ASTRONOMY, ASTROLOGY, CALCULATION, MYTHOLOGY, & GAMES
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Monday, 18 May 2020
MANUSCRIPTS (by location)
[Augsburg, Universitätsbibliothek, I.6.4°2]
Fecht- und Ringbuch, Vermischtes Kampfbuch. Farbmikrofiche-Edition der Handschrift Augsburg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod.I.6.4°2. Einführung und Beschreibung von Hans-Peter Hils.
Codices Figurati - Libri Picturati, 2. Munich: Edition Helga Lengenfelder, 1992. 17 x 25 cm, 30 pp, 3 fiches (x84).
Paper MS of 109 fols., c.1470 (Part I) and c.1430 (Part II), from South Germany. The first part of this colored pictorial manuscript (f.1-75) demonstrates the common art of fencing and wrestling according to the rules established by Johann Lichtenauer, a well known master of martial arts. Shown are all the practised positions for a couple of struggling opponents. This part may have been the model for the 'Fechtbuch' by Albrecht Dürer. Short explanations accompany the illustrations. The second part, a mixed fencing and wrestling instruction, originally may have been independent. The colored pen drawings teach various kinds and forms of fencing or wrestling following the professional tradition of Hans Talhoffer. Linen. €280 [3-89219-301-0] (more info... )
[Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preuß. Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinett, 78 D 12]
Tablas de las constelaciones de Alfonso X el Sabio.
Valencia: Patrimonio Ediciones, 2006. 24 x 38 cm, 100 pp + commentary.
A catalogue of stars, constellation by constellation, based on the astronomy of Ptolemy as edited by King Alfonso of Castile. Known as the “Alfonsine Tables”, it was once considered a translation, however new research has identified it as an original Alfonsine work, widely disseminated throughout Europe as of the 1320s. It is the first European MS to cite the Andromeda Nebula, unknown by Ptolemy. Alfonso X stands out in history as the patron of the first European program of investigation in applied astronomy. The analysis of his body of work makes sense only if one considers that the monarch was interested in this science due to its practical applications (astrology and talismanic magic) and did not attempt to cultivate it as a pure science. The Ms includes 50 full-page miniatures adorned with gold and silver. Limited edition of 999 numbered copies bound in leather over wooden boards. €3700
[Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preuß. Kulturbesitz, lat. cot. 44]
Recopilación de textos astronómicos.
Barcelona: Liber Millennium, 2007. 11 x 15.5 cm, 24 pp + commentary
In antiquity there existed the belief that heros and famous personalities, upon their death, were transported to the heavens and converted into constellations, so that, looking into the night sky, one could recognize their figures by the position of the stars. This collection of astronomical texts written by an anonymous writer contain a series of illustrations that form part of the “aratea” cycle, constituted by 43 drawings representing the planets, stars and constellations, as well as various schematic treatises. Limited edition of 995 copies bound in leather, with presentation case. €595
[Brussels, Bibl. Royale Albert I, 10218-19]
Das Jagdbuch des König Modus (Le livre du roi Modus). Bruxelles, Bibliothèque Royale Albert Ier, Ms. 10.218-19.
Codices Selecti, XCI. Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1989. 20.5 x 29.5 cm, 210, 120 pp.
[Chantilly, Musée Condé, Ms. 388]
Histoire d’amour sans paroles. Racconto per immagini di un corteggiamento.
Ars Illuminandi. Modena: Il Bulino, 2005. 19.2 x 12.7 cm, 30 pp + commentary.
A narration—completely in pictures—of two young court lovers in the north of France at the beginning of the 16th c. The story develops only through the illuminated images—no text—which, thanks to their beauty and exquisite details, show the development of the loving feeling between the two young protagonists. Like illuminated calendar scenes of the period, the painter captures typical everyday activities, rich with foliage, trees, animals, rivers, & city backdrops; the vignettes are made even more poignant with the use of painted borders, resembling real, carved wooden frames. Commentary in Italian. Bound in green leather decorated with a golden frame; wooden case covered with tooled leather. €1250 [88-82651-69-6]
[Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibl., Mscr. Dresd. Oc 58]
René d’Anjou: Traité des Tournois. Dresden, Sächsische Landesbibliothek, Mscr. Dresd. Oc 58. Edition microfiches couleurs. Introduction au texte par Jacques Heers. Description du manuscrit enluminé par Françoise Robin.
Codices Illuminati Medii Aevi, 32. Munich: Edition Helga Lengenfelder, 1993. 17 x 25 cm, 30 pp, 3 fiches.
Flemish (?), end of 15th c. Vellum, 78 fols. The “Tract of tournament” was initiated c.1450-60 by René of Anjou (1408-1480), and dedicated to his younger brother Charles. It is a description of the course of a tournament between the dukes of Brittany and Bourbon. The cycle of 30 illustrations in the Dresden MS presents in realistic details the imaginary tournament of the dukes with items of tournament equipment, and all their company, heralds, judges, musicians and spectators in an urban setting. The text and the illustrations with captions in red comment on the courtly regulations step by step beginning with the call for the tournament. The illustrations of the Dresden MS assume a rather different form from those found in all other well known Paris versions (Paris, BN, fr. 2695): they emphasize the urban setting, reduce the number of persons represented, but include more scenes. The style is less artistic due to the didactic purpose of lively instruction. There are 4 more (incomplete) works included: “Comment on doit faire et créer empereur”, “Traictié de la droicte ordonnance du gaige de bataille par tout le royaulme de France”, “L'arbre des batailles” and “Cronique abrégée des faitz de France depuis lan de grace mil quatre cens jusque à lan mil 467 inclus”. Linen. €260 [3-89219-032-1] (more info... )
[Erlangen, Universitätsbibliothek, Ms.2361]
Christine de Pizan. L’Epistre d’Othéa. Farbmikrofiche-Edition der Handschrift Erlangen-Nürnberg, Universitätsbibliothek, Ms.2361. Einführung zu Christines “Buch der Weisheit” von Helga Lengenfelder.
