Notice sur le voyage de M. Lelorrain, en Égypte; et Observations sur le zodiac circulaire de Denderah. Sébastien-Louis SAULNIER.
Notice sur le voyage de M. Lelorrain, en Égypte; et Observations sur le zodiac circulaire de Denderah
French Antiquarian’s Tale of the Voyage to Capture the Dendera Zodiac
[ARCHAEOLOGY].
Paris, chez l’auteur, 1822.

Notice sur le voyage de M. Lelorrain, en Égypte; et Observations sur le zodiac circulaire de Denderah.

Tall 8vo. [21 x 13.5 cm], (3) ff., including half title, title and avis, [5]-92. Bound in original printed wrappers with engraved Egyptian-style vignette. Spine split. Some minor foxing, otherwise very good.

First edition of an historically important volume describing the Dendera Affair, the Egyptian archaeological expedition of 1820 led by Saulnier, an antiquarian and treasure-hunter, and J.-B. Lelorrain, the master mason he hired to remove the bas-relief zodiac from Egypt’s Temple of Dendera and smuggle it to Paris. Until it was overshadowed by Heinrich Schliemann’s excavation and ransacking of ancient Troy in the 1870s, the Dendera Affair was Europe’s most glamorous and notorious archaeological event.

Since the Notice is an attempt to persuade the government of Louis XVIII to buy the zodiac, Saulnier concerned himself primarily with geopolitical intrigue: Lelorrain’s voyage to Egypt, the numerous obstacles he had to overcome in order to return to France with his quarry, etc. The Notice also contains a detailed description of the zodiac itself, which was laid out in an unusual circular form: Saulnier identifies its figures and attempts an explanation of their history, mythological significance and complex symbolism. The zodiac was bought by Louis XVIII, and is today on display in the Louvre.

A printed notice opposite the title indicates that an engraving of the zodiac is available for 5 francs, thus copies are found both with and without the plate.

* Buchwald, Engineering and Science, v. LXVI no. 4, pp. 21-31. 

 

Price: $1,250.00

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