Hippopotamus. La Virtu dell’Hippopotamo, over Caval Marino. – Perugia, Jesi, Rimini, Milano & Mantova, (c.1610) 1 Bl.
Size of sheet: 20,5 x 15,7 cm.
Only known copy of this extremely rare broadside. It’s one of the first European depictions of an hippopotamus, and is obviously based on the title-woodcut in „Vera effigie dell’Hippopotamo over caval marino animale anfibio che nasce in Egitto et in Portugallo, con le misure di chiascheduna parte della sua vita et il modo come si piglia. Cavato dal breve compendio di cirurgia del dottor Federigo Zerenghi da Narni, medico e cirugico; con le virtù di denti che ha nella medecima parte. Cavato da diversi e parte esperimentate in diverse persone. Dispensato da me Gio. Battista Tirabosco a beneficio universale, con licenza di molti collegi d’Italia.“ (Perugia, 1608), which on the other hand was based on the woodcut in Federico Zerenghi’s „Vera Descrittione Dell Hippopottamo, Animale Anfibio, que nasce in Egitto…“ (Napoli, 1603).
Zerenghi was a physician from Narnia. In his book he claimed that he had caught and killed two hippos in Egypt and then brought their skins to Italy. Presumably a stuffed copy of one of these hippos served as the template for the illustration in Zerenghi’s own book from 1603. A remarkably similar stuffed specimen is still in the La Specola Museum in Florence today. Perhaps one of Zerenghi’s two hippos? — At long last in 1850, the first hippopotamus to be seen alive in Europe became an international sensation. It was named Obaysch and had reached the London Zoo as a gift from the Egyptian Viceroy Abbas Pasha to the British Consul General.
Condition: a bit creased, but otherwise in very good condition.
Literature: Felicitas Noeske, „Die Häute des Hippopotamus,“ in bibliotheca.gym, 06/06/2015, https://histgymbib.hypotheses.org/1095.
Not in Worldcat or any other bibliography we were able to take a look at.