Rumphius G.E.

Thesaurus Imaginum Piscium Testaceorum, Amsterdam, De Hondt, 1739

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Rumphius, G.E.

Thesaurus imaginum Piscium Testaceorum; quales sunt Cancri, Echini, Echinometra, Stellae Marinae, &c. ut & Cochlearum. Nautilus, Cornu Ammonis, &c. Conchae Univalviae & Bivalviae. Mineralia; uti Metalla, Lapides & Argillae, variis in locis reperta.

Apud Petrum de Hondt, 1739. 2°: [6], 14, [8] p. frontispiece (portrait), 60 plates (numbered I-LX).

Contemporary calf, richly gilt decorated spine with 6 raised bands. A very fine copy of this important work on shells and minerals, the first modern work on tropical fauna. Second Latin edition, the first Dutch edition was published in Amsterdam in 1705. The fine plates of this work are by Maria Sibylla Merian.
George E. Rumphius (1628-1702), the blind "Plinius Indicus", had been in the service of Dutch East-India Company as merchant and was stationed at the island of Ambon where he started researching systematically flora and fauna of this island. He described and drew all he saw and sent his manuscripts over to Amsterdam. His most famous work (2 Dutch, 2 Latin and one German edition) is D'Amboinische Rariteitskamer, which was published after his death in 1705 in Amsterdam. This work was and is especially interesting and useful for the owners (very popular at the time) cabinets of natural curiosities, the forerunner of the musei of today. Faraway from every centre of intellectual civilisation he was not literally isolated. He corresponded with many scholars in the Indies and Europe like Rhijne, Cleyer, Mentzel, Valentini etc.

Biographical references: "Rumphius' life and work" (pp. xxxv-cxii) in: The Ambonese Curiousity Cabinet, 1999. • Ballintijn, G.E., Rumphius, de blinde ziener van Ambon. Utrecht, W. de Haan, 1944. vii, 192 p. • Bridson, History of Natural History, 1994: 138. • DBA: I 1067, 392-393. • Jöcher, Gelehrten-Lexikon, 1750-51. • Koloniaal Museum te Haarlem, Rumphius Gedenboek, 1702-1902. Amsterdam, J.H. de Bussy, 1902. viii, [2], 221 p., 6 plates.. • Poggendorff: 2, cols. 720-1. • WBI. • Wit, H.C.D. de, Rumphius memorial volume. Baarn, Hollandia, 1959. [6], v, 462 p., 27 plates.
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