First English edition of The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Several Nations of the Known World, compiled by Jean Frédéric Bernard and illustrated by Bernard Picart, being the first three volumes printed for Nicholas Prevost of London.
Folio, [three volumes], xx, 412pp, [13pp index]; viii, 345pp, [17pp index]; x, 474pp, . Bound in full period leather, raised bands, title in gilt over red morocco labels. Hinges reinforced and solid in all three volumes. A few points of marginalia, occasional toning, solid text blocks in all three volumes. Title page printed in black and red, occasional small tears, faint foxing to Volume II. Descriptive index calls for a total of 108 copper-engraved plates by Bernard Picart, with 108 present, but some misnumbered and the occasional plate bound into Volume I out of sequence (total of three plates misnumbered). Old tape repairs to hinges in Volume II and III, half-titles loose in both volumes. (Sabin 4934) (Field 1212) A scarce example of the first English translation.
No other work before then had ever attempted, in word and image, such a grand sweep of human religions. Religious Ceremonies of the World marked a major turning point in European attitudes toward religious beliefs and hence the sacred. (Hunt, Jacob & Mijnhardt, The Book that Changed Europe, p. 1). This landmark work on religious tolerance includes detailed descriptions of Dutch Judaica and indigenous cultures of the Americas. There are illustrations and descriptions of religious rituals from around the known world, including those related to marriage, funerals, burials, and sacrifices.
Full title: The Religious Ceremonies and Customs of the Several Nations of the Known World. Represented in above an Hundred Copper-Plates, Designed by the Famous Picart. Together with Historical Explanations, and Several Curious Dissertations. Written Originally in French; and now Published in English, with very Considerable Amendments and Additions.