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    The Dresden Codex with All Sixty-Nine Plates

    Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Jacques Alexandre Bonpland. Vues des Cordillères, et monumens des peuples indigènes de l'Amérique. Paris: Chez F. Schoell, 1813.

    Second edition of one of the most important publications resulting from the monumental expedition to America in 1799-1804 by German scientist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt, and his companion, botanist Aimé Bonpland. Large folio (22 x 16.25 inches). [vi], xvi, 350 pages, including half-title, printed title, and engraved dedication leaf. Complete with sixty-nine plates on sixty-eight leaves (of which twenty-four are hand-colored, color-printed, or color-printed and finished by hand, including the double-page color plate of the Chimborazo volcano (with plate title in the lower margin), and four are printed in sepia), depicting views, plans, archaeological ruins, codices, and native costumes. This copy is complete, containing the text (pages 272-350) and plates (50-69), missing in many copies.

    Three-quarter brown leather over marbled boards with gilt titles and decorations to spine. Binding worn and abraded, with spine detached and corners exposed. Diagonal crease to front free endpaper and half-title page. Even toning to some plates. Some offsetting from plates to facing pages. Scattered foxing and thumb-soiling throughout, mainly marginal, but more pronounced to some plates and text leaves. A very good copy of this magnificent atlas.

    "This atlas was issued to accompany the first part of the Voyage de Humboldt et Bonpland. Alexander von Humboldt was an eminent German naturalist, geographer, traveler, and scientific explorer. He was the son of the King of Prussia's chamberlain, brother of a prominent Prussian diplomat, and a friend of Georg Forster. From 1799 to 1804, he traveled with the French botanist Aimé Bonpland on a scientific journey to Spanish South America, Cuba, Mexico, and Central America. They sailed from La Coruña on board Pizarro for America, where the Orinoco River was explored by boat. The extensive scientific explorations were made in the Andes and in Mexico. Humboldt, the inventor of isothermic lines, was especially interested in climate, in particular the effects of elevations and of ocean currents, in tropical storms, and in volcanoes. One of the more spectacular plates in this work depicts the great volcano of Chimborazo in the Andean highlands. Humboldt's expedition was fundamental to the development of the sciences of physical geography and meteorology, and he made important contributions to the study of ethnicity and culture. Local peoples and Mexican and Peruvian antiquities received attentive analysis. After his return to Europe, Humboldt spent twenty years in Paris supervising the publication of the results of his explorations. Many of the plates were engraved from Humboldt's drawings, and he supervised the hand-coloring of the plates for accuracy. Contained herein is the first publication of any part of the famed Dresden Codex, the most extensive surviving pre-Columbian codex, as well as color plates derived from the Codex Mendoza and other important codices" (Hill).

    The Vue des Cordillères is notable not only for its remarkable colored plates of scenes in Central and South America, particularly the magnificent double-page plate of the great volcano of Chimborazo in the Andean highlands, but also as being the first extensive treatment of surviving pre-Columbian and immediately post-Columbian Indian codices.

    "Every class of Mexican or Aztec, and Peruvian Antiquities, receives in this work the clearest philosophical analysis. Many of the plates are beautifully coloured; indeed, it is the most beautiful and generally interesting of Humboldt's Works...the collation in some copies is pp. xvi, 350; 69 plates [as in the present copy]" (Sabin).

    Field 739 (1810 edition). Hill 839 (1810 edition). Sabin 33754 ("+ Paris. 1813").

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
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