A seldom-seen, beautifully illustrated work on the poisonous snakes of the Malayan Archipelago

Ouwens, P. A.

De voornaamste giftslangen van Nederlandsch Oost-Indië. Met een verhandeling over de verschijnselen en over de behandeling van giftigen slangenbeet door Dr. G. W. Kiewiet de Jonge.

Published 1916
Item ID 73284

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Leiden, E. J. Brill, 1916. Large 4to (31.6 x 24.9 cm). Half title, title-page, pp. 3-22, [i]; 19 lithographed plates of which 17 in full colour. Contemporary green cloth with original green printed front wrapper mounted on the front board.

A beautifully illustrated work on the poisonous snakes of present-day Indonesia. Complete copies, especially in this good state, are rare. There are just three auction records – two of which describe poor and incomplete copies, i.e. merely working copies. The fine plates are by R. Soudirman and printed by the famous Dutch lithography firm P. W. M. Trap. The author, Pieter Antonie Ouwens (1849-1922) was a Dutch herpetologist and director of the Java Zoological Museum and Botanical Gardens. He is perhaps best-known for describing the Komodo dragon ( Varanus komodoensis), the largest lizard on Earth by far, which had escaped the attention of zoologists until 1912. Little is known about Soedirman; the Database of Scientific Illustrators gives his name as Ramden Soedirman, but with an erroneous year of birth. This work deals with 25 species, including six sea snakes. Uncut. A short fold in the last plate outer margin, otherwise a clean, near mint copy. Adler 3, p. 200; Nissen, ZBI, 3030.

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