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Todten-Tantz wie derselbe in der löblichen und weitberühmten Statt Basel, als ein Spiegel menschlicher Beschaffenheit, gantz künstlich gemahlet und zu sehen ist....
Frankfurt, 1649. First Merian edition (although a sketchier and incomplete proto-edition of exceeding rarity had appeared earlier). Dance of Death cycles typically show a very quick and lively skeleton leading someone away in a dance step. The partner's social station is instantly recognizable, and much of the fun lies in death's indifference to rank: the death figure is just as cheerful leading off the queen or the pope as the merchant or the beggar. While the conventions may have originated in Medieval pageants, their popularity grew and flourished in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Merian's cycle is based on the famous frescoes in the Basel Predigerkirche (destroyed as an "eyesore" by town authorities in 1805). Merian's Adam and Eve plate, and his famously surreal death's-head self-portrait that can be viewed right-side-up or up-side-down, make their first appearance here. The book was frequently reprinted and copied for the succeeding 150 years, becoming the most instantly recognizable of all Baroque editions of the Dance of Death. A very good copy. . Quarto (20 cm); [3], 4-206, [2] pages. Title within engraved border of macabre landscapes, and 44 full-page copperplate engravings. Contemporary (?) binding of plain brown sheep over pasteboard. Rebacked. Extremities rubbed and bumped, exposing boards at corners (one corner repaired); few small abrasions on leather. Browning to perimeter of endpapers from acid migration of the leather turn-ins. Interior: Title and following three leaves fingersoiled; scattered soiling and foxing; old mend to head fore-corner of A2; L4 with 4-cm vertical tear in gutter. Two small wormholes. Nevertheless, text and plates are remarkably clean and unblemished. References: Massmann, "Literatur Der Totentänze," 76; Sears, "A collection of works illustrative of the Dance of Death," 31; Minns, "The Dance of Death" (auction catalogue), 24.
      [Bookseller: Rodger Friedman Rare Book Studio]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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