Codices Illuminati Medii Aevi, 31. Munich: Edition Helga Lengenfelder, 1996. 17 x 25 cm, 98 pp, 3 fiches.
Flemish, Bruges(?), c.1455(?). Vellum, 126 fols. The MS was produced at the time of Philip the Good, duke and count of Burgundy and count of Flanders and Artois, and is splendidly adorned with 101 grisaille miniatures by different artists, among them Willem Vrelant and Jan de Tavernier. Christine (1364-1430) finished this work about 1400, and had dedicated it to Duke Louis d'Orléans, the younger son of the French king Charles V. The MS consists of a prologue and 100 chapters, treating classical cardinal virtues, the nature of the 7 planets, figures or legendary heroes, and stories having their sources in Ovid's Metamorphoses or the history of the Trojan War. Each chapter comprises a miniature, a 4 line versified 'dit' or sentence serving as heading to the chapter and as caption to the miniature, 2 commentaries denoted “glose” and “alegorie”, and a biblical citation in Latin. The miniatures at the beginning present personifications of the 4 classical cardinal virtues, and in the following miniatures the 7 planets are depicted as riding knights and chivalrous ladies on horsebacks. The artist(s) took great care to organize the composition of the depicted episodes and their chronology in a fine gradation, arranging the main scene on the foreground and the more subsidiary ones in smaller proportion in the background, thus creating a simultaneous aspect as in a panel painting, and the impression of perspective. The work is a “Manual of classical and Christian morality”, destined for the ethical education of a prince. Linen. €320 [3-89219-031-3] (more info... )
[Escorial, Biblioteca del Monasterio, vitr.21-23 (28.i.11/28.i.10/28.i.12)]
Historia genealógica y heráldica de los emperadores, reyes y nobles de europa.
Colección Carlos V, 1. Madrid: Testimonio, 1997-2004 35.2 x 50 cm. 3 vols, 454, 436, 404 pp + commentary.
One of the jewels of the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo is the luxurious three-volume history: "Book of Dynasties", written in 1547-48 and dedicated to Philip II. The texts, in Latin and German, describe the world from biblical times until the middle of the 16th c., with it historical perspective being Charles V, whose universal empire is seen as the result of a historical process which started with Noah. Volume I—"Historia originis et succesionis regnorum et imperiorum a Noe ad Carolum"—, provided with 227 miniatures, covers the history in terms of Old Testament prophecy. Volume II—"Historia originis et nobilitatis Hispaniae et Germaniae"—, with 137 miniatures, takes the form of a hierarchical presentation of European countries and their possessions, beginning with the Kingdom of Spain, following with principalities and counties, to independent feudal states like Russia and Switzerland, listing their sovereigns from as far back as mythical and legendary times. Volume III—"Historia nobilitates et torneamentorum"—, decorated with 31 miniatures, concentrates on the nobility, its origins back to mythology, and its rights from moral and political viewpoints. Bound in full leather, with generous tooling. €11275 [84-88829-45-0]
[Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, Ricc. 2669]
Tratado de aritmética de Lorenzo el Magnifico, s.XV.
Valencia: Patrimonio Ediciones, 2002. 12 x 17 cm, 240 pp + commentary.
This codex, with 230 miniatures by the Spanish master Pedro Berruguete, court painter to Queen Joanna the Mad and King Philip the Handsome, and by the workshop of Sandro Botticelli, was commissioned by Lorenzo de Medici for the education of his son Giovanni in the arts of banking and commerce. Giovanni later became Pope Leo X. Limited edition of 999 copies. €3700
[Hamburg, Staats- & Universitätsbibl., cod. 91b]
Konrad von Ammenhausen. Das Schachzabelbuch. Farbmikrofiche-Edition der Handschrift Hamburg, Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. 91b in scrinio. Literar- und kunsthistorische Einführung von Karin Lerchner.
Codices Illuminati Medii Aevi, 58. Munich: Edition Helga Lengenfelder, 2000. 17 x 25 cm, 46 pp, 7 fiches.
Hagenau (Alsace), workshop of Diebold Lauber, 1420-1430. Paper, 368 fols., 15 tinted pen drawings. The German “Schachzabelbuch”, originally completed 1337, is an adaptation of the Latin tract “De moribus hominum et officiis nobilium super ludo scaccorum” by Jacobus de Cessolis. The rules of chess, the conditions and situations of the game are taken as an allegory of this world. The chess-men had become symbols of persons according to their social position: The "nobiles" represent king and queen, judge, knight, and governor, and the "populares" (pawns) had become representations of the classical artes mechanicae, now a wide spectrum of medieval craftsmen and professions, i.e. farmer, blacksmith, tailor, dressmaker, weaver, barber, butcher, merchant, doctor, pharmacologist, etc. The work has four sections with 233 numbered divisions in total, and headings in red. The cycle of 15 full-page pen-drawings has a prefatory picture with king and queen playing chess, followed by 5 pictures with representatives of the nobles and 8 of the professions, all with their appropriate attributes; the last picture is showing the author. The texts mirror the opposite situation of the game: discussed are the ethic values, the virtues and vices, or the behaviour and duties, thus explaining to all classes of society their obligations in life. Linen. €410 [3-89219-058-5] (more info... )
[Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, cpg 832]
Das Heidelberger Schicksalbuch. Codex Palatinus Germanicus 832 der Universitätsbibliothek aus dem 15. Jahrhundert. Faksimile des “Astrolabium planum” in frühneuhochdeutscher Übertragung.
Frankfurt: Insel-Verlag, 198?. 28 x 36 cm, 48 pp + commentary.
