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Unique hand-coloured copy of Dapper's famous description of Africa

DAPPER, Olfert.
Naukeurige beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche gewesten van Egypten, Barbaryen, Lybien, Biledulgerid, Negroslant, Guinea, Ethiopiën, Abyssinie: vertoont in de benamingen, grenspalen, revieren, steden, gewassen, dieren, zeeden, drachten, talen, rijkdommen, godsdiensten en heerschappyen. ...
Including: Naukeurige beschrijvinge der Afrikaensche eylanden ...
Amsterdam, Jacob van Meurs, 1676. 3 works in 1 volume. Folio (33 x 22 cm). With a richly engraved allegorical frontispiece, a large folding engraved map of Africa (44.5 x 56 cm), 14 double-page engraved maps of parts of Africa and the adjacent islands, 27 double-page and 1 larger folding engraved plates and views, and 55 half-page engraved views, plans, illustrations of costumes, animals, plants, etc. in the text. All illustrations coloured by a contemporary hand. Contemporary vellum at a later date with elaborate blind-tooled decorations, including oriental portraits. With 2 decorated brass clasps, signed B-I. [6], 428, 349, [16]; [1], 121, [4] pp.
€ 85,000
First impression of the second revised Dutch edition of Dapper's famous description of Africa. The Amsterdam author Olfert Dapper (1636-1689) was celebrated by his contemporaries for his descriptions of far away lands. He started his writing career with a description of Amsterdam, the city where he lived all his life. His description of the entire continent of Africa and its islands was first published in 1668, which was still early in his career. It is now accepted as his best work and was translated into German and English in 1670, and into French in 1686. The present second edition appeared in 1676 and was much enlarged.
Dapper's attention was mainly drawn to the Islamic North of Africa, with extensive and thorough descriptions of the area between Morocco and Egypt (with a magnificent illustration of pyramids) and the Ethiopian Empire (Abyssinia). Its maps of the whole of Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia include the Arabian peninsula as far as the Persian Gulf and provide a detailed display of the Red Sea. A highlight is the impressive double-page plate with a view of a Hajj pilgrim caravan from Cairo to Mecca
Of special interest are the books abundant, exact and finely executed illustrations. Even more so because in the present copy they are coloured by a contemporary hand, which is extremely rare and perhaps unique for this work. The illustrations include engraved maps of the states, provinces, and towns, engraved plates and a large number of engravings in the text representing the residents, the lesser known plants and animals.
Dapper's interdisciplinary approach was innovative. He compiled his description of Africa from various sources, including unpublished Dutch reports and eye-witness accounts, most of them now lost or scarce, which makes this early work on Africa of enduring value for the history of the continent.
Faded manuscript title on spine. Covers and spine slightly rubbed, clasps reattached, new ties. Otherwise in very good condition. Cox 1, 361; Gay, L'Afrique, 219; Mendelssohn I, p. 413-4; Tiele 298.
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Related Subjects:

Africa  >  Cartography & Exploration | East & Southern Africa | North Africa & Egypt
Cartography & exploration  >  Africa
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