1673 John Ogilby Asia Dapper Persia India Religion Customs 33 Superb Plates Maps For Sale
[Early English Travel Literature ] [Persia - Descriptions] [India - Descriptions]
[Oriental Religions - Islam, Hinduism, Zoroastrism] [Maps and Cartography]
London: Printed by the Author at his House in White-Friers, 1673.
Dedicated to King Charles II.
Text in English. Splendidly illustrated with engraved frontispiece, 4 double-page maps, 28 plates (including 12 double-page ones) and 30 engraved text illustrations. Complete and with all plates and maps called for by the list of plates (except for the "New Map of Asia" which is not called for in the Directions to the binder, and not present in all copies).
30 large engraved illustrations in text.
FIRST EDITION OF OGILBY'S CLASSIC DESCRIPTION OF ASIA, RICHLY ILLUSTRATED AND PRINTED IN MAGNIFICENT ROYAL FOLIO FORMAT.
Although the title page calls the work "the first part", this was all that Ogilby published, no "second part" ever appeared. This fine work has always been regarded as a separate and complete publication. Although the bibliography given in DNB suggests that the second part of this work was Ogilby's Embassy to the Emperour of China (first printed in 1669), the latter work is rightly regarded as an entirely independent publication.
Ogilby's monumental Asia describs all of the continent except China and Japan, treated separately in his translations of Montanus's works. In large part, Ogilby's Asia is a translation of Olfert Dapper's Asia, published in Dutch a year earlier, and contains all of the magnificent Dutch engravings of Persia and South Asia that illustrated the Dapper's work, includeing striking illustrations of Hindu mythology and wonderfully detailed views of cities. Ogilby's description of each region begins with accounts of natural history and topography, with later sections discussing costumes, religion, customs, government, commerce, laws, the army, as well as literature, arts and sciences (including chapters on Persian poetry and astronomy), etc.
In addition to the detailed description of India and Persia proper, this monumental folio includes accounts of Azerbaijan, Georgia (illustrated with engraved Georgian alphabet), Dagestan, Afghanistan, Bukhara, Kurdistan, Iraq, and many other regions and nations which at one time were parts of either the Persian or the Mogol empire.
The work includes a fascinating discussion of the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, practice of "suttee" in India (a traditional funeral practice in which a widowed woman immolates herself on her husband's funeral pyre), and chapters on Opium, Tee, Coffee, and Tobacco, as well as a curious discourses on oriental languages and "A Brief Vocabulary of the Malayan Tongue."
A prolific author, translator of Virgil and Aesop, and a notable cartographer, John Ogilby (1600-1676) acquired a printing-press after a short careers as a dancer, actor and producer. Ogilby devoted the last years of his life to publishing geographical and topographical works, and "may be considered as the English De Bry, as his works are similar in their objects, compilation, and mode of illustrations". (Cox II:69).
In 1669 Ogilby conceived an ambitious project, a multi-volume description of the world, which would include Asia as the third volume, following Africa and America. The volumes were done in collaboration with the Dutch publisher Jacob von Meurs.
"In November 1673, Ogilby gave notice that 'Asia, the First Part' was available at his house for 30 shillings (in quires) and at 20 shillings for subscribers. There was destined never to be a second part of Asia [...] The folio on Asia consisted primarily of materials on Persia and on the Indian (Mogul) Empire, with lesser materials on smaller areas in and around those two larger groupings. The title page proclaimed the material as taken from the 'most Authentick Authors' and the work contained maps and illustrations in considerable numbers. Ogilby printed this book himself, with his now customary full title on the title page." (Katharine S. Van Eerde, John Ogilby and the Taste of His Times, p.119)
"Ogilby, one of the more colorful figures associated with cartography, started life as a dancing master and finished as the King's Cosmographer and Geographic Printer. In the course of an eventful life he built a theatre in Dublin, became the Deputy Master of Revels in Ireland, translated various Greek and Latin works and built up a book publishing business; in the process he twice lost all he possessed, first in a shipwreck during the Civil Wars and then in the Great Fire. Even this disaster he turned to advantage by being appointed to the Commission of Survey following the fire. Finally he turned to printing again and in a few short years organized a survey of all the main post roads in the country and published the first practical road atlas, the Britannia, which was to have far-reaching effects on future map making". (C.Moreland, D. Bannister, Antique Maps: Christie's Collector's Guide, p.167).
Brunet IV, 174; Cox I, 275; Wing O-166; Lowndes p.1719.
Royal Folio 41½cm x 26½cm. Attractively bound in 20th-century full speckled calf a la antique, boards paneled in blind, spine with raised bands, richly decorated in gilt and with gilt-lettered red morocco label; marbled endpapers.
Pagination: , 253 (i.e. 255),  pp.+ plates. Signatures: π2 A4 B6 (-B1 cancel) C-Z4 Aa-Mm4. (Misbinding: Ii1,2 bound after Ii4).
COMPLETE and with all the plates and maps called for by the list of plates (without the "New map of Asia", not called for in the list of plates, but inserted in some copies of this work).
Richly illustrated with: engraved frontispiece, 4 double-page maps, 28 plates (of which 12 are double-page) and 30 large engraved illustrations in text.
Letterpress title-page printed in red and black. Woodcut head- and tail- pieces and decorative initials. Text printed in double columns, with printed marginalia. Preliminaries include Dedication to king Charles II (π2r), and "The General Description of Asia". (A1r-A4r). "Table of the Kingdoms, Provinces, Cities, Towns..." at the end of the volume (Kk4r-Mm3r), followed by "Directions for placing the sculps" (i.e. List of Plates) on recto of final leaf (Mm4r).
Very Good antiquarian condition. Several leaves with neat marginal repairs, not affecting text except on leaf E4 where repair to top outer corner caused loss of a few words. Occasional light soiling, mostly marginal, leaf H1 with a bit of heavier soiling. A few small burnholes. Several plates (mostly double-page ones) with margins cropped, making them somewhat shorter than the textblock, but never anywhere near engraved area, and always leaving plenty of margins. In all, a very handsome, clean and solid example with very wide margins in an attractive binding.
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