Commentary by Bernhard D. Haage. Limited numbered edition of 750 copies, bound in leather. 3-458-14822-1
[Leiden, Rijksuniversiteitsbibl., Ms. Voss. Lat.Q.79]
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1987. 20 x 22.5 cm, 200, 200 pp.
In color and inlaid gold. 39 full-page miniatures. Of all the manuscripts on astronomy from the Carolingian Renaissance, the Aratea of Leyen is the most famous. Created by an unknown artist during the reign of Louis the Pious (814-840) in the second quarter of the 9th century. Original acquired by the University of Leyden in 1690; preserved in the Library as the most important manuscript owned by the Netherlands. Separate commentary volume in German. Limited edition of 980 copies. Binding matches the original, in napped, natural leather. Slipcase.
[Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, 3307]
Códice de Metz.
Colección Scriptorium, 2. Madrid: Testimonio, 1993. 23.5 x 30.3 cm, 152 pp + commentary.
This MS was written in Metz and is the copy of a work compiled at the Court of Charlemagne towards the year 810 on the order of Drogón, Archbishop of Metz, the illegitimate son of the Emperor. It contains a summary of calculation and astronomical treatises used to establish the reform of the calendar and it is arranged as follows: 1) astronomical & liturgical calendar; 2) patterns of 56 cycles of 19 years corresponding to the years 1 to 1063; 3) diagrams of weights and measures & concurrent tables of liturgical festivals; 4) compilation of calculation & astronomy; 5) extracts of the “Astrology” of Arato; 6) astronomical fragments taken from various authors. The MS is in Carolingian script of the early 9th c. with the titles in uncial. The end of the work incorporates a fragment from a biblical MS of the 8th c. in pre-Carolingian script. Commentary: Manuel Sánchez Mariana. Limited edition with binding in embossed leather executed in a 15th-c. “Mudéjar” style. €2850 [84-86290-72-4]
[Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, vitr. 25-6]
Tractatus de ludo scacorum.
Burgos: Siloé, Arte y Bibliofilia, 2007. 11.5 x 17.5 cm, 100 pp.
1430–40. The Play of Chess (Tractatus de ludo Scacorum) by Jacobus de Cessolis - Bohemia. The manuscript contains the Latin text of Liber de moribus hominum et officiis nobilium sive super ludum scaccorum (Book of the customs of men and the duties of nobles or the Book of Chess), written by Jacobus de Cessolis at the beginning of the 14th century. A moral treatise that uses the game of chess as its frame; an allegory of society, the different pieces and their movements have a moral or military meaning. A very widely read work. Probably acquired in Italy, it came with the assets of the Chapter of Toledo Cathedral. Limited numbered edition of 898 copies. 978-84-935459-4-9
[Modena, Bibl. Estense, mem. lat. 209 (=alfa X.2.14)]
Sphaerae coelestis et planetarum descriptio (De sphaera). [deluxe edition].
Ars Illuminandi. Modena: Il Bulino, 1995. 17 x 24 cm, 34, 117 pp.
“De Sphaera”, written in Latin and Italian around 1460, is unquestionably the most beautiful astrological codex of the Italian Renaissance. It was illuminated for the Milanese Court (whose coat-of-arms is impressed on the binding) by an artist identified by numerous authorities as Cristoforo de Predis. It reached the Este dukes in Ferrara as part of the frequent cultural and political exchanges with the Sforza, rulers of Milan. This codex is glorious proof of a lay offshoot of the Renaissance and its counterpart, in the field of painting, can be seen in the scenes portrayed in the Schifanoia Palace frescoes. The first part of De Sphaera displays astronomical drawings and short captions, representing a synthesis of the coeval knowledge of terrestrial and heavenly phenomena. The second part consists of magnificent full-page illuminations which illustrate the influence of the stars on mankind: planets and zodiacal signs are represented, accompanied by pleasant scenes recalling courtly Renaissance taste. It is important to note that astrology was more than just a fancy at the European courts between the Middle Ages and Renaissance: it was a part of cultural life, a basic branch of knowledge and also a political matter. Commentary (in Italian) by Ernesto Milano, with contributions by L. Ventura & G. Malacarne. Limited edition of 999 copies, bound in full leather, with clamshell case. €1980 [88-86251-16-5]
[Modena, Bibl. Estense, lat. 697 (=alfa W.8.20)]
Ars Illuminandi. Modena: Il Bulino, 2000. 22 x 30 cm, 76, 126 pp.
