The customs of the Arab world illustrated

Mandelslo, Johann Albrecht von. Morgenländische Reyse-Beschreibung.

Hamburg & Schleswig, Johann Holwein for Christian Guth, 1658.

Folio. (32), 248, (36) pp. With separate engraved title-page, engr. portrait, double-page engraved map and 21 large text engravings by Christian Rothgießer; woodcut initials and head- and tailpieces.

(Bound after) II: Saadi (ed. Adam Olearius). Persianischer Rosenthal. In welchem viel lustige Historien, scharffsinnige Reden, und nützliche Regeln. Ibid., Johann Holwein for Johann Naumann, 1654. (52), 196, (30) pp, final blank f. With separate engraved title-page, engr. portrait and 33 large text engravings by Rothgießer. Contemporary vellum.


First edition of this famous travel report, containing "many interesting details of the eternally plentiful oriental world" (cf. Henze). While the engraved maps depict Southeast Asia from Persia to Japan and Java, the remaining engravings mainly illustrate the customs of the Arab world, of Persia and India. "Mandelslo was a German traveller and adventurer (1616-44). Originally a page at the court of the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, in 1635 Mandelslo was attached to the duke's embassy to Moscow and Persia, a mission intended to open trade negotiations. The Duke's librarian and mathematician, Adam Olearius, accompanied the embassy as its secretary. The ambassadors themselves remained in Persia, but in 1638 Mandelslo, feeling the need for wider travel, obtained permission to travel on to India. Sailing from Hormuz, he landed at Surat in April 1638 then travelled through Gujarat to Agra, Lahore, Goa, Bijapur and Malabar. He sailed for England from Surat in January 1639, calling at Ceylon and Madagascar, but was to die of smallpox five years later. Before his death, Mandelslo had entrusted his rough notes to Olearius, who subsequently published them bound with his numerous official accounts of the embassy" (Howgego I, 677). This first edition is significantly rarer than its later reworkings and translations; ABPC lists a single complete copy at auctions of the last decades (Sotheby's, Oct 11, 2005, lot 177, £3,400).

Bound with this is the first German edition of Saadi's "Gulistan", also edited by Olearius.

Old armorial bookplate (name erased) and bookplate of Eivind Hassler (1939-2009) on front pastedown.

I: VD 17, 23:233226D. Lipperheide Ld 1. Adelung II, pp. 306-308. Alt-Japan-Katalog 943. Bircher A 6927f. Cordier, Japonica, cols. 362-368. Cox I, 271f. Dünnhaupt, pp. 293-294, 30.1. V. Gelder, Het Oost-Indisch avontuur, pp. 77, 99, 263. Howgego I M38. Commissariat, "Mandelslo's Travels in Western India", in: The Geographical Journal, 78 (1931), pp. 375ff.

II: VD 17, 23:282436H. Dünnhaupt S. 2991, 24.1. Bircher A 251. Goedeke III, 65, 7.