Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > History > 92. Marco Polo

92.  Marco Polo (1254-1324).  Buch des edeln Ritters und Landtfahrers Marco Polo. Nuremberg: Friedrich Creussner, 1477. RBML, Engel Collection

Fourteen copies of this incunable survive, although not all with the woodcut frontispiece depicting Marco Polo as a Renaissance gentleman, posing before a cloth of honor. The German of the text was produced by an anonymous translator who worked from a Tuscan copy: whenever he encountered a word he didn't recognize, he left it in that Italian dialect. As with many incunables, the printed text stands independently of the surviving manuscripts (two, in this case); presumably its exemplar was jettisoned once the printer, Creussner had finished using it for setting the type.

Gift of Solton and Julia Engel, 1955

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