The “Liber Physiognomiae”, consisting of a miscellany of medieval astrological treatises, was compiled in northern Italy around 1440. Written in round Gothic script and decorated with wonderful delicate watercolors, it starts with a general astrological discussion followed by a display of horoscopes for the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The codex turns out to be a real encyclopedia of astrological knowledge, with significant cross-disciplinary treatment, including charts for medical applications of astrological calculations, interpretations of the biblical dreams of prophet Daniel, and other medical astrology essays that can be ascribed to Pietro d'Abano, teaching at the University of Padua in the early 14th century. This connection, together with other historical and cultural clues, and the style of the illustrations recalling both Pisanello and Paduan astrological-type frescoes, suggest that this codex was created in the environs of Padua and Ferrara, perhaps on the behest of the Marquis Leonello d'Este. The facsimile, following the original, also reproduces the two "astrolabes"—rotating dials with moving pointers—allowing us to recreate the same calculations made at the time of the "Liber". Commentary by Daniele Bini, Paola Di Pietro Lombardi, & Leandro Ventura. Limited edition of 999 copies, bound in full leather, with clamshell case. €1100 [88-86251-39-4]
[Montecassino, Archivio dell’Abbazia, casin, 132]
Rabanus Maurus. De universo. Casin, 132, secolo XI. Archivio dell’Abbazia dei Montecassino.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 1996. 35 x 49 cm, 530, 216 pp
The archive of the Montecassino Abbey, the religious community founded by St. Benedict in the 6th century that was the hub of medieval monastic life, boasts the invaluable Rabanus Maurus Cassinese MS, which was produced at Montecassino during the time of Abbot Theobald (1022-35) and contains the great encyclopedic dictionary De Universo, or De rerum naturis, which Rabanus Maurus (780-865), a monk from Fulda who became Bishop of Mainz, wrote in the 9th century, at the zenith of the Carolingian epoch. This large-format codex consists of 530 pages in Beneventan script, splendidly illustrated with over 360 miniatures with lively figures and colors. The true importance of the codex goes beyond its artistic merit, since De Universo is one of the leading medieval encylopedias and the first one compiled after two centuries of silence, that is, after St. Isidore of Seville's Etymologies. And although Rabanus drew inspiration from this latter work, De Universo surpasses it for the grandiosity of its concepts and its noble aim of spreading knowledge. The work is like an immense library of knowledge that covers the entire Middle Ages, a combination and cross-section of various aspects: the historical and biblical tradition of the Church, books and culture, the animal and plant worlds, descriptions of human life, the nature of the soul and body, monsters and miracles, celestial phenomena and the calculation of time, weights and measures, minerals and metals, the organisation of states, music, medicine, agriculture, the science of war, manual labour, diet, everyday tools and objects. There is no facet of the Middle Ages that is not discussed in this encyclopedia, which mirrors the entire civilisation of the time. Furthermore, the miniatures, which illustrate every subject in marvellous scenes, faithfully follow the style and aim of the text, making the codex a grand fresco of the universal order. Commentary (It-Eng), edited by Guglielmo Cavallo. Limited edition of 500 copies. bound in quarter brown calfskin, with wooden boards and tie-strings. €8450
[Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, cgm 312]
Ein Losbuch Konrad Bollstatters aus Cgm 312 der Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek München. Kommentiert von Karin Schneider.
Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1973. 23 x 32 cm, 92, 47 pp (17 in color).
Winner of the “50 Best-Books-Award, 1973”. €280 [3-920153-21-9]
[New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, M. 1044]
Gaston Phoebus—The Master of Game.
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 2007. 28.6 x 38.5 cm, 256 pp + commentary.
Gaston III, Count of Foix and Béarn (called "Phoebus"—after the Sun god— because of his golden blond hair) composed his Livre de chasse between 1387-1389. Organized in 4 parts and written in a clear narrative voice, the work not only depicts the multi-faceted forms of hunting, but presents an impressive knowledge of the natural sciences—long before the age of modern empirical science—with detailed observations on the various animal species. Livre de chasse has become the most famous hunting book of the middle ages (altogether 46 copies of the work have survived). The Pierpont Morgan Library's presentation manuscript—created in the atelier of the "Master of Bedford" and commissioned by Philip the Bold (1342-1404)—is one of the most beautiful of them all, with its clear French "textura" hand (written in a Gasconian dialect), 87 precious miniatures and 126 large-format initials. Commentary by Yves Christe, William Voelke and François Avril. Limited edition of 980 copies bound in quarter vellum. sFr10800 (more info... )
[Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fr. 616]
Gaston Phoebus – Livre de la chasse (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Ms. fr. 616).
Codices Selecti, LIII. Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1976. 28 x 37 cm, 2 vols, 275, 76 pp.
Livre de la Chasse by Gaston Phoebus is one of the most precious gems ever produced in the medieval workshops of French book illuminators. Its 87 miniatures are mostly painted on ”stencil pattern” backgrounds and are unique in book painting, most of them richly embellished with gold. They present animals and lively hunting scenes with an unequalled sense of nature. The MS enjoyed great popularity also for its text, which is written in excellent French, and its treatise on hunting. The author, Gaston III Count of Foix, surnamed Phoebus, probably because of his bright blond hair, wrote this sophisticated piece of literature in the 80s of the 14th century. The miniatures are the work of a team of artists who were active in a Parisian workshop. The artfully designed and lavishly decorated backgrounds of the miniatures remind us of tapestries in a small format. This background painting required much patience and extreme precision. The illumination of the MS—executed c.1405-1410—was performed in two stages: first, the figures, animals, surrounding landscape and different objects, were painted. In this phase, the artists impress us not least with a realistic, detailed illustration and the vivacity of figures. Then the rich floral ornaments were added. The delicate thorned leaf ornaments have a very special charm. Winding around the miniatures and numerous initials in red and blue on gilded ground, they are dispersed throughout the MS for the enjoyment of the reader. In his Live de la Chasse, Gaston Phoebus describes the animals of the chase, their character and behavior. Besides surprising and curious details, the reader will find extended passages of familiar facts and even modern tricks of the trade. Gaston also dedicates much of his book to the dog, the hunter's faithful companion, indulging in reflections on the dog’s character, diverse breeds and appearance. The passionate hunter also deals with the pursuit of game by hounds. At a time when hunting played a major role in noble circles, the great echo made by the Book of the Hunt by Gaston Phoebus was only natural. It immediately became very popular and very soon its fame extended far beyond the borders of France. Commentary by M. Thomas and W. Schlag. Limited edition, bound in full leather. [3-201-00932-6]
[Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fr. 616]
Livre de la chasse, by Gaston Phoebus.
Barcelona: Moleiro, [in prep—2016] 28 x 38 cm, 2 vols, 275, 76 pp.
