Otto Finsch’s illustrated catalogue of ethnographical exhibits from Micronesia and Melanesia, 1888-93

Otto FINSCH: ETHNOLOGISCHE ERFAHRUNGEN UND BELEGSTÜCKE AUS DER SÜDSEE [ETHNOLOGICAL RECORDS AND EXHIBITS FROM THE SOUTH SEAS]. III parts in 6 volumes (all published). With 25 (whereof 4 folded) plates, whereof 6 chromolitographic. Vienna: 1888-93.

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Otto FINSCH: ETHNOLOGISCHE ERFAHRUNGEN UND BELEGSTÜCKE AUS DER SÜDSEE [ETHNOLOGICAL RECORDS AND EXHIBITS FROM THE SOUTH SEAS]. Descriptive catalogue of a collection of the Imperial Natural History Museum in Vienna. Preface by Franz Heger. III parts in 6 volumes (all published). I: Bismarck Archipelago. II. (1-2): New Guinea. III. (1-3): Micronesia. (= Annalen des k.k. Naturhistorischen Museums, Separatabdruck aus Bd. III, VI.1, VIII.1-4 [Annals of the Imperial Natural History Museum, separate editions from vol. III, VI.1, VIII.1-4]. With 25 (whereof 4 folded) plates, whereof 6 chromolitographic after drawings by Friedrich G. Rheinfelder, as well as numerous text illustrations after drawings by the author, showing a total of around 500 objects. Vienna: Hölder (Angerer & Göschl [chromolithographs]; Holzhausen [text]) 1888 (I), 1891 (II) and 1893 (III).

4mo. 675 pages, 25 plates. Part I: pages nos. 83 [1] - 160 [78], plates nos. 1 (also numbered III) - 5 (VII); II.1: 293 [79] - 364 [150], 6 (XIV) – 17 (XXV); II.2: 13 [151] - 130 [268]; III.1: 1 [269] – 106 [374], 18 [I] – 25 [VIII]; III.2: 119 [375] - 275 [531]; III.3: 295 [533] - 437 [675]. Original publisher's pictorial wrappers with black title printing on front and back cover incorporating a wood-engraving of the Vienna Museum of Natural History's main building.

First separate edition of this exhaustingly illustrated, descriptive catalogue of ethnographical exhibits housed by the Austrian Imperial Museum of Natural History, compiled by German explorer, ethnographer and zoologist Otto Finsch.

Between 1879 and 1887 Finsch would undertake a total of 6 expeditions to Melanesia and Micronesia, protected by the German navy, mainly sponsored by the Berlin trade association »Neu-Guinea-Compagnie« and supported by several scientific societies. During his journeys he wrote down his experiences with indigenous people, collected hundreds of ethnographical objects and, together with his most talented wife Elisabeth, also made a number of drawings. After returning home he catalogued his numerous exhibits and handed them over to several museums in Europe and the U.S., the Vienna institution among them. As a result he also curated and edited 30 exhibitions and catalogues like the preceded, wherefore once again his wife Elisabeth executed the main part of the drawings for the text illustrations. The catalogue was simultaneously published in the museum's year books, vol. III (1888), VI (1891) and VIII (1893) and as a separate publication.

Volume III.1 with one tear on front cover, margins in parts with minor shelf-wearing and minimally torn, otherwise very fine.

Rarely offered, even single volumes are hard to find, almost untraceable as complete and in original state like here (uncut with entire wrappers). According to APO only 5 full sets were sold at auction in the last 30 years, non of them in original wrappers.

Werner Gottwald: Otto Friedrich Hermann Finsch. In: Schlesier des 15. bis 20. Jahrhunderts (= Schlesische Lebensbilder. Bd. 6). Sigmaringen: Thorbecke 1990 zit. WBIS/DBA.; Australian Dictionary of Bibliography IV,170-71; Thieme/Becker, vol. 28 (1934), p. 346 (Rheinfelder).

Additional information

Weight 4 kg