Early French edition of the Fables of Bidpai

[Bidpai - Panchatantra]. [Kalilah wa-Dimnah - French]. Les Fables de Pilpay philosophe indien; ou la Conduite des Rois.

Paris, Claude Barbin, 1698.

8vo. (20), 352 pp. Contemporary full calf with giltstamped edges, spine and spine-label. Marbled endpapers. All edges sprinkled red.


Very rare, early French edition of the Fables of Bidpai, here comprising the prologue and the first four chapters of the "Anvari Suhaili". This Persian fable first appeared in French in 1644 in a translation prepared by David Sahid d'Ispahan. The year 1698 saw a joint edition by the Paris publishers Barbin and Delaulne, copies published by the latter being slightly more common. Not a single copy bearing Barbin's name on the title-page is traceable in libraries internationally.

The ancient Sanskrit Panchatantra fables, a classic of the genre, are thought to have been assembled ca. 200 BC out of stories from an even older oral tradition. The stories became known in Europe through Hebrew translations of Arabic versions under the name Bidpai. Featuring animals as a mirror for human behaviour, the fables were intended to educate people, especially young rulers.

Handwritten ownership of E. Bouzerand to lower flyleaf, dated 1802. Extremities professionally repaired. Paper shows occasional light spotting. A good copy of this classic work.


Barbier II, 413. Brunet I, 937 (Delaulne issue). Graesse I, 422. Chauvin II, p. 33, no. 55B. This edition not in OCLC.

Stock Code: BN#58773 Tags: , ,