Livre de la Chasse by Gaston Phoebus is one of the most precious gems ever produced in the medieval workshops of French book illuminators. Its 87 miniatures are mostly painted on ”stencil pattern” backgrounds and are unique in book painting, most of them richly embellished with gold. They present animals and lively hunting scenes with an unequalled sense of nature. The MS enjoyed great popularity also for its text, which is written in excellent French, and its treatise on hunting. The author, Gaston III Count of Foix, surnamed Phoebus, probably because of his bright blond hair, wrote this sophisticated piece of literature in the 80s of the 14th century. The miniatures are the work of a team of artists who were active in a Parisian workshop. The artfully designed and lavishly decorated backgrounds of the miniatures remind us of tapestries in a small format. This background painting required much patience and extreme precision. The illumination of the MS—executed c.1405-1410—was performed in two stages: first, the figures, animals, surrounding landscape and different objects, were painted. In this phase, the artists impress us not least with a realistic, detailed illustration and the vivacity of figures. Then the rich floral ornaments were added. The delicate thorned leaf ornaments have a very special charm. Winding around the miniatures and numerous initials in red and blue on gilded ground, they are dispersed throughout the MS for the enjoyment of the reader. In his Live de la Chasse, Gaston Phoebus describes the animals of the chase, their character and behavior. Besides surprising and curious details, the reader will find extended passages of familiar facts and even modern tricks of the trade. Gaston also dedicates much of his book to the dog, the hunter's faithful companion, indulging in reflections on the dog’s character, diverse breeds and appearance. The passionate hunter also deals with the pursuit of game by hounds. At a time when hunting played a major role in noble circles, the great echo made by the Book of the Hunt by Gaston Phoebus was only natural. It immediately became very popular and very soon its fame extended far beyond the borders of France. Commentary by M. Thomas and W. Schlag. Limited edition, bound in full leather.
[Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, suppl. turc 242]
Libro de la Felicidad (Matali’ al-saadet).
Barcelona: M. Moleiro Editor, 2007. 21 x 31 cm, 286 pp + commentary
The 16th and early 17th centuries were the most fertile period of Turkish-Ottoman painting, with the reign of Murad III (1574-1595) being particular prolific in beautiful works of art, such as this Matali’ al-saadet—Book of Felicity—by Muhammad ibn Amir Hassan al-Su’udi. This work, which the sultan himself ordered to be translated from the original Arabic, features descriptions of the 12 signs of the zodiac accompanied by splendid miniatures, a series of paintings showing how human circumstances are influenced by the planets, astrological and astronomical tables, and a enigmatic treatise on fortune telling. All the paintings seem to be by the same workshop under the guidance of the famous master Ustad ‘Osman, undoubtedly the artist of the opening series of paintings dedicated to the signs of the zodiac. ‘Osman, active between c.1559 and 1596, directed the artists in the Seraglio workshop from 1570 onwards and created a style charaterized by accurate portraits and a magnificent treatment of illustration. Sultan Murad III held illuminated manuscripts in greater esteem than any other sultan; this treatise of felicity was especially commissioned by him for his daugther Fatima. Turkish binding in red leather with gold tooling.
[Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, 1870 (de Rossi 510)]
The Parma Psalter.
London: Facsimile Editions, 1995. 10 x 13.5 cm, 452 pp + commentary.
Among the nearly 1,650 Hebrew MSS housed in the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma that come down to us from the collection of the Christian Hebraist Giovanni Bernardo De Rossi (1742-1831 ), is MS 1870, a magnificent Psalter, written and decorated around 1280, possibly in Emilia in northern Italy. The work is one of the earliest and most important of all medieval Hebrew psalters. Its 452 pages contain the psalm texts in a clear, large vocalised Hebrew hand. Each chapter is illuminated and many are exquisitely illustrated with musical instruments or with scenes described in the text—extraordinary for a Hebrew manuscript of the period. Although its exact provenance is unknown it is clear that only a wealthy patron could have commissioned a MS so lavish and tasteful. Early copies of psalters with Abraham ibn Ezra's commentary on Psalms, as is the case here, are rare, and the Parma MS transmits interesting textual variants not found in the other versions. The illustrations in the MS—including numerous depictions of contemporary musical instruments—are particularly valuable for musicologists and art historians. In addition to the psalms one 8-page fascicle, added at a later date, contains the ceremonies for engagements, marriages, circumcisions and funerals, as well as for the end of a Sabbath followed by a Festival, times at which Psalms were especially recited. The rich decorations are characterized by the delicate use of harmonious colours; gold is used liberally but with sensitivity, the illuminator carefully balancing the Psalms and commentary with the images in the margin. Commentary, edited by Jeremy Schonfield, with contributions by Emmanuel Silver, Malachi Beit-Arié & Thérèse Metzger. Limited edition of 550 copies, bound in brown calfskin with gold stamping on the spine. $2700 [0-948223-111]
[Piacenza, Biblioteca Capitolare, 65]
Il libro del Maestro - Piacenza, Biblioteca Capitolare, C.65.
Piacenza: Tipleco, 1997. 34 x 51 cm, 2 vols, 904, 273 pp.
Fine color halftone of a rare 12th-c. manuscript from the Cathedral of Piacenza. One of the first ”encyclopedias” of Western Europe, with great historic, paleographic, liturgical and artistic significance, touching the history of music, theater, miniature production, medicine, agriculture and the esoteric sciences. The codex consists of a calendar, psalter, divine office, gradual (with troper-sequentiary), antiphonary, and obiturary. With commentary by Brian Møller Jensen and congress proceeding edited by Pierre Racine. Deluxe binding in full leather, with tooling and brass bosses. $3995 (more info... )
[St. Petersburg, Russian National Library, Fr. F. XIV. Nr.4]
Turnierbuch für René d’Anjou (Le pas de Saumur)
Codices Selecti, CIV. Graz: Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 1998. 2.5 x 3.7 cm, 108 pp + commentary.
[St. Petersburg, Russian National Library, ФP.Fv.III,4]
Libro de los Tesoros.
Barcelona: M. Moleiro Editor, 1999. 25 x 34 cm, 300 pp + commentary.
