Selected plates

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Author
DELAFIELD, John, Jr.
Title
An Inquiry into the Origin of the Antiquities of America...
Published
New York: Published for Subscribers, by J.C. Colt, 1839.
Description
SCARCE. 142pp. plus ten lithographed plates (five coloured) and eighteen-foot folding lithographic frontispiece. Quarto. Original gilt pictorial cloth, all edges gilt, expertly re-backed with original back-strip laid down. Scattered foxing to prelims and moderate age-toning throughout. Gilt block title and design to boards. Very good. In a folding cloth Solander box / case, with an attractive black leather label with title in gilt. A most remarkable work of comparative mythology and anthropology.

Coloured plates in order:

1. [not captioned] A possible representation of Cain and Abel, of Semite tradition? The large figure represents the celebrated "serpent woman". The Mexicans considered her the mother of the human race.
2. [not captioned] This hieroglyphic plate possibly represents
a malignant spirit descending on the earth to root up grass and the flowers. This plate corresponds with "Tlaltonitiuh" the age of justice. The end of this age was heralded by a dreadful famine. The first cycle.
3. [not captioned] This plate possibly represents the God of Fire (Xiuhteuctli) descending on the earth. As birds were able to escape the conflagration, tradition states that all men were transformed into birds, except one man and woman, who saved themselves in the recess of a cavern. The second cycle.
4. [not captioned] This plate possibly exhibits the Mexican hieroglyphic of wind. The age is called "the age of wind". At the end of this age, men perished by hurricanes, some were transformed into apes. The deity descending on the earth is supposed to be the god of air, his sickle indicates the destructive power of hurricanes in uprooting the trees. The third cycle.
5. [not captioned] This plate probably shows the goddess of water, and Noah and his wife, who saved themselves in the trunk of a tree covered with leaves floating amidst the waters. During this age men were transformed into fish, excepting one man and woman. The fourth cycle.
References
HOWES D226. SABIN 19333. PILLING, PROOF-SHEETS 1012 (note). FIELD CATALOGUE 509
Hand coloured plates
5
Binding/Size
M=4to
Category
Culture/Lifestyle, History, The Americas
Value
$0-5,000
Stock ID
1027