|Artist||after Johann Jakob Scheuchzer|
|Published||Leiden, Pieter Van der Aa, 1723|
|Dimensions||Image and Plate 210 x 335 mm, Sheet 250 x 380 mm|
An uncommon plate from Johann Jakob Scheuchzer's Ouresiphoítes helveticus, sive Itinera per Helvetiæ alpinas depicting an Alpine Dragon.
Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (August 2, 1672 – June 23, 1733) was a Swiss scholar born in Zürich. Scheuchzer published a variety of works, of which his writings relating to his scientific observations and his travels are often regarded as the most important. During his travels, he collected various materials for his scientific works. He had one of the largest collectoins of fossils in the world during his lieftime. He believed the Old Testament gave a factual account of the history of the earth and therefore makes references to the 1611 King James Bible in his masterpiece, the 'Physica Sacra'.
After travelling extensively throughout Switzerland, Scheuchzer wrote his Ouresiphoítes helveticus. In this work detailing his travels and observations through Switzerland in the period 1702-22, Scheuchzer set out dispel Swiss myths and superstitions. He did, however, devote a chapter to detailing all the species of dragons know to exist in the Alps. Scheuchzer felt compelled to do this after seeing a 'dragon stone' in Lucerene and felt that the existence of dragons could be logically established. He recorded eye witness accounts of dragons and included illustrations of them. Even though Scheuchzer expressed serious doubts about the existence of dragons within the text, attributing them to natural phenomena such as rock falls and the misidentification of animal bones, some scholars felt this work undermined his work as a naturalist. He is now, however, considered to be one of the founders of paleobiology.
Condition: Vertical folds as issued, small tear to fold edge, light creasing to sheet edges.