PRINTED 1489: ONE OF THE EARLIEST ENCYCLOPEDIC TEXTS
Alexander, of Hales; Giovanni Antonio Beretta; Francesco Girardenghi . Prima pars Alex. de ales. [Summa universae theologiae.] Papie. : Per Joa[n]nemantonium de birretis ac Fra[n]ciscum gyrardenghum., M.cccc.lxxxix. Die. xi. Iulij. Colophon, pt. 1: Per Joa[n]nemantonium de birretis ac Fra[n]ciscum gyrardenghum. Papie. M.cccc.lxxxix.Die. xi. Iulij , 1489),. 22 x 16 cm., small 4to., 223 lvs.,; mimor worming affecting last few leaves., COMPLETE PART I of the SUMMA. Islamic Vegetal tools and Medieval Zoomorphic tooled Blindstamped German Pigskin binding, with Italian-Islamic influence. Light bumping to top of spine, slight peeling to lower right hinge of spine, but overall a VERY GOOD UNRESTORED AND RARE CONTEMPORARY BINDING. Provenance: Private collection for over 50 years (not offered at auction); Price 950 DM c. mid 1950s.
This collected work by Alexander Hales (d. 1245), represents one of the first encyclopedic texts, in part concerned with divine and natural law. The work follows in the tradition of the famous Etymologies of Isidore of Seville (seventh century), and was not doubt written in response the rise of Universities which ignited the passion for such encyclopedic works. Examples of other such encylopedic ‘Summae,’ include various Commentaries of Peter Lombard, the Master of Sentences, as well as works by Ricardus Rufus, St. Thomas, Albertus, Pliny etc.
The Pigskin binding is a Very Rare and Important Example of Islamic-style vegetal patterns on a blind-tooled binding, which drew motifs from “existing traditions of Byzantine culture in the eastern Mediterranean and Sasanian Iran.” Such Islamic style blindstamping preceded the importation of other Gold-tooling techniques from the Islamic world.
One can see parallel stylistic examples in wood of the “beveled style—a symmetrical abstract floral motif” at this link