sand-dollars, starfish, shellfish, barnacles and coral, along with crystals, minerals, amber, fossils and even some man-made artefacts. Some plates show one large figure, others more than twenty small ones. Its precise descriptions and information on habitat anticipate modern marine biology.
Rumphius, a German physician and naturalist, worked for the Dutch East India Company (VOC) from 1652 to his death, mostly on Ambon in the Moluccas. The illustrations never bore Merian's name (only those of the engravers), but she mentioned them in a 1702 letter, Zacharias Conrad von Uffenbach saw them at her house in 1711 and wrote that she drew them, and her drawings survive in St Petersburg.
Slightly creased, otherwise in very good condition and wholly untrimmed, leaving broad margins. Binding slightly rubbed and sides a bit soiled, but still firm and good.
Landwehr & V.d. Krogt, VOC 591 note; Nissen, ZBI 3519; cf. E. Reitsma, Maria Sibylla Merian, pp. 207-210.
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Art & architecture  >  Museums & Wunderkammer
Asia  >  Indonesia / Dutch East Indies | Natural History | Southeast Asia
Natural history  >  Shells & other Invertebrates | Zoology
Science & technology  >  Mineralogy & Gems | Museums & Wunderkammer