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Tractado de las drogas, y medicinas de las Indias Orientales, con sus plantas debuxadas al vivo por Cristobal de Acosta, medico y cirujano que las vio ocularmente. Tractado del elephante y de sus calidades.

Cristóbal de ACOSTA (Author)

Martín de Victoria (Printer)

Origin: Burgos, XVI c.
Biblioteca Histórico-Médica de la Universitat de València.

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Facsimile sheet:



ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Original Dating:
Date facsimile edition:
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Facsimile. Old Books. Collection of Incunabula and Old Books.

13,5 x 19,8 cm.
252+3 crd.
504+6 crd.
16th July 1996.
Parchment on wooden board.
Presentation dust jacket cloth lined with gold engraved leather spine containing facsimile.
Numbered by notary and signed by the printer-publisher.
Specially made laid paper.
Optional:Study in Spanish conducted by José María López Piñero (Former Head of the Instituto de Estudios Documentales e Históricos de la Ciencia de la Universitat de València, CSIC).    Included  in  
Bibliofilia Antigua IV.
49 full page xylographic pictures and a further 72 with beautiful capital letters.

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This book introduced the most important Asian plants to Europe, from the medical perspective and their use as spices, such as cinnamon, pepper, clove, nutmeg, tamarind, rhubarb, ginger, etc. For many centuries Europeans had been consuming these products, which arrived from the East by means of the "spice route" or the "silk route", but were unaware of the plants from which the spices originated. Cristóbal Acosta made many long journeys across eastern Asia, during which "he saw them with his own eyes", studied them and "sketched them in real life". On his return to Spain, his work presented the results of his labour, offering almost fifty drawings of surprising accuracy, which were the first printed images on this subject.

As an annex, the work contains a Tractado del elefante, which is also the first monographic study published on this animal, with two drawings which brought an end to the fanciful images which were in circulation at the time in Europe.

The facsimile is an impeccable copy of the first edition, kept in the Biblioteca Histórico-Médica de la Universitat de València. Acosta’s Tractado was one of the scientific books with the greatest number of reeditions in the Europe of that era, and was translated into several languages.


IBIC Rating:

AC History of art / art & design styles
ACN History of art & design styles: c 1400 to c 1600
ACND Renaissance art
AFF Drawing & drawings
AFH Prints & printmaking
AFJ Other graphic art forms
AFT Decorative arts
AGN Animals & nature in art (still life, landscapes & seascapes, etc)
DNF Literary essays
DSBD Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800
HBJD European history
HBJF Asian history
HBLH Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700
HBTP Historical geography
MB Medicine: general issues
MBN Public health & preventive medicine
MBX History of medicine
MMG Pharmacology
PDX History of science
PST Botany & plant sciences
PSV Zoology & animal sciences
VFD Popular medicine & health
WCS Antiques & collectables: books, manuscripts, ephemera & printed matter

1D Europe
1DSE Spain
1DSEH Castilla y León, Autonomous Community
1F Asia
1FK Indian sub-continent
1FKA India
2ADS Spanish
3JB c 1500 to c 1600