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HÜGEL, Carl Freiherrn von.

Kaschmir und das Reich der Siek.

Stuttgart: Hallberger'sche Verlagshandlung, 1840-8 Stock Code: 139491
£8,500.00
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The most important contemporary survey of Ranjit Sngh's empire

First and only edition of the most important contemporary survey of the geography, history, culture, language and natural history of northern India and Kashmir, never fully translated into any other language. Published over an extended period, complete sets of this undeniably important work are uncommon, particularly as here, preserved in the extremely fragile original bindings.

Carl von Hügel (1796-1870) travelled extensively in the 1830s, and between 1835 and 1836 passed through the regions of north-western India united under Ranjit Singh. Volumes 1 and 3 contain the narrative or journal part of Hügel's account; the second is a summary history of Kashmir compiled from Prof. H. H. Wilson's papers, as published in the Transactions of the Asiatic Society, edited with a variety of interesting materials, geographical and physical details on climate and so forth, and an account of the productions, resources and peoples on the region. Volume 4, part 1, contains a combined glossary/gazetteer "including miscellaneous matters relating to various political, civil, and military affairs of Government, the history of India &c.; from all which much useful information may be gleaned" (from Jervis's preface to the English edition).

The second part of the final volume, published some four years later, contains the botanical and zoological portion of the work, based on the remarkable collection of more than 30,000 specimens with which Hügel returned, providing the earliest detailed descriptions of the flora and fauna of the region, and richly illustrated with fine lithographs. "His celebrated work remains an enthralling read today, spiritedly written, packed with facts about contemporary life, ethnographic and geographic detail, and enriched with diverse personal experiences. Emphasis should also be placed on the botanical and zoological contributions made by Hügel's colleagues - Heckel on fish, Kollar and Redtenbacher on insects, and Wagner on mammals" (Aschhoff, the cataloguer's translation).

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Description

4 volumes octavo in 5. Original pale green paper over card wrappers.

Illustrations

Stipple-engraved portrait frontispiece, two engraved plans, 31 lithographic natural history plates, numerous copper- and wood-engraved illustrations to the text, some full-page, and a folding engraved map by Arrowsmith of "Panjab, Kashmir, Iskardu, & Lada

Condition

A little rubbed, the paper spines with some chipping head and tail, and vertical splitting, that of volume 3 the worst affected, but the internal bindings are holding, later Indian style monogram ink stamps - ?ETK - to the title pages, light browning throughout, a remarkably well preserved set, very good.

Bibliography

Aschoff, Tibet, Nepal und der Kulturraum des Himalaya, 924; Chopra, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his Times, p.37 for the English edition; Henze II, 648; Nissen, ZBI, 2042.

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