Item #3143 Indicarum historiarum ex oculatis et fidelissimis testibus perceptarum libri tres, quibus inferu[n]tur rerum quarundam apud Indos non citra miraculum fieri solitarum breves, & succinctae expositiones memoratu dignissimae, quę hactenus scriptis proditae non reperiantur. Autore Joanne Macro Jurisperito. Ad Opt. Clarissmúmque Senatorem Regium D. Joannem Blondum. Divionensem. Cum Privelegio. Jean Macer.
One of the Earliest Printed Accounts of Japan and Asia

Indicarum historiarum ex oculatis et fidelissimis testibus perceptarum libri tres, quibus inferu[n]tur rerum quarundam apud Indos non citra miraculum fieri solitarum breves, & succinctae expositiones memoratu dignissimae, quę hactenus scriptis proditae non reperiantur. Autore Joanne Macro Jurisperito. Ad Opt. Clarissmúmque Senatorem Regium D. Joannem Blondum. Divionensem. Cum Privelegio.

Parisiis [Paris]: Apud Gulielmum Guilard, via Jacobaea, sub insigni divae Barbarae [Guillaume Guillard], 1555. First edition. Papered spine. ff. 41 [2] (misfoliated: 12 as r2, 13 as 14, 26 as 24, 28 as 18, 34 as 31, 36 as 33; lacks last leaf of dedicatory poems). Old collection stamp on D8r and F3v (Académie de Macon). Few contemporary marginal notes in brown ink by a neat hand. Light water stain throughout. Tiny wormholes, not affecting the text. Last leaf of one page of dedicatory poems not presented. Otherwise in very good condition.

An extremely scarce and very early printed account of Japan, India, and China.

A very early source of Japan, written in 1555, just a few years after the arrival of Francis Xavier there, in 1549. Indicarum historiarum consists of three books, of which the first deals with Japan, the second with Asia in general, and the third with India, Cathay, and the natural wonders of the East. Jean Macer’s (born c.1510; French historian and professor of canon law at Paris) account on Japan was based on Guillaume Postel’s Des merveilles (1552) though he refers to a first-hand account, a traveller who had spent thirty years in the East, as his main source. Macer uses a satirical tone while comparing the role of the sovereigns, the customs, the religion, and the law of the two cultures to prove the higher intelligence of the Japanese than of the European Christians. (Lach 1977)

The second and third books describe the religions, customs and nature of the rest of Asia based on ancient, and medieval texts on India, Mongolia, Tibet, Cathay, and the islands of Southeast Asia (like Ceylon, Java, Timor), but also uses sixteenth-century sources such as Grynaeus and Huttich’s Novus Orbis, and the writings of Maximilianus Transylvanus, and Postel. (Lach 1977)

The text appeared in French in the same year 1555 after this edition, under the title Les trois livres de l'histoire des Indes.

Scarce, USTC lists only 4 copies in Austria (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek), France (BnF), Ireland (Marsh's Library) and Italy (Biblioteca nazionale centrale di Roma), in addition another copy is held in Madrid (Universidad Complutense). USTC 151842; FB 78525; Sabin 43229 (for the French edition: “In addition to what relates to the East and West Indies, this volume contains one of the earliest printed and most curious accounts of Japan. Rich.”)

Literature: Lach D. F. (1977). Asia In the Making of Europe. Volume II A Century of Wonder. Book Two The Literary Arts. University of Chicago Press.

Price: €35,000.00

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