Asia, of Naukeurige beschryving van het rijk des
Grooten Mogols : en een groot gedeelte van Indien
Dapper, Olfert. Amsterdam: J. van Meurs, 1672.
Restored through the generous contribution of Katherine Singley Dannenberg, Class of 1973.
This book is one of a series of beautifully illustrated travel accounts issued by the Dutch publisher Jacob van Meurs in the 1660s and 1670s. The writer, Olfert Dapper, based his description of Persia and India on interviews with Dutch sea captains and merchants recently returned from the East. If his account was not always accurate, it was certainly compelling, and so this, like the rest of the books in the Meurs series, were widely translated and republished throughout Europe. Adding to the books' popularity was their extensive use of detailed engravings depicting Asian cities and social customs, some of the finest examples of book illustration from the period.
The book was originally in a plain 18th-century leather binding that was so badly damaged that it could not be repaired: the spine was missing, much of the leather on the boards had been lost and the rest suffered from red rot, and the original boards were badly deformed. The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts cleaned the edges of the book and the heavily soiled outer leaves; reinforced the original sewing of the book; repaired the outer leaves; and recovered the book in a new calf leather binding, in a style comparable to the original.