Augsburg & Dillingen, Johann Caspar Bencard, 1695. First and only Latin edition. Bound in a beautiful contemporary pig skin over wooden boards. .With a faint marginal water stain and a couple small rust spots in the paper, but otherwise in fine condition. The binding shows a few scratches, cuts and stains, small cracks at the head and foot of the hinges. Caillet 9948 ("unique in its genre"); Landwehr, German emblem books 530; Praz 490 note; R. Raybould, Emblemata 29. / SOLD. Item #734
This book has 42 engraved emblems examining and considering aspects of the human body and body parts. It describes and depicts the human body in its details and in its entirety in every aspect conceivable.
¶The book also discusses magic, in the strict sense of the word, revealing many marvellous secrets, such as the occult properties of saliva, urine, sperm, etc.
¶"The erudition demonstrated by the author is really quite extraordinary" (Raybould) including metoposcopy (the interpretation of facial wrinkles for divination!). . Book One studies individual organs: heart, etc. Book Two the overall dignity of the whole and aspects of human life. An appendix adds short accounts of several subjects, including "hieroglyphia" and "androgyni", monsters....
¶There are also short works by other authors: Lactantius Firmianus's "De opificio Dei", Coelius Rhodiginus on humanity, and a long "Ode" to humanity: "Considerationes patheticae de creatione, & dignitate hominis" based on Trismegistus, Plato, Coelius and other ancient sources. A fascinating emblem book for both text and imagery (some of it now also humorous), and an impressive piece of book production.