The first book on America printed in the Muslim world, Tarih-i Hind-i Garbi [Description of the India of the West], comes to auction tomorrow in the Fine Books & Manuscripts sale. This book was the fourth production of the first Muslim printing press, founded in Constantinople by Ibrahim Müteferrika, a Transylvanian-born convert to Islam, who began printing there in 1729. Tobias Abeloff, Swann's Early Printed Books specialist, shows inside this first edition copy—one of only 500 printed—of an anonymous late 16th-century Turkish text comprising introductory chapters on cosmography and geography, followed by an account of the discovery and exploration of the New World based on writings by Francisco López de Gomara, Pietro Martire d’Anghiera, Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés and Augustín de Zarate. Apart from a picture of women growing on the mythical Wak Wak tree and a view of Potosí, the illustrations are fanciful interpretations of flora and fauna described in the text.
Labels: Christine von der Linn, Constantinople, Early Printed Books, fine books, Muslim, Tobias Abeloff, video