Conrad Gesner; SU MONSTER Tiger - Mammals - handcol woodcut from folio First Edition 1563
Gesner, Konrad, 1516-1565
Hand colored woodcut on FINE FOLIO LEAF.
Leaf: ca 22 x 34 cm. On fine laid paper, much superior to later editions.
From the extremely rare and very sought after first edition of the 'Thierbuch'. The colored woodcut illustrations were the first real attempts to represent animals in their natural environment.
Gesner employed artists and drew upon existing woodcuts in circulation to illustrate the encyclopedic work and it is thought that Gesner himself produced drawings of specimens from his own collections. Gessner acknowledges one of his main illustrators was Lucas Schan (active 1526–1558).
Later hand coloured.
Succarath - The first Patagonian monster. French cosmographer André Thevet wrote about a mysterious beast, the Sú or Succarath.
In Conrad Fore’s (1563) German version of Konrad Gesner’s Historiae Animalum, Sú is mentioned as native to Patagonia. Ambroise Paré in his Livre Des Animaux Et De l'Excellence De l’Homme (1585) stressed its tender love towards its pups. Juan Eusebio Nieremberg’s Historia Naturae, Maxime Peregrinae (1634) also mentioned its love for its young. Polish naturalist Jonannes Jonstonus in 1678 described it thus:
The Su, i. e. water, becauʃe living by rivers moʃtwhat, is found among the Patagons. Some call it Succarath. It hath a fierce Lions looke, yet is bearded from the eare like a man, ʃhort-haired, the belly ʃtrutting out, lank flanked, the tail large and long, as a ʃquirrells. The giantlike men there, the climate being not very hote, wear the skins, for which, when hunted they laytheir young on their back,and cover them with their tail, and ʃo run away, but are taken, whelps, and all in pits covered with boughs. Being faʃt in, for rage, or generouʃneʃʃe they kill their whelps, and cry hideouʃly to fright the hunters; they ʃhoot him dead with arrows, and ʃlea him. Some fain that they in fondneʃʃe carry their young to medows, and there they dreʃʃe each other with garlands of faire ʃweet flowers.
Old repair to upper margin covering clean tear into Tiger woodcut; some staining commensurate with age. Extremely rare.