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Lot number: 40006
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Publisher: KAEMPFER, E.
Title: Amoenitatum exoticarum politico-physico-medicarum fasciculi V.
Published: Lemgo: Heinrich Wilhelm Meyer, 1712

Size: 9.3 x 7.3 inches.
23.5 x 18.5 cm.
Colouring: Uncoloured.
Condition:  Contemporary vellum with red title label on spine. 4to (220 x 180 mm). [18], 912, [32] pp. Title in red and black. Engraved frontispiece by Daniel Marot, architect to King William III, and Jacob Gole well known engraver of Amsterdam, 16 engraved plates (4 folding and 12 double-page), 63 full-page and 11 textual woodcuts and engravings.
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FIRST EDITION OF KAEMPFER'S FIRST WORK ON ASIAN NATURAL HISTORY AND MEDICINE, the only book Kaempfer published during his lifetime.
The book includes on page 764 "Tabula Hydrographica Sinus Persici.", a decorative map of the Persian Gulf with good detail, including names as Bahrein, Catara Jude Jutsar.(243 x 340mm.): His more famous work, The History of Japan, was first published in English translation after his death.
Kaempfer was the first scientist to illustrate and describe the plants of the Orient, including the Camellia (Tsubaki) and the date-palm. He was also the first European to bring a collection of botanical specimens back from Japan.
He was the first European to have described the Ginkgo tree in his memoir Amoenitatum exoticarum. He brought back young Ginkgo shoots to The Netherlands and it was in the Utrecht Botanical Garden that the first Ginkgo was planted in 1730

Included in this work is one of the first European descriptions of the healing methods of acupuncture and moxa.
Other observations of medical interest concern the guinea worm, endemic hydrocele of Malabar, asafetida, mycetoma of the foot, etc. Kaempfer's book also described paper-making and the custom of drinking tea.

Of extreme importance is Fascicule V which classifies nearly 500 Japanese plants. In most cases Kaempfer gives the Japanese names, illustrated with their Chinese characters. Kaempfer, a German physician and naturalist, visited Persia in 1648 as secretary to the Swedish ambassador and in 1690-92 as chief surgeon, accompanied a Dutch East India Company mission to Japan. The Japanese allowed him almost unlimited freedom to travel, and he became an authority on the geography, agriculture, mineral resources, religion, art and natural history of this country which had been virtually unknown to the West. His diverse scientific knowledge made him uniquely qualified to record the riches of Japanese culture.

References : Hunt Botanical Library II, 427. Nissen Botanische Buch Illustration pp 89-91, 1018. Bowers Western Medical Pioneers in Feudal Japan pp 38-58. Bowers, "Engelbert Kaempfer: Physician, Explorer, Scholar, and Author," in: Journal of the History of Medicine, vol XXI, no 3, pp 237-259.

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Item category: Asia | Arabian Peninsula

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Item category: Asia | Arabian Peninsula

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