Encyclopedic work of Brunetto Latini (c.1230-1294), Florentine politician, poet, historian-philosopher, and friend of Dante. Written in French during the author’s exile in France (1260-1267), it consists of three books. The first begins with a biblical history, the history of Troy, Rome and the Middle Ages, followed by a compilation of information about astronomy and geography. It also addresses certain animal and bird species in depth. The second book concerns ethics: the thinking of modern and classical moralists, and studies the vices and virtues that characterize humanity. The third book, and most original part of this work, deals with matters related to politics and the art of government. The miniatures in this codex are extremely rich and varied. The artist’s boundless imagination fills the margins of the 18 folios with countless arabesques and drolleries which constitute one of the most highly developed, most interesting and earliest series of this genre in the history of the European miniature. There are also countless beasts, grotesque and peculiar figures, dwarves up to all sorts of tricks, acrobats doing balancing acts and juggling, musicians playing trumpets, flutes, violas, tambourines, organs and bagpipes. Birds, hares, fawns, lions and hounds hunting boars, and even the creation of Eve are depicted too. Bound in brown leather with mosaic motifs and leather case. [84-88526-52-0]
[Seattle, Seattle Art Museum, Codex “Leicester”, ex “Hammer” (deposit, Bill Gates Collection)]
The Codex Hammer of Leonardo da Vinci. Translated into English and Annotated by Carlo Pedretti.
Florence: Giunti Barbèra, 1987 34 x 48 cm, 72, 282 pp.
Codex “Hammer” (formerly “Leicester”), compiled about 1508-1510, is a synthesis of Leonardo’s views on nature as given visual shape in the backgrounds of this paintings, from “St. Anne” to the “Mona Lisa”. It deals with hydrostatics, hydroldynamics, and then with river regulation and hydraulic engineering, encompassing every aspect of cosmology, from geology to paleontology and from astronomy to meteorlogy. Their are also items of autobiographical interest, the record of his work on the “great horse of Milan”, the spectacular vision of a wind storm over Lake Maggiore, the vivid observations on the numerous localities of his wanderings in Tuscany and Lombardy. The 18 bibfolios of Leonardo’s dense compilation characterized by more than 350 marginal and textual illustrations are accurately reproduced in this facsimile, accompanied by a volume with the critical and diplomatic transcription edited by Carlo Pedretti. Limited edition of 998 copies supplied with leather covered clamshell case. (only available with the purchase of the complete set of the Edizione Nazionale dei Manoscritti e dei disegni di Leonardo da Vinci) [16148-W]
[Tübingen, Universitätsbibliothek, Md 2]
Iatromathematisches Kalenderbuch / Die Kunst der Astronomie und Geomantie. Farbmikrofiche-Edition der Handschrift Tübingen, Universitätsbibliothek, Md 2. Beschreibung der Handschrift von Gerd Brinkhus. Introduction to the Astrological-Divinatory Manuscript by David Juste. Verzeichnis der Federzeichungen, Rubriken und Initien der Abschnitte und Anmerkungenzu den Texten und Bildern von Helga Lengenfelder.
Codices Illuminati Medii Aevi, 63. Munich: Edition Helga Lengenfelder, 2005. 17 x 25 cm, 124 pp, 11 fiches (x36).
The “Tübingen Book”, a beautifully executed and richly illustrated MS copied by a single scribe probably in the region of Württemburg around the mid 15th-c., is a “Hausbuch” written in German. The general purpose of such a book is to provide advice and rules for managing daily like. The advice and rules are mainly drawn from astrology and geomancy, but the work also deals with other divinatory devices, such as weather prognostics and onomancy, and it includes sections on computus and astronomy. The book (or its model) is not an original composition; its author had at his disposal a number of sources which he re-arranged and compiled in his own way in a self-contained way. Thus the reader does not need to possess particular knowledge in any scientific area, nor to consult any astrologer or specialist—all astrological and divinatory devices are clearly explained and the “mathematical” apparatus is fully provided, so that the user only needs to be able to read, to perform elementary calculations, and to locate the correct data in tables and figures. The interest of the book lies above all in the quality and richness of its illustrations which represent a remarkable artistic achievement, long acknowledged by art historians. Linen. €290 [3-89219-063-1] (more info... )
[Valencia, Biblioteca Municipal]
Libre del Consolat de Mar.
Valencia: Vicent García Editores, 1977. 30.5 x 42.5 cm, 248 pp + commentary.
This book achieved such authority that its decrees became the common law of maritime commercial issues throughout the Mediterranean. For this reason many translations of it appeared, in Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, and English. The Valencia MS, copied in 1407, originates from a manuscript from the 13th century, prior to 1283. The first references come from an unknown text almost certainly written in Latin, and known by the name of "Consuetudo Maris". The first printed editions date from 1847. Commentary by Antoni Ferrando Francés. Limited edition of 3000 copies, bound in parchment.
[Vatican, Bibl. Apost., pal. lat. 1071]
El arte de la cetrería de Federico II (siglo XIII).
Colección Scriptorium, 25. Madrid: Testimonio, 2005. 25 x 36 cm, 220 pp + commentary.
The art of falconry, one of the oldest sports, consists in the use of birds of prey trained to hunt birds of a larger size like cranes, bustards, geese, and other species they wouldn't normally hunt. These hunting techniques arrived in Europe around the 5th century and were introduced by the Germanic invaders. The mosaics of the Halconero Villa in Argos, Greece, showed for the first time what this art is. After its introduction in Europe falconry rapidly spread there, becoming the favorite sport of kings and princes. During the Renaissance when firearms were perfected, falconry declined and almost disappeared. Falconry gave rise to a very abundant literature; the first work in Europe is a 10th c.tract by the "Anonymous de Vercelli". Frederick II von Hohenstaufen, a passionate hunter and especially interested in falconry and the natural sciences spent more than 30 years gathering information and experiences to write the master work of the Western art of falconry: De Arte Venandi cum avibus (The Art of Falconry). This erudite emperor considered all previous literature in this area poor and insufficient. Frederick's work is transmitted in Codex ms. pal. lat. 1071, preserved in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. This 2-column 111 folio parchment manuscript is the most famous and best known of all the works of Frederick II because of its incredibly beautiful illustrations. The marginalia has 170 human figures, more than 900 species of birds, 12 horses and 36 other animals plus all the paraphenalia needed for falconry. Commentary by José Manuel Fradejas Rueda. Boound in full leather. €2550 [84-95767-51-1] (more info... )
[Vatican. Bibl. Apotolica, Reg. lat. 1283a]
“Tratado de astrología y magia” de Alfonso X El Sabio.
