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Flora Japonica Sistens Plantas Insularum Japonicarum
Mueller, Leipzig 1784 - (8 x 4 1/2 inches). lii, 418, [2]pp. 39 engraved folding plates. Contemporary vellum, morocco lettering piece First edition of the first major work dealing with the flora of Japan. Although Kaempfer had visited Japan at the end of the 17th century, by the end of the 18th century little more was known about the flora of the tightly closed society. Only the Dutch were permitted as traders, and even then were limited in terms of travel and access. In 1771, a favorite pupil of Linnaeus, Swedish-born Thunberg was commissioned as a surgeon on a Dutch East India Company expedition to Japan. Sponsored by several wealthy Dutch plant collectors, Thunberg first stopped in the Dutch colony on the Cape of Good Hope for several years in order to learn Dutch and be able to pass himself as a Dutchman to the Japanese. He arrived in Japan in 1775, spending a year there collecting specimens, many received from Japanese students in exchange for lessons in western medicine. The present work, written on his return to Sweden in 1779, was the first major work dealing with the flora of Japan, and indeed among the principal primary sources on Japan in the 18th century. Styled on the title as a continuation of Linnaeus' Plantarum, Thunberg compiled his Flora based on his own observations and specimens, as well as those of Kaempfer and several Japanese printed sources. Within the work, Thunberg identifies 21 new genera and hundreds of new species. Nissen BBI 1959; Stafleu & Cowan 14346; Pritzel 9257; Dunthorne 304; Johnston 554. [Attributes: First Edition]
      [Bookseller: Donald A. Heald Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2015-08-10           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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