Johann Elias Ridinger, A Leopard

“ This is the Royal Tiger …”

“ Principal  Home  Hither  and  Farther  India ”

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). A Leopard. Recte Bengal or Indian tiger. “This is the royal tiger with stripes. He sits somewhat huddled (to the left) and the strong beard mars him a bit, otherwise recognizable” (Th.). Colored etching with engraving. Inscribed: PARDUS. / Ein Leopard. / Leopard. / Familia IV. Fünffzähige. / J. El. Ridinger sc. et excud. A.V. 12⅛ × 8¼ in (30.7 × 20.8 cm). – Thienemann & Schwarz 1074.


from the unnumbered Colored Animal Kingdom created since 1754 and concluded finally posthumously not before 1773 (“Complete copies are next to untraceable”, so Weigel, Art Cat., part XXVIII, Ridinger Appendix 63a as merely 120-sheet torso, 1857 ! , but also just individual plates quite rarely on the market only, at niemeyer’s presently nevertheless the one as the others). – Remaining uncolored contrary to the prospectus, a second edition from the plates shortened even under loss of animals and with modified titling and the Ridinger inscription removed, yet now numbered, was published by Engelbrecht/Herzberg in Augsburg 1824/25.

“ In  India  the  tiger  is  regarded  with  superstitious  dread

and considered a kind of punishing god. Also in Eastern Siberia similar ideas prevail, and on Sumatra the tiger is perceived merely as the frame of a deceased human and one dares not to kill him ” (Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4th ed., XV [1889], 707).

“ The term ‘royal tiger’ originally hails from the English hunter’s jargon and designated no particular subspecies, but particularly big specimen representing coveted hunting trophies. The designation is comparable with ‘twelve-pointer’, by which in the German a royal stag with mighty antlers of twelve points is meant and not a particular species. These royal tigers not only had an especially contrasty coat color, but also a very regular pattern of the black stripes which were not interrupted.

Ridinger, Bengal Tiger
Royal Tiger (detail)

These  individuals  therefore  represented  a  special

and  very  rare  type  in  the  formation  of  the  striped  pattern

and  are  not  found  commonly  among  the  royal  tigers .

Beside these animals all other royal tigers were just ‘common’ tigers. Until then the subspecies of tigers was simply called ‘Indian’ and ‘Bengal’ tiger resp. Later the term was transferred to all Indian tigers ” (Wikipedia).

And  such  an  absolute  specimen  is  present  Ridinger ,

although having been dependent on “how we … have seen this species of animals here … from time to time … for there is a frequent dissent with the writers and quite often they have mixed up the leopard (as Ridinger, too, see above), the panther and the tiger”, so Ridinger’s sons in the preamble – relevant passage included in copy – to the Colored Animal Kingdom.

On C & I Honig paper as that sturdy Dutch quality paper Ridinger used in line with his preamble to the Principal Colors of Horses

“on  account  of  the  fine  illumination”  for  the  colored  works

“as for this purpose it is the most decent and best”. – Margins on three sides 2-2.5, below 5.1 cm wide. – Faint tidemark on the back along with little discoloration stains faintly showing through in the lower text/paper field.

Offer no. 16,126 / EUR  870. / export price EUR  827. (c. US$ 956.) + shipping

Ridinger’s Colored Animal Kingdom in Original Coloring

available in

A Great Plenitude of Individual Plates


An Absolutely Exceptional Complete Provenance Copy

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