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First European treatise on Chinese and Japanese lacquer, 1720.

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€2.200,00 EUR
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€2.200,00 EUR


The introduction of Asian laquer art to the West


Filippo Bonanni (1638-1725).

Trattato sopra la vernice detta communemente Cinese […].

Rome, Giogio Placho, [1720].


8°. 3-16; 143 pp. (lacks first and last blank page). later decorated stiff paper covers with title-label on front and spine.

With 4 engraved full-page plates.

Rare first edition of the first European treatise on Chinese and Japanese lacquer and varnishing, introducing the application and ingredients necessary for its preparation. The plates illustrate the tools needed in the various steps of making the recipe and how they are used. In a combination of information from Asia and his own findings, the author provides many recipes for paint, transparent and coloured varnishes, and colours. Author Filippo Bonanni (1638-1725) was a student of Athanasius Kircher at the Jesuit College at Rome and became a professor of mathematics there. The Jesuits were an important getaway of Asian culture into the West, as is evidenced by the lacquer manual that we offer here. The book quickly became popular, prompting editions to be published throughout Europe: a French translation in 1723 (Paris: Laurent d'Houry), Dutch in 1742 (Leiden, J. Willeke) and German in 1746. Later editions continued to appear throughout the century and beyond.

Condition: covers partially detached. Exlibris on back of front cover: Averardo Lalli (Italian painter 1880-1941), his inscription dated Milan 1930. Lacks first and last blank page. Old name in ink and small brown spot on title. Some parts browned. Otherwise in good condition.

Literature: Sommervogel, II, 382. French edition see: Cicognara, n°87; Conlon 23:274; Löwendahl: China illustrata nova. Supplement, 1607; Massing 13.

Bonanni, Filippo. Techniques of Chinese Lacquer: The Classic Eighteenth-Century Treatise on Asian Varnish. Translated by Flavia Perugini. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009.

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