Knieha lekarska kteraz slowe herbarz: aneb zelinarz: welmi vziteczna: z mnohych knieh latinskych. y zskutecznych praczij wybrana: poczina se sstiastnie. Jan Cerny, Nikolaus Claudianus, Mikulás Klaudyan.
Knieha lekarska kteraz slowe herbarz: aneb zelinarz: welmi vziteczna: z mnohych knieh latinskych. y zskutecznych praczij wybrana: poczina se sstiastnie.
Knieha lekarska kteraz slowe herbarz: aneb zelinarz: welmi vziteczna: z mnohych knieh latinskych. y zskutecznych praczij wybrana: poczina se sstiastnie.
Knieha lekarska kteraz slowe herbarz: aneb zelinarz: welmi vziteczna: z mnohych knieh latinskych. y zskutecznych praczij wybrana: poczina se sstiastnie.
Knieha lekarska kteraz slowe herbarz: aneb zelinarz: welmi vziteczna: z mnohych knieh latinskych. y zskutecznych praczij wybrana: poczina se sstiastnie.
The First Printed Czech Herbal

Knieha lekarska kteraz slowe herbarz: aneb zelinarz: welmi vziteczna: z mnohych knieh latinskych. y zskutecznych praczij wybrana: poczina se sstiastnie.

[Nuremberg]: [Mikuláš Klaudyán, Hieronymus Höltzel], [1517]. First edition. In modern full vellum, calligraphic title in black ink on the spine and front panel, housed in custom-made hard-paper case. Title page with woodcut illustration on recto and armorial woodcut on verso. Woodcut illustrations throughout, with contemporary hand-coloring, a few remained uncolored. Woodcut initials throughout. Possessor’s inscriptions on the title page, some old notes and underlines throughout, few illustrations contoured in pencil by a later hand. 6° A–Z5; ff. CXXIX, [8]. Restored completely, which implies small lacks, reinforced margins, some loss of text, numerous wet spots. 3 leaves of the appended unpaginated text are presented here in manuscript copies, and the copy lacks the last leaf with the three lines of the colophon.

The earliest scientific publication printed in Czech and the first original illustrated herbal in the post-incunabula period.

Jan Černý’s (Johannes Niger; 1456–1530) Knieha lekarska is not just the first printed Czech herbal, but the firsts scientific book to be printed in the language, moreover it is the first original illustrated herbal in the post-incunabula period (Funk, 2015). The book was edited by Mikuláš Klaudyán, and printed in Nürnberg in 1517 by Hieronymus Höltzel. Klaudyán was a Bohemian physician and scholar who at the time, worked as a proofreader at Höltzel’s workshop. (The two are also known for printing the first map of Bohemia in 1518.)

Knieha lekarska was composed according to the pattern of most early herbals, constitutes descriptions of useful plants and other substances. It contains 444 chapters (“Kapitula”) randomly grouped by the initials of the Czech vernacular name of the substances, and illustrated with nearly 400 different woodcuts, in our copy almost all of them are colored. Černý or Klaudyán, the editor provided one or more Czech, besides the Latin, the German, and occasionally the Greek (in Latin transcription) names of the materials. The book describes 370 plants, 10 vegetable products (mainly resins), 3 fungi, 22 animals or animal substances, plus 40 other substances including minerals, chemicals, and other materials. Some of the descriptions derive from earlier works, however, 160 are new contributions by Černý (Funk, 2015). The work is appended with a 13-pages unpaginated text on distillation (entitled: Wowodach palenych rozliczych sepsanij) based on Brunschwig’s Liber de arte distillandi (Strassburg, 1500).

Knieha lekarska is missing in nearly all histories of illustrated herbals and, if mentioned, it is never systematically evaluated (Funk, 2015).

Extremely scarce: WorldCat locates only 4 copies in institutional holdings (Sweden: KB; USA: Morgan Library, NLM, NYBG [imperfect]); no record on Rarebookhub beside this copy.

USTC 567057; Index Aureliensis, 135.249; Graesse, IV, 34; Nissen, C. Botanische Buchillustration (2. Aufl.), 342

Literature: Funk, H.: Jan Černý's Knieha lekarska (1517): Closing a gap in the history of printed illustrated herbals. In Archives of Natural History. 42(1), April 2015. pp. 153–164.

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Price: €12,000.00