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Saggio di caratteri ebraici ad uso della studiosa gioventù (student’s
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About the object

21 leaves (8 ¾ x 12 ¼ in.; 222 x 315 mm). Printed in two parts, part I (theory): [1], 2-7 [1]= 8 leaves; part II (calligraphic plates: [1], 1-12= 13 leaves; bound together. Author’s autograph, f. 7v. part I. Lightly stained and spotted. Early brightly colored front paper wrapper, with original publisher’s notice pasted on. Later three quarter parchment over patterned paper; black leather lettering piece, title gilt on spine.  \nAN EXTREMELY RARE COMPLETE COPY OF THE EARLIEST PRINTED HEBREW CALLIGRAPHIC MANUAL The present volume was produced in two sections, one "theoretical" and one "practical." The beautifully engraved “practical” portion, comprising twelve calligraphic plates, exquisitely engraved by F. Pirani and printed on heavy paper stock in order to allow for a better impression, was created and distributed first. These exquisite engraved plates present a selection of different Hebrew scripts including a formal square script, and rabbinic and semi-cursive scripts, all set within elaborately decorative frames. Also included are a variety of charts explicating the numerical values of Hebrew letters, the names of months and seasons, and appropriate use of vowels. The “theoretical” section, comprising step-by-step instructions for completing the exercises to be found on the engraved plates, was composed by Giuseppe Vigevano. These pages were printed on regular paper stock and delivered a short while later.\nVigevano took great pains to assure his readers that in producing this volume, he was not ignorant of the writings of the illustrious Jewish sages who “dealt extensively with great erudition and elegance concerning the writing of the living language,” including Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah, Joseph Caro’s Shulhan Arukh, Jacob Emden’s Mor u-Ketziah, Abraham de Balmes’ Mikneh Avraham, Mordecai Yaffe’s Levushim, and Jacob Landau’s Agur. Not surprisingly, this remarkable and beautiful work was effusively endorsed by the Mantua rabbinate, whose approbation is found on the verso of the first title page. Vigevano himself personally signed each copy to assure its authenticity.\nPasted upon the brightly colored front wrapper is the following printed notice (in Italian) from the publishers, which has serendipitously been preserved with the present copy: So as not to contravene the declaration of the association, published in August of 1823, we are distributing the “calligraphic plates,” however, without the “theory section,” which the associates may expect to receive at the latest, within a fortnight. The printed notice also gives the price of the plates and the cost for binding and is addressed to “Signor Jacob V[ita] Dalla Volta.” It may reasonably be presumed that Jacob was kinsman to the renowned Mantuan collector of Hebrew manuscripts and local publisher (perhaps even of this work), Samuel Vita Dalla Volta (1772-1853).
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*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.


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