Valencia: Ediciones Grial, n.d. 24 x 33 cm, 2 vols, 70, 318 pp.
Commentary by Carlos Alvar and Alfonso D’Agostino. Deluxe facsimile edition, bound in full leather. €2400
[Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, Urb. lat. 632]
Piero della Francesca. Libellus de quinque corporibus regularibus.
Edizione Nazionale degli Scritti di Piero della Francesca. Florence: Giunti Barbèra, 1995. 15 x 22 cm, 3 vols, 176, 260, 246 pp.
The “Libellus” is the first treatise on geometry of the Renaissance in which problems relating to the construction and calculation of polyhedrons–drawn in the “Libellus” in stereometric form–were addressed. The treatise, which has survived as a unique manuscript in the hand of an unknown copyist but accompanied by drawings, corrections and additions made by Piero himself, was dedicated to Guidubaldo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino. The work was known from the beginning of the 16th century, not as belonging to Piero, and not even in Latin, but as part of the “Divina Proportione” by Fra Luca Pacioli who published it in Italian as his own work. The plagiarism was denouncesd by Giorgio Vasari and has been the object of heated dispute ever since. Together with transcriptions and critical apparatus by Cecil Grayson, Marisa Dalai Emiliani and Carlo Maccagni. Limited edition of 998 copies with deluxe clamshell case in half leather. €1500 [16167-R]
[Venice, Bibl. Naz. Marciana, gr. z. 479 (=881), Oppiano. Cynegetica]
Tratado de caza y pesca. Oppiano. Cynegetica.
Valencia: Patrimonio Ediciones, 1999. 23.5 x 19 cm, 150 pp + commentary.
Didactic poem about the techniques of hunting with hounds, written in the 3rd century by Oppiano of Apamea in Syria, for the Roman emperor Caracalla. It contains the most extensive illustrative scheme of the late Macedonian age. The ms, written in Greek minuscule and decorated with miniatures in Byzantine style, comes from 11th c. Constantinople. Limited edition of 999 copies. €2400 (more info... )
[Venice, Bibl. Naz. Marciana, it. IX, 87 [=6226] )
Il libro delle sorti di Lorenzo Spirito Gualtieri.
Modena: Franco Cosimo Panini, 2007. 17,4 x 24.4 cm. 2 vols, 128, 283 pp.
For centuries man has wondered about his own destiny, asking, what would become of me? where may I turn to find an answer that would reliably help me to confront my fate? To answer these questions Lorenzo Spirito Gualtieri, born in Perugia (1426-1496) created and wrote a society game for the delight of a noble family from Perugia, probably the Braccio da Montone. "Il libro delle sorti", the fortune book, comprehends the questions and answers that most frequently haunted men at that time: happiness, marriage, the birth of son, the time of death, the outcome of a war or success in business. The MS, now at the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana di Venezia, has become very popular and already there have been dozens of editions published in Italy and elsewhere. "Il libro delle sorti", finished by the author in 1482, has 5 sections: route of fortune, monarchs, astrological signs, celestial spheres and prophets; each section was illustrated in the first decade of the 16th century by painters from Umbria who were in the circle of Pietro Perugino and the young Raffaello. A splendid paraphernalia of miniatures, with touches of gold, which represent a synthesis of figure painting in mid-Italy at that time. Limited edition of 980 copies with wooden clamshell box. €4800
[Zürich, Zentralbibliothek, C 54]
Vom Einfluß der Gestirne
Luzern: Faksimile-Verlag, 1983. 20 x 29 cm, 124, 198 pp.
Lavishly illustrated. Contains a number of the most important and informative treatises from two central areas of late medieval healing practice: medical astrology and hygienics. Emphasis on influence of the sun on its course through the zodiac and on the moon and planets on man’s health and character. It also provides valuable evidence on urban culture in the 15th century. Prepared in Nuremberg around mid 1400s for the Schuntas dynasty. Commentary edited by Gundolf Keil, with contributions by Friedrich Lenhardt, Christoph Weisser & Huldrych M. Koelbing. Limited edition of 980 copies.
INCUNABULA, PRINTS, MAPS & DOCUMENTS
[Age of Discovery, misc. documents]
Libro de las profecías. [Biblioteca Capitular y Colombina, Seville].
Colección Tabula Americae, 2. Madrid: Testimonio, 1985. 22 x 30 pp. 140, 120 pp.
MS of 70 folios (originally 84) written between 1502 and 1504, containing those passages from the Scriptures which Columbus felt were related to himself and his mission and revealing his considerable knowledge of the Bible. Transcription and commentary (in Spanish) by Francisco Álvarez Seisdedos. Limited edition of 980, bound in full leather. €1250 [84-86290-03-1]
[Berlin, Staatsbibl., Kupferstichkab. Cim. 1,2,5,7,9,10,12]
Apokalypse / Ars moriendi / Biblia pauperum / Antichrist / Fabel vom kranken Löwen / Kalendarium und Planetenbücher / Historia David. Die lateinisch-deutschen Blockbücher des Berlin-Breslauer Sammelbandes. Berlin, Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinett, Cim. 1,2,5,7,8,10,12. Farbmikrofiche-Edition. Einführung und Beschreibung vonNigel F. Palmer.
