52 lithographic paper figures for a caravan to Mecca

[Trentsensky, Joseph]. Carawane nach Mecca.

Vienna, Matthias Trentsensky (printed by E. Sieger), [ca. 1855].

Oblong folio (ca 370 x 240 mm). With 11 (of 24) numbered leaves containing 52 hand-coloured lithographic pen-drawings of people, animals, equipment & gear and goods, from a caravan travelling to Mecca, each drawing including a base for cutting out, mounting on card stock or wood, and arranging them upright in three-dimensional scenes. Lacking 12-24 (of 24). Loose leaves.


The first eleven leaves of a very rare lithographic print series issued in parts. Most copies were probably cut up by children and destroyed in play. The human figures to be cut out include Turkish, Arabic, African and Middle Eastern men and women in Islamic costume, including both masters and servants, some of the men with a variety of firearms, spears, daggers, and various gear and goods. There are also camels, horses and donkeys, often with their gear for riding or for carrying loads. The series must have provided many children and adults with their first notion of Muslim society and culture and is rich in authentic details. "Kleine Welt des Bilderbogens" dates the series to ca. 1855, just after Sir Richard Burton's famous visit to Mecca disguised as an Afghan in 1853 (he was one of the few Europeans who had ever visited Mecca and lived to tell of it). The complete series of 24 leaves comprised four groups of leaves, each leaf with the title, relevant subtitle and imprint (without date) at the foot: 1-6: Die Ueberbringung des heiligen Teppich; 7-13: Die Reise durch die Wüste (not present here: 14-16: Das Lager in der Wüste; 17-24: Die Gefahren der Wüste). The artist is not named. The drawings are printed on unwatermarked wove paper. The paper is fairly thin and the drawn bases have no folding tabs, as the publisher intended the cut-outs to be pasted onto card stock with a folding tab at the foot of the base or wood so that they could stand without support.

Occasional pencil marks. Some edge flaws and duststains, waterstains and browning. Includes two uncoloured sheets (numbered 10 and 23) on somewhat later, stronger paper.

Kleine Welt des Bilderbogens: der Wiener Verlag Trentsensky (1977), 111. Katharina Siefert, ed., Paläste, Panzer, Pop-up-Bücher: Papierwelten in 3D (2009), with a chapter, "Die Carawane nach Mecca", pp. 31-38. Not in KVK; WorldCat.