"[Lot of 2] Die Neundte Figur/ von dem Thier Zebra [and] [Other Strange Creatures of the Island Congo]", Bry, Theodore de
Subject: Congo, Animals
Period: 1597-98 (circa)
Publication: Petits Voyages, Part I
Color: Black & White
7 x 5.1 inches
17.8 x 13 cm
This copper engraving is from a remarkable series of publications, illustrating voyages of discovery and travels of exploration to various parts of the world. The project was begun by Theodore de Bry of Frankfurt, in 1590 and was to continue for another 54 years. They became known collectively as the Grands Voyages (to America and the West Indies) and the Petits Voyages (to the Orient and the East Indies). De Bry died after the first six parts of the Grands Voyages were completed. The project was completed initially by his widow and two sons, Johann Theodore de Bry and Johann Israel de Bry, then by his son-in-law, Matthaus Merian in 1644.
This lot of fascinating engravings was published in Part I of de Bry's Petits Voyages, chronicling Odoardo Lopez' voyage to the Congo in 1578. Lopez, a Portuguese trader, remitted his knowledge of the Congo to Fillipo Pigafetta. His account was one of the most important early descriptions of the region. On sheets of text measuring approximately 8.0 x 12.3"
A. Die Neundte Figur/ von dem Thier Zebra, circa 1597 (7.0 x 5.1"). This striking engraving of a zebra is likely the first ever printed engraving of the animal. On a sheet of German text. Condition: Lightly toned with scattered foxing and soiling that are mostly confined to the area outside the engraved image. (B+)
B. [Other Strange Creatures of the Island Congo], circa 1598 (6.8 x 5.4"). This unusual engraving shows a variety of different creatures from the region, including an impala, apes, and elephants. A wolf sprints away with pilfered palm oil, while a snake with a ball-shaped rattle slithers away in the foreground. The most curious of the creatures is the two-legged dragon-like beast at right. On a sheet of Latin text. Condition: A sharp impression with marginal toning and soiling. (A)
See description above.