Icones Plantarum Japonicarum, quas in insulis Japonicis annis 1775 et 1776 collegit et descripsit...

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Uppsala, J.F. Erdman, 1794-1805. Folio (430 x 275mm). Only 10 of 50 engraved plates, loose.

The 10 plates are from the first edition of Thunberg's rare sequel and counterpart to his 'Flora Japonica' (1784). This work contains some of the first Western illustrations of Japanese species, and is a landmark work, along with the 'Flora', for the Linnaean botany of Japan. Thunberg visited Japan disguised as a Dutchman. He was confined to the Dutch trading post built on a tiny artificial island, and was reduced to examining the forage plants brought from the mainland to feed the domestic animals. He was able to make only limited excursions to the mainland, but nonetheless managed to assemble a remarkable accurate picture of the Japanese flora. The 'Icones' illustrates 'inter alia' several Japanese species of 'Acer', including the highly variable 'Acer palmarum', here illustrated for the first time. The following plates are depicted: Arum Serratum; Salix japonica; Scilla japonica; Sterculla tomentofa; Ilex japonica; Celastrus alatus; Prenanthes debilis; Arnica japonica; Rubus palmatus; Quercus glabra. The last plate with small marginal paper damage. The plates are uncut.

Nissen BBI, 1960; Stafleu & Cowan 14364.