Monday, April 17, 2006

The Remote World of the 17th Century

The Removal of the Mount Meeperwat, 1672

The Idol of Vistnum, 1672

Camdoge or ye Cow of Plenty, 1672

The Idol of Vistnum in his third Transformation,
as decribd by ye Benjans, 1672

The Idol Quenavady, Ixora's Son, 1672

Animals and Insects of Brazil, 1643

Babirusa, 1659

Mr. John Nieuhoff's Remarkable Voyages & Travells into
e best Provinces of ye West and East Indies, 1703

Animals of Brazil, 1643

Sea Animals of India and Indonesia, 1676

Animals of India and Indonesia, 1676

Insects and Reptiles of Brazil, 1643

Animals of India and Indonesia, 1676

The images here come from Washington State University's World Civilization image database (102 images in thumbnail format).

The work, published in 1704 for Awnsham and John Churchill has the catchy title:
"A collection of voyages and travels, some now first printed from original manuscripts. Others translated out of foreign languages, and now first published in English. To which are added some few that have formerly appear'd in English, but do now for their excellency and scarceness deserve to be reprinted. In four volumes. With a general preface, giving an account of the progress of navigation, from its first beginning ... the whole illustrated with a great number of useful maps, and cuts, all engraven on copper"

Click on each image above to get the full impact of the weirdness imaginative rendering of the 17th century view of the world. Some of these are among the strangest illustrations I've seen.

Travel in the East at Melbourne's Monash University has an interesting bibliographic review (and images) of travel literature over the last few hundred years from their rare book collection.


Zaineb said...

In the "Camdoge or ye Cow of Plenty, 1672" image its interesting to see the guy on the right. He looks like he's spinning his hands so fast that they look multiple, harcking to cartoons and comic illustrations.

Improvisors’ pool said...

Holy Mackerel, these are amazing. Especially the Hindu gods. It is almost a self-standing genre: one culture's (mis)representations of other cultures' artifacts and imagery. There are lots of examples from Europe (in Athanasius Kircher, etc.) but also Asian, American and African views of Europeans are fascinating.

Unknown said...

I have two of these prints at home, my wife found them in a local flea market when she was a teenager, she thought they were wonderfully strange then and bought them for 60p each. We are very fond of the Sluggart in particular, such a forlorn soul, I guess he may be a sloth of some kind. and the way all the creatures seem to be depicted by an artist who has not seen them in reality but has imagined them from a description given to them. I don't know if they were cut from a book at some point, they were already as two separate pages when she bought them and she got them framed. the printing of the engravings is quite wonky which adds to the charm, there are two plates printed to each page, one seems to be the animals of India and below it Indonesia. the other page is the serpents insects and Leguwaen, with the Sluggart, Pismireeater, Indian raven and Lasartus among many below. If anyone knows more about these prints we would love to know more. They are much loved and treasured

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