“AN IMPORTANT WORK IN THE GENESIS OF HISTORICAL ETHNOLOGY”: CRÉQUINIÈRE’S CONFORMITÉ DES COUTUMES DES INDIENS ORIENTAUX, 1704, WITH 12 SPLENDID FULL-PAGE ENGRAVINGS, HANDSOMELY BOUND
(INDIA) CRÉQUINIÈRE, M. De La. Conformité des Coutumes des Indiens Orientaux, Avec celles des Juifs & des autres Peoples de l’Antiquité. Brusselles: George de Backer, 1704. 16mo (4 by 6-1/4 inches), contemporary half crushed red morocco, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers. $2200.
Second edition, issued one year after the virtually unobtainable first edition, of Créquinière’s important early work proposing cultural similarities between early East Indian and Jewish cultures, illustrated with 12 spendid engraved plates after Jacobus Harrewyn depicting dramatic battle scenes and religious rituals, handsomely bound in crushed red morocco by Selz-Niedree.
In Conformité des Coutumes des Indiens Orientaux (Uniformity of the Customs of Oriental Indians and those of Jews and other Ancient Peoples), French religious scholar Le Sieur de la Créquinière sought to trace “similarities between modern Indians and ancient Jews…. attempting to fortify the historicity of the Old Testament by enlisting Indians as surrogates for ancient Jews (Sutcliffe, Judaism and Enlightenment, 74). De la Créquiniere, who spent a number of years in India, proposes early Hebrew and East Indian civilizations share major religious origins. To key modern scholars, Conformité “is an important work in the genesis of historical ethnology…. As the title implies, the focus is mostly on the comparison between the East Indians and the Jews, but a number of references to the ancient Romans are also made…. As Joel Reed rightly argues…. It serves both to highlight ‘the presence of transcultural religious concepts and practices,’ but also to diminish ‘the relative importance of any particular religion” (Lurbe, 18th-Century Ireland Society 14:133). The same publisher’s 1703 first edition is very rarely found. Precedes the 1705 first edition in English. With engraved ornamental initials, head- and tailpieces. Containing 12 engraved plates after Jacobus Harrewyn, depicting religious and cultural practices, including images of funeral rites, snake charmers and a battle scene with elephants and camels. Leaf of publisher’s ad at rear. Text in French. Querard IV, 372. Cioranescu 35431.
Text and plates fresh with only light scattered foxing, mild edge-wear to boards. A lovely near-fine copy.