Monumenta Xylographica et Typographica, 2. Munich: Edition Helga Lengenfelder, 1992. 17 x 25 cm, 98 pp, 4 fiches.
8 blockbooks, 1469-70 in xylographic as well as chiro-xylographic copies (cut Latin texts accompanied by handwritten German translations on inserted leaves as in the Apokalypse [ Ed. V], with 48 colored plates, and the Biblia pauperum [Ed. X], with 40 colored plates). These synoptically Latin-German editions are of special interest for research on literary and linguistic history, even if the Biblia pauperum and the Apokalypse are well known from other blockbooks. There follows: 1) Ars moriendi (Ed. IIB), with 11 colored plates and synoptically arranged pictures and texts; 2) Der Antichrist und die 15 Zeichen vor dem Jüngsten Gericht (Ed. I), 1st xylographic edition with 32 colored plates; 3) Fabel vom kranken Löwen (= Cim. 9), xylographic pictures with handwritten German text and 9 colored plates. Cim. 10 contains a Latin Planet Book (unique fragment of 4 xylographic pages with text); a German Planetenbuch (7 pages of xylographic pictures and handwritten German texts on verso pages), the 1468 Kalendarium of Johannes de Gmunden (unique), and a Historia David (I Rg 1-III Rg 2), unique ed. with 19 xylographic plates. The linguistic characteristics of the handwritten parts seem to indicate an origin in Thuringia. The critical commentary establishes and describes the structure of the original Berlin-Breslau compendium in virtually all its details. Linen. €335 [3-89219-402-5] (more info... )
[D’Anvers, Girard Thibaut]
Académie de l’Espée, 1628. Présentation de Gérard Six. Introduction de Claude Carliez, président de l’Académie de France. [deluxe edition].
Paris: Kubik Editions, 2005. 30 x 38 cm, 416 pp (57 plates).
By the end of the 16th century, one of the deadliest, most elegant, and often misunderstood forms of rapier combat in Spain was being perfected: the Spanish Circle or La Destreza. Sometimes called the Magic Circle, because all fighting takes place within an imaginary circle on the ground, this style inspired fear in those who faced it and awe in those who saw it properly employed. Girard Thibaut's Academie de l'Espée, published in 1628, and considered one of the most treasured books on fencing—a veritable bibliographic monument—provides an informative text accompanied by 57 large-format engravings representing all the "passes" (steps or footwork) of the Spanish School. Experts agree that Girard borrowed heavily from the work of Jeronimo de Caranza (De La Filosofia de las Armas, 1583), recognized as the founder of the Spanish School, and his student Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez (Libro de las Grandezas de la Espada, 1600), who further developed many of Caranza’s teachings. Whether or not Girard himself was a fencing master is not clear, in any event he is credited with creating a lasting monument and tribute to, a "how-to” book on a complicated method of fighting that successfully endured for nearly 250 years after the rapier had been displaced throughout the rest of Europe. Girard beautifully captures the grandeur of the sport, the magnificence of the costumes and the intricate geometric designs which characterize the Spanish School. According to Girard, the circle's diameter is determined by the length of the swordsman standing straight with his heels together having his arm and index finger extended over his head. The imaginary circle moves with the swordsmen as they engage in combat, thus, La Destreza is fought in dynamic movement within the circle. Deluxe bibliophile edition, bound in leather, with marbled endpapers and slipcase. €575 [2-35083-001-2]
[D’Anvers, Girard Thibaut]
Académie de l’Espée, 1628. Présentation de Gérard Six. Introduction de Claude Carliez, président de l’Académie de France. [standard edition].
Paris: Kubik Editions, 2005. 30 x 38 cm, 416 pp (57 plates).
(same as above but standard edition, hardbound, with reproduction of a fencing scene on the cover) €295 [2-35083-000-4]
[Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, cpg 438]
Die Zehn Gebote / Beicht- und Sündenspiegel; Bibia pauperum – Totentanz; Symbolum apostolicum; Septimania poenalis – Planetenbuch; Fabel vom Kranken Löwen – Dekalog. Farbmikrofiche-Edition der Handschrift und der Blockbücher in dem Cod. Pal. Germ. 438 der Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. Beschreibung des Sammelbandes von Wilfried Werner.
Monumenta Xylographica et Typographica, 3. Munich: Edition Helga Lengenfelder, 1994. 17 x 25 cm, 58 pp, 6 fiches (x60).
Contains the versified interpretation of the 10 Commandments (“Dy czehen gebott…”) in MS, combined with a confessional speculum, and tract on the seven deadly sins, with 74 full-page tinted pen-drawings showing banderols with inscriptions and rubricated headings. These hitherto unpublished texts are important, especially for the history of canon law, because they contain many quotations from traditional authorities (mostly from Augustinus and from the Ius canonicum) regarding decisions of punishment, as well as didactic and moralizing commentaries on current superstitious and magic practice and folkloristic customs. There follows 7 blockbooks: 1) Biblia pauperum, with 34 colored plates; 2) Totentanz (Ed. I), with 26 colored plates with pictures showing the clerical ranking from pope down to priest and nun, the secular ranking from emperor to farmer, and mother and child; 3) Symbolum apostolicum (Ed. II), with 8 colored plates); 4) Septimania poenalis, a book of weekly prayer and penance in memory of Christ’s Passion, with 5 colored plates; 5) Planetenbuch (Ed. I), with 4 colored plates; 6) Fabel vom kranken Löwen, 9 xylographic colored plates, supplemented by handwritten texts on verso-pages; 7) Dekalogn (Ten Commandments), with 10 colored plates. Watermarks indicated a date between 1455 and 1458. Linen. €350 [3-89219-403-3] (more info... )
Planetentafeln von Sebastian Münster. [Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica] Pal. lat. 1368.
Zürich: Belser Verlag, 1989. 29 x 40 cm, 4 folded maps.
Commentary by Sibylle Schadel.