China 2022

Johann Elias Ridinger, Royal Tiger (detail)
Year of the Tiger

Carte de la Tartarie Chinoise (cartouche)

And here it has to come from

Regional map composed by Rigobert Bonne (Raucourt, Ardennes, 1727-1795) with title-cartouche by J. Arrivet,

embellished i. a. with tea-plant and tea set

and miles indicator. Map engraving in outline color for Lattré in Paris. 1771. 12¼ × 16¾ in (31 × 42.5 cm).

Carte de la Tartarie Chinoise

Central & northern China with Beijing (PIKIN) in the lower center & the cpl. Great Wall of China. – Besides Corea, Sakhalin, Sea of Japan with coastal strip as well as Mongolia and vast Russian border region of the Altai Mountains with Lake Baikal nicely in the center as the 2000-years home of the tiger horses, the Horses of Heaven, see below. – Typographical watermark.

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Some consider it a Fantasy View of Beijing

Merian, Hangzhou

Marco Polo’s Legendary “Quinzay”

Hangzhou (Hang-chou / Hangchow) – Xvntien alias Qvinzay. Bird’s eye general view with numerous junks and boats around the city, based on the Venetian Marco Polo’s (1254-1324) account of his second mercantile expedition (1271-1295) undertaken first only as companion to his father and uncle along the Silk Road to Asia and their discoveries up to the incomparably wonderful and legendary capital of the Southern Song with her 12000 bridges and paved roads southwest of Shanghai. With title ribbon. Engraving by Matthäus Merian (Basel 1593 – Schwalbach 1650). Inscribed. 7¼ × 10⅛ in (18.3 × 25.7 cm).

Wüthrich III, p. 340 (erroneously as “Beijing”). – Especially fine , early impression from the 1st illustrated edition of 1638 of Gottfried’s Archontologia.

“ … Marco Polo reports of the arrival in his cosmopolitan favorite city, today’s Hangzhou. He rhapsodies of splendid palaces and public heat baths, and the harbor in which ships from all Asia called and unloaded spices, pearls, and precious stones. Later for the first time Japan is mentioned under the name of Cipangu … His voyage to China by land and back at sea mentioned by him in the account Rustichello had written down for him, and the discoveries described by him contributed decisively to the later discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries, and by this also to the world as we know it today. For this Marco Polo is still praised in the present-day world. ”

So German Wikipedia March 21, 2022 including overview on the literature on the credibility of his accounts, repeatedly though ultimately unjustly doubted ever since. With regard to their colorful richness of events he is said to have retorted to contemporaries to have told them merely half of it. Six screen adaptations between 1938 and 2014.

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Pu-Quà. A Traveller. Voyageur. On foot. Colored stipple by John Dadley (1767-1817). Inscribed: Pu-Quà, Cantòn, Delin. / Dadley, London, Sculpt. 10⅛ × 8⅝ in (25.7 × 22 cm).

According to Lipperheide Le 21 after-engraving about 1810 after Dadley’s print of 1799 (Lipperheide Le 17). – With slightly foxing explanation sheet in German-French parallel text.

Pu-Quà, Traveller

« Son habillement indique qu’il est en deuil. Il porte un bâton, une espece d’épine qui croît dans quelques parties de la Chine, et que l’on emploie fréquemment comme un bâton à marcher. »

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With the Great Wall of China

Tartaria sive Magnichami Imperiorum. With each figurative title and miles indicator cartouche, the former with mounted camel, led by the halter by a sword-bearer and pushed by a driver. Engraving by Matthäus Merian (Basel 1593 – Schwalbach 1650). 10⅝ × 13⅞ in (27 × 35.3 cm).

Tartaria sive Magnichami Imperiorum: Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China (map detail)

East Russia with the Caspian Sea as western boundary and in the east still extending beyond the nicely drawn Great Wall of China with 5 lines Latin caption “Murus quadringentarum leucarum inter montium crepidines a rege chine contra Tartarorum ab hac parte eruptiones extructus” (“A wall four hundred miles long was erected between the mountain crests by the king of China against the incursions of the Tartars in this region”) adopted from Abraham Ortelius’s 1584 map of China. – Thin spot on the left in the image backed. – Early impression from the 1st illustrated edition of Gottfried’s Archontologia of 1638.

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The Resting Young Royal or Bengal Tiger

Joseph Georg Wintter, Young Royal Tiger

Wintter, Joseph Georg (1751 Munich 1789). Etching. Inscribed: JG Wintter inv: fecit / 1783 / 3. 5⅝ × 8⅛ in (14.4 × 20.5 cm). – Niemeyer 31, III; Nagler 8, 6. – Upper right in the wide white margin a few feeble foxspots.

The in every respect marvelous sheet ,

later recorded as sheet 3 (Niem. 31, II) within Nagler 13, as here, too, yet now as Niem. 31, III from the 44-sheet Augsburg omnibus edition Schwerdt III, 190, a ( “Rare“, 1928 ) of 1821 the earliest, whose marvelous printing qualities on strong paper reveal the small editions and had Schwerdt frequently yet erroneously infer proofs before the letter. But already on occasion of the here otherwise not provable 137-sheet complete edition Weigel 21336 this stated 1857: “Most sheets very rare.”

Wintter was electoral Bavarian Court and Hunt Engraver and member of the electoral academy at Dusseldorf and 1787 he was promoted even court chamber councilor as

rare “(a)mong those numerous court and independent artists

of the Electoral Palatinate Bavarian court ”

(pope of forest cameralists Wilhelm Gottfried von Moser, b. 1729, from the “famous family of cameralists” [Heß in Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie] 1788 in Forst-Archiv [IV, 280 ff.]), who nevertheless till today remained outside of the small, yet growing circle of intimate connoisseurs under the lee of Ridinger and his continuing overwhelming effect, irrespective of voices of important contemporaries calling to attention just like von Moser with his however in this manner not to be adopted conclusion

“ always better than Riedinger ”

or Lorenz von Westenrieder of the same age (b. 1748, theologian, yet especially historian; “has generally an impressionable eye for scenic beauties” [Höhn]), who praised him highly in his 1783 Jahrbuch der Menschengeschichte in Bayern and in 1785 wrote to Christian Felix Weisse, friend of Lessing’s and playwright in Leipsic:

“ This man has extraordinary talents .”

Manifested ultimately in Andresen’s statement (1868)

“ [N]ext to Ridinger the most proficient German depictor of the hunt of his century ”

and 1909 and 1921 resp. Höhn (Studien zur Entwicklung der Municher Landschaftsmalerei v. Ende d. 18. u. v. Anfang des 19. Jh.: “one of the earliest” among “the early beginnings of Munich Landscape Painting”) and Wolf (Die Entdeckung der Münchener Landschaft, illustrating seven of his etchings) placed him in wings unrelated unrelated to the hunt.

And generally Nagler 1851 in the Künstler-Lexicon: his “etchings are excellent and are in the treatment between those by Hollar and Riedinger”. To eventually emphasize 1863 once again expressly in the Dictionary of Monogramists (III, no. 68) the rarity of these beautiful sheets.

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Tigres du Bengale, Jeunes. Two young Bengal (Royal) Tigers in the Jungle. Toned wood engraving by Eduard Adé (first mentioned 1865) in Stuttgart after Auguste André Lançon (St. Claude, Jura, 1836 – Paris 1887). C. 1870. Inscribed: E. Adé. Stuttg. / A. LANCON. 8⅝ × 12½ in (21.9 × 31.7 cm).

Auguste André Lançon, Tigres du Bengale

Thieme-Becker XXII, 285 f. – “Under the influence of Barye and Delacroix Lançon devoted himself chiefly to the depiction of predaceous animals”. – On strong paper, its wide white margin somewhat foxspotted.

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“ The Tiger …
realize[s] the Folly of [His] Choice …
Johann Elias Ridinger, Mindless Age (detail)
The Mindless Age becomes Contemptuous by Childish Expression (detail)

… and revoke[s] it ”

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Mindless Age becomes Contemptuous by Childish Expression. Elected for his large beard by the animals as their representative the billy-goat behaves himself so foppish over this that he “provokes partly guffaw, partly annoyance. This the artist shows excellently. The badger is rolling with laughter, the stag, the horse, the fox laugh scornfully, the tiger, the striped hyena, and the lynx in earnest become aware of the foolishness of their choice and revoke it. The monkey though points his fingers at him” (Th.). Etching with engraving. (1744.) Inscribed: J. El. Ridinger inv. et fec. et exc., title in German-Latin-French as above. 13⅛ × 9¾ in (33.3 × 24.7 cm).

Thienemann + Schwarz 773; Ridinger Cat. Darmstadt IV.8 with ill.; Metzner-Raabe, Illustr. Fabelbuch, 1998, vol. II (Bodemann), 123.I. – Sheet 9 of the intellectually as optically exceedingly charming “Instructive Fables from the Animal Kingdom for Improvement of the Manners

and especially for the Instruction of the Youth ”.

Without the number upper right which is almost unknown but appears later on. – Fleur-de-lis watermark. – In the second half of the 19th century mounted on blue-grey laid paper of the early 18th century with watermark SICKTE (the von Veltheim paper mill there) together with Jumping Horse Heawood 2790 (Germany 18th Cent. Esp. in Doppelmayr, Sonnen-Uhren, Nuremberg 1719) on which it is laid on loosely now. – Trimmed on three sides on the edge of the wide white plate margin. – Wonderful early impression.

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“ Exceedingly Fine ” (1781)

“ A Single Fine Sheet ” (1856)

“ Main Sheet ” (1889 & 1890)

The Rare Landscape with Wild Animals of the Rubens Workshop

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The Landscape with the Wild Animals. Deeply staggered landscape with small lion hunt – horsemen, one of whom already raising his spear for the shot, footmen, of which the first sounds the bugle and cry of hounds – in the middle distance and, dominating the picture, large group of three in the foreground center and right, formed by a lion on guard, on the tree-covered slope a lioness preparing a hare for herself and beneath this before a cavity tigress (sic!) nursing three young ones while consuming grapes. Right in front several skull remains along with snake and two frogs, on the slope right a lizard. In the lower margin medallion with the Saxon-Polish dual arms. Etching with engraving after studio work of Peter Paul Rubens’ (Siegen 1577 – Antwerp 1640) by means of the transfer drawing by Charles François Hutin (Paris 1717 – Dresden 1776). (1757.) Inscribed in Italian/French parallel text: Tableau de P. P. Rubens. de la Galerie Roïale de Dresde. Haut 7. pieds 4. pouces Largo 13. pied 5. pouces (78¾ × 145½ in [200 × 369.5 cm]). As well as C. Hutin del. / J. E. Ridinger sculps. 12⅞ × 19⅝ in (32.7 × 49.7 cm).

Thienemann (“a single fine sheet”) & Schwarz 724; Nagler, Ridinger, 32 and, Rubens, p. 587 (see below); Weigel XXVIII, 41; Coppenrath (“Main sheet”) II, 1569 & III, 2003; Schwerdt III, 143; Rosenthal, (Ridinger) listing 126, 320; Ridinger catalog Kielce, 1997, 130 with ill. – Cf. Thieme-Becker XVIII, 189 (Hutin). – Not in Helbing, Arbeiten von J. E. und M. E. Ridinger (cat. XXXIV [1900], 1554 nos.!). – Mounted preparatory drawing in pencil in “large oblong fol.” from a Silesian R. collection at Boerner XXXIX (1885), 2073.

Voorhelm-Schneevoogt, Catalogue des estampes gravées d’après P. P. Rubens (1873), page 229, No. 37 ([Bartsch 25.] Chasse aux lions. Sur le devant se voit un lion, et une lionne qui allaite ses petits [the latter nonetheless his Nursing Tigress in Vienna, Rosenberg [1906] p. 131].

Rubens, Nursing Tigress
Nursing Tigress, c. 1615/22. – Comp. ill. from Rosenberg

Woermann, Katalog der Kgl. Gemäldegalerie zu Dresden (1887), p. 321 (Only workshop; Rubens’s own hand is not identifiable anywhere. The main group front right is borrowed from our Rubens’s picture no. 974. – Engraved by J. E. Ridinger …). – Rogner (ed.), Verlorene Werke der Malerei (1939-1945), 1965, p. 103 (Rubens workshop, Landscape with Wild Animals/Ebert p. 137, no. 982). – J. H. Niemeyer, Ridinger Erlebnisse 1698-2020, 2021, pp. 118 f. with illustration.

The large-size rendition

of the now lost monumental picture, showing first in the 1754 inventory of the Royal Gallery Dresden (II 272) as Rubens:

“ … yet especially the Landscape with Lions after Rubens in the second vol. of the Dresden Gallery exceedingly fine. ”

(Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, Anzeige verschiedner vorzüglicher Abbildungen von Thieren in älteren Kupferstichen und Holzschnitten in Göttingisches Magazin der Wissenschaften und Literatur, ed. by Gg. Chr. Lichtenberg & Gg. Forster, 2nd vol., 4th no. [1781], p. 156).

Johann Elias Ridinger, Landscape with Wild Animals (after Rubens)

Partly included in especially older literature as Lion Hunt, in respect of its but marginal prominence in the background this is not quite appropriate, yet foremost even misleading in regard of the actual, large-figure lion hunt in Dresden not engraved by Ridinger as besides mixed up by Nagler. In the Ridinger article (32) still listed apart as lion hunt, follow per Rubens (XIII, 587) first “Lions and tigers in a wilderness, in the background left a lion is pursued … Engraved by J. E. Riedinger”, then “Lions in a landscape, with a lioness with the young ones”. Which latter is designated, too, by both Woermann and Voorhelm-Schneevoogt as such, yet should be identical with the one with Ridinger lower right as recte tigress.

Fact indeed that still in those days depictions of the foreign fauna frequently were based to some extent only on assured knowledge, as also the Ridingers state in an informative manner in the preamble to the Colored Animal Kingdom. That Rubens knew to distinguish lion/tiger, can be assumed for certain from the couple reviling at each other in jealousy about food in his likewise lost Berlin Neptune and Amphitrite Rogner page 26/III with plate 138 just as from his practically identical Nursing Tigress apart with her grapes in Vienna, see above.

For now not verifiable by any illustration Woermann’s 1887 reference “The main group front right is borrowed from our (Dresden) Rubens picture no. 974”. Should in this, too, a tigress, and not a lioness, be nursing, this would confirm as to be accepted Rubens’ intention of a scenery of indeed wild animals as such, with regard to the embedded hunt motif free also of paradisiacal setting. For objectively the sole tigress breaks the ambience otherwise dominated by the lions. Not least and quite particularly with regard to the elsewhere articulated competition about food. As a century later also made subject by the Berlin Ridinger painting Predators and Killed Deer (Michaelis, Die Deutschen Gemälde des 18. Jhdts. Kritischer Bestandskatalog der SMB Gemäldegalerie, 2002, no. 2272: “A couple each of lions and tigers fight about the killed splendid stag”).

Yet only relevant for present plate that its studio design has not compromised the master’s intent.

Beyond that at the same time Ridinger’s only contribution to the Dresden gallery work Recueil d’Estampes d’après les plus célèbres tableaux de la Galerie Royale de Dresde founded by C. H. von Heinecken, the second volume of which was published 1757. Like the first from 1753, this one, too, comprised 50 plates worked from drawings of Ch. F. Hutin and his brother Pierre. A third one was published under Frederick Augustus III (the Just; 1750-1827, elector since 1763/68, since 1806 first king of Saxony).

Very fine impression on sturdy laid paper before the plate and volume designations

at the lower edge of the text field. Apparently added only by and by and not mentioned by Thienemann either, their missing here probably indicates a genuine Ridinger impression before the edition proper. Just as then Schwarz notes for lower right the plate designation “No: 46.”, as with the copies of the Saxonian State Library, the British Museum and in the Wellcome Library, too. A copy traded here in 2000 in a remarkably excellent later impression on wove paper, documenting the small number of copies, additionally with the volume designation “T. II.” lower left as probably added only for reprints on occasion of the publication of the third volume. According to Woermann the plates were offered for sale on both ordinary and Chinese paper in the Royal Gallery still in 1887. – The smoothed centerfold perceivable on front only in the white text field left of the arms medallion. – Margins above and below 3.8-4, at the sides 1.9 cm wide.

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Johann Elias Ridinger, Tiger going out for Prey

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). A tiger going out for prey. “This only now is the real tiger (Felis tigris, Linn.). He jumps furiously out of a den with the jaws open wide” (Th.). Etching with engraving. (1738.) Inscribed: J. E. R. fec./ N.35., title in German as above. 7¼ × 5¾ in (18.5 × 14.7 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 425. – Sheet 35 (in later edition 53) of the instructive set Design of Several Animals ( “These plates are much wanted and frequently copied”, Th. 1856; “A masterpiece”, Cobres 1781/82). – Wide-margined impression of the 1st edition. – The first three words somewhat weak.

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Johann Elias Ridinger, Tiger going out for Prey

– – – – The same colored by later hand in attractive fitting palette as quite unusual for original impressions.

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Samuel Howitt, Shooting Anecdote, India 1

Howitt, Samuel (1756 – Somers Town 1822). Shooting Anecdote(s), India. Spitting Bengal tiger under a fern, angrily barked at by the dog / Bengal tiger attacking a riding elephant. 2 sheet. Aquatints by Henri Merke (Niederweningen, canton Zurich, c. 1760 – after 1820) in their original coloring. Inscribed: Howitt del. / Published & Sold Jany. 1st. 1813, by Edwd. Orme, Bond St./ Street, London. / Merhe (sic!) sculpt., otherwise as above. 7⅛ × 9-9⅛ in (18 × 23-23.2 cm).

Samuel Howitt, Shooting Anecdote, India 2

Tooley 225, 44 & 224, 17. – From the 1819 2nd and 1814 1st edition resp. of FOREIGN FIELD SPORTS, Schwerdt I (1928), 177 ff.: “The coloured plates … especially those drawn by Howitt, are fine, both as regards draughtsmanship and colouring … (The book) is sure to increase in value …”. – The wide white margin a little age-spotted here and there, sheet 2 with trace of sealing-wax in the right lower corner. – Sheet 1 on especially strong paper.

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“ This is the Royal Tiger …”

Johann Elias Ridinger, Bengal Tiger

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., sect. XXVIII, Ridinger Appendix 63a as merely 120-sheet torso, 1857 ! , but also just individual plates quite rarely on the market only, at niemeyer’s currently the one as the others all the same). – 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.

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.

With watermark C & I Honig 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.

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And where there are tigers, there are also horses for its hunt. But horses of quite particular type. Indeed, indeed, that is to say

“Horses of Heaven”

in short ,

The Tiger Horse

But no, no indeed. Not the tiger-striated African “Zebra (tiger horse) … which in their build are akin to the horses as the donkeys … By its build the [deviating] quagga … comes closer to the horse … The Tiger Horse … the noblest of these animals … is … striped black on the body …” (Meyers Konv.-Lex., 4th ed, vol. XVI [1890], p. 838). As such are available here in the Ridingers’ original coloring.

For much, much nobler the former, then all at once vanished, yet already in Ridinger’s day again flourishing, then especially today’s American new breeders’ great pleasure with its about

twomillennial origin in the Siberian Altay Mountains

in the border region to Mongolia, to Kazakhstan and China. By which Altay locality

mythical longings are associated through the ages till today.

Vladimir the Great or the Equal-to-apostles

“ Grand Prince of Russia … Lord of the whole Russian Empire … already under him … extending from the Dnieper to Lake Ladoga and to the Dvina … The partition of the empire among his twelve sons upon his death in 1015 weakened the empire and later brought about its utter decline. In honor of V. the Order of Saint Vladimir was established and on the high banks of the Dnieper in Kiev in 1853 an imposing monument was errected in his memory ”
(Meyers, op. cit., XVI, 710)

“ asked an itinerant monk: What would be the best religion for my country? The monk meditated … There a Byzantine priest appeared in his dream and reminded him of an old legend:

far in the east there were a land of eternal beauty and wisdom,

of the name of Belovodye ( White Water ).

Altay/Baikal (Lotter, Siberia)
Altai detail of the Map of Siberia (19¾ × 42½ in) by the Lotters in Augsburg about 1759/77

Only few , chosen men were permitted to find this land …


More than a thousand years ago, before Russia adopted the Christian-orthodox faith of Byzanz, 987, it emerges from the night of history. It is said that there superior beings welcome those who search for it, a land in which man lives in peace and harmony. Belovodye. ”

“ Belovodye in the Altay Mountains ,

in Siberia ,

… The journey to this place of utopian longings starts central station Berlin. Five days and five nights with the Trans-Siberian Railway … After more than 3,100 miles on the train: the mountains of the Altay … for the ride to the place of the promise: Belovodye.

Belovodye, the search for the utopian place, is a kind of pilgrimage. One leaves everything behind and immerges into a world in which nature communicates in a mighty way … ”

(Michaela Vieser
Altai-Gebirge in Russland — Suche nach dem verheißenen Land

encountering there not least, too, “Jan Jansen whose family emigrated 300 years ago, from East Frisia to Russia. While some contemporaries migrated by ship to America, others moved with horse and cart to the east. Czarina Catherine the Great invited them to start a new life, somewhere in the vastness of Siberia …” Belovodye — White Water. Utopia.

With the Tiger Horses as a fact .

“ Altai (Altain Dola, Gold Mountains, Chinese Kinschan), the northernmost of the four mountain systems of Central Asia, extends … from Irtysh to south of Lake Baikal … and extends 899 miles in its length, while its area comprises more than 166,000 square miles. With important radiations the A. reaches far into the surrounding regions … The geognostic nature of the mountains was established primarily by Germans (Humboldt, Rose, Cotta) … ” (Meyers, op. cit., I, 411).

“Horses of Heaven”

“ So the kings and princes of the steppe called their noble riding horses by which they once ruled all of Asia. A special species of these horses came from border region between Siberia and China, the Altay Mountains. Almost 2000 years ago a horse breed lived here, which was famous for its courage, its wonderful character, extraordinary color, and above all its uncommon gaits. The principalities of the whole Asian region used these horses for purposes of representation and war. The present-day name tiger horse has its origin in that the Chinese used these decidedly courageous horses also

for the hazardous hunt for the Siberian tiger ”

( Tobias Schultz-Friese in Tiger Horse, 2 Sep. 2020 )

as the latter is missed in reduction elsewhere indeed, referring merely to the tiger-blooded Spanish genets for whose markings the Spaniard just lacks the designation leopard and therefore El Caballo Tigre stole in as origin of the name.

As on the other hand with the knowledge of his time Ridinger did not command the denomination of the big cats

and in such a manner for instance

Johann Elias Ridinger, Bengal Tiger
Detail of above Royal Tiger Th. 1074
Johann Elias Ridinger, Panther
Detail of the spotted Panther Th. 1073

designated the striped tiger leopard and the spotted panther tiger.

Johann Elias Ridinger

Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767

The Tiger Horse with the Ear-Bouquet

After the portrait painted from life by Christian Ludwig Frhr. von Löwenstern (1701 Darmstadt 1754). The copper printing plate in reverse to Thienemann 280. 13¾ × 11¼ in (35 × 28.5 cm).

Inscribed: Lib: Baro de Löuenstern ad viv: pinx. Darmst. / J. El. Ridinger sc(ulpsit): et excud. 1745. &

Johann Elias Ridinger, Tiger Horse with Ear-bouquet (caption)
Comparative illustration of the caption in the print’s direction Th. 280 as currently here not available.

As hippological wonder

the portrait of the Promnitz trouvaille, conceivably painted already during the return, was entrusted to Ridinger as first resort for such for instantaneous documentation within his running series of zoological case examples and adequately hereto then

the original printing plate

Johann Elias Ridinger, Tiger Horse with Ear-bouquet (printing plate)

in reverse – cf. J. H. Niemeyer, Ridinger Erlebnisse 1698-2020, 2021, pp. 67-69 – to just sheet 38 (etching with engraving, Thienemann & Schwarz 280, “The six horses comprised in this collection later had been sold also separately”) of the Exact and True Representation of the Most Wondrous Deer as well as Other Peculiar Animals

in the reddish golden brilliance

of its

277 years old copper ,


from the so-called Thieme-Becker Block turned up again after the turnaround

— “444 copper printing plates (in reverse) presently (1933) in private estate in Charlottenburg (Berlin)” —

and here researched seamlessly back to the Ridinger estate, correcting all the losses erroneously assumed by Thienemann (1856) as, just i. a., indeed the plates to the 101-sheet set of the Most Wondrous, too, a new complete edition of which was published in Leipsic just about 1859, with – and only with this – its original numbering, partly modified/removed for the Engelbrecht-Herzberg editions about 1824/25, being restored.

“ Preserved original 18th century printing-plates

are of great rarity”

(Stefan Morét in Ridinger catalog Darmstadt, 1999, pp. 62 f. See also the plates there I.13, I.8 & I.11, color illustration 6 & b/w ills. pp. 63 f.).

And especially on Ridinger’s :

“ Of the high technical and qualitative standard of the works of Ridinger and his sons collaborating in the workshop especially as engravers the (only very partially) preserved printing-plates bear witness still today. ”

To the same effect then already before Bernadette Schöller in Der Kölner Graphikmarkt zur Zeit Wenzel Hollars within Wenzel Hollar – Die Kölner Jahre ