Important account of the Atacama Desert with folding map and 27 plates
Rudolph Amandus Philippi. Reise durch die Wueste Atacama auf Befehl der chilenischen Regierung im Sommer 1853-54 unternommen und beschrieben.
Halle Eduard Anton, 1860. 33,5 x 26,5 cm. 2 parts in 1 volume. IX, , 192, 62 pp. With folding map and 27 tinted/coloured lithographed plates (2 folding).
Original publisher's boards. Foxed throughout, more severely on the tinted plates. The boards slightly damaged, corners bumped, the spine with a dent.
First edition of an account of an important scientific expedition to the Atacama Desert on the Pacific coast of South America, prompted by the Chilean government.
German-born author Philippi (1808-1904) was professor of botany and zoology and director of the Museo Nacional in Santiago. His matter-of-fact account — "es enthält fast nichts als nüchterne Thatsachen" — details the geography, natural resources, climate, as well as the flora and fauna of the Atacama Desert, which was still largely unknown in the 1850’s.
Philippi describes several new species of animals, including Helocephalus nigriceps, a lizard currently known as Liolaemus nigriceps. The second part is devoted to the flora of the desert and was also published separately. The plates, finally, include tinted views, plates of fossils, plants and seven hand-coloured lithographs of mammals, birds, lizards and mollusks.
Sabin 62452; Stafleu & Cowan, Taxonomic literature, 7850; for the author: NDB 20 (2001), pp 391-392 (Online-Version).