HONIGBERGER, Johann Martin.
Thirty-Five Years in the East.
Adventures, Discoveries, Experiments, and Historical Sketches, relating to the Punjab and Cashmere; in Connection with Medicine, Botany, Pharmacy, &c.
First published in German in Vienna under the title, Früchte aus dem Morgenlande oder Reise-Erlebnisse, nebst naturhistorisch-medizinischen Erfahrungen in 1851, translated into English the following year, this uncommon Calcutta reprint is apparently the first such. Honigberger (1795-1869), a doctor trained in both conventional and, his preferred, homeopathic, medicine, born in Krostadt in Romania, left Transylvania in 1815 and travelled though the Middle East, Egypt, Arabia, Persia and on to India. He arrived in Lahore in 1829 and, having treated Ranjit Singh’s favourite horse for an ulcerated leg, gained the confidence of the Maharaja, becoming court physician, as well as being put in charge of the gunstock manufactory and gunpowder mills, a facsimile plate of the document of his appointment to these varied positions is included. Honigberger gives “his observations about Ranjit Singh, Maharaja Kharak Signh, Naunihal Singh, Sher Singh, Dhian Singh, Chand Kaur, Dalip Singh, Hira Singh, political changes, bloodshed, role of Akalis, faaticism of Jallah, Baba Var Singh, battle of Sobraon, rile of Teja Singh, Lehna Singh and Sikh battles. He also told many interesting day-to-day happenings of the Sikh State” (Chopra). Honigberger also provides much on medical practices in West, South and Central Asia. The plates include a hakim, or Mohammedan doctor, an attar or druggist, a still, a “B’hangee, or Hemp-Plant Drinker”, and a “Faqueer Postee, or Poppy-Head Drinker”, together with portraits of the members of the durbar or ruler’s household, and an interesting map of the railway route from Bokhara to Orenburg. An unconventional, but painstaking observer, his account is a highly appealing curiosity amongst the more established account of the Punjabi court at the time.
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Octavo (211 125 mm). Modern “native” black half sheep, green cloth boards, title gilt direct to the spine, gilt rolls to the spine and corner edges, original front wrapper (stained, old repairs) bound in. Portrait frontispiece and 15 other plates, 6 of them folding, and a folding map. Externally bright, contents browned and with a series of worm-tracks through the block, but not in any way fragile, about very good.