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A scarce, incredibly important work on Hindu astronomy in both Tamil and English

ULLAMUDEIAN (translator), Visvanatha SASTRIYAR (compiler) and Henry Richard HOISINGTON (editor and translator).
[Sothi Sastra]. The Oriental astronomer: being a complete system of Hindu astronomy, accompanied with a translation and numerous explanatory notes. With an appendix.
Jaffna, Ceylon [= now Sri Lanka], American Mission Press, 1848. 2 works in 1 volume. 8vo. Printed in both Tamil and English, with numerous scientific, astronomical tables in the text. Including: [IDEM]. A complete system of Hindu astronomy, being a translation of the foregoing work.
Jaffna, American Mission Press, 1848.
Contemporary half red morocco and marbled paper sides, with a gold-lettered black morocco title label on the spine and blue sprinkled edges. [1], [1 blank], [1], [1 blank], 177, [3 blank]; [1], [1 blank], 145, [1 blank], [1], [1 blank] pp.
€ 5,000
A scarce fascinating and sophisticated work on traditional Hindu astronomy, in both Tamil and English, edited and translated by Reverend Henry R. Hoisington. "The Oriental Astronomer ... is a collection of works in Tamil, with an English translation and numerous explanatory and corrective notes. ... The work has been prepared for the use of the students [at the Batticotta seminary in Ceylon]. ... The purpose of the present volume is not to serve as a text-book, to the supercession[!] of European treatises; but to furnish those who have made good proficiency in the European system, with the means of instituting a comparison between that system and the native one. This we reckon not only a legitimate object, but a highly desirable one." (The Calcutta Review).
Henry Richard Hoisington (1801-1858) was an American missionary and principal of the Batticotta Seminary, the first university-level educational institution in Ceylon. He edited and translated the present work, which consists of four parts: an introduction in Tamil and English; the "Parakitham", a treatise on astronomy and an astronomical system, translated from Sanskrit into Tamil by Ullamudeian (with an English version of the text and system); an 18-century treatise on eclipses by Visvanatha Sastriyar; and an appendix containing tables, astronomical problems and a glossary of Hindu astronomical terms. Visvanatha Sastriyar (1756-1845) was a Tamil poet and astronomer, who was regarded as the most celebrated astronomer in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
The present work is scarce, we have found no other copy available on the market and we have traced 20 copies which are held institutionally. The Oriental astronomer has appeared only 4 times at auction in the last 120 years. At least 1 of these records describes the present copy, thus no more than 3 other copies have appeared on the market in the last century.
With a small pink/orange binder's label on the front pastedown: "M. Winslow. Binder, A. M. Jaffna.". The binding is somewhat soiled and has been restored along the spine and corners of the boards. With a square brown stain to gutter of the verso of the front flyleaf and the title-page. The edges of the leaves are very slightly browned, but overall internally fine and clean. Overall in good condition. Art. III. The Oriental Astronomer [...], in: The Calcutta review vol. 13 (1850) pp. 65-85.
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Asia  >  India & Sri Lanka
Science & technology  >  Astronomy & Mathematics