KLOBIUS, Justus Fidus. Ambrae Historiam...
ad Omnipotentis Dei gloriam, et Hominum Sanitatem..
Wittenberg: Sumptibus Haered D. Tobiae Mevii & Elerdi Schumacheri, 1666.
First edition. 4to. 76pp. Contemporary vellum, title in old manuscript hand to spine (some light staining). Woodcut device on title, headpieces and initials, folding engraved map of Europe, Asia, and Africa but also including northern part of ‘Terra Australis Incognita’ and ‘Iapan Olim Chryse’, three engraved plates, including one folding, a folding map and one plate slightly cropped, light browning. A first edition in contemporary binding of this scarce treatise on amber and ambergris, including its medicinal use, and its supposed origin, which discussion spanning eighteen differing opinions (collected from Madagascan bird dung, being one, delightfully illustrated example) is simply beautiful in its glorious deadpan investigations into exactly where amber, and indeed the completely unrelated substance of amber, might possibly come from. The discussions and deliberations apparently continued for some time, and occupied the minds of many an early scientist, my personal favourite being that it grows in Poland rather like coral. Klobius himself expresses some doubt with the whale hypothesis and tends towards the congealed dung of flocking birds, carried by the sea. A lovely depiction of the manner in which the natural world at so many points in its history was a vast landscape of seemingly unknowable mysteries and wonders.
"A book on amber, published by Justus Fidus Klobius of Wittenberg in 1666, examined eighteen opinions as to its origin and preferred the view that it was the dung of a bird native to Madagascar (illustrated in the book), the Maldives and East Indies, or possibly the excrement of a certain kind of whale" Thorndike.
Scarce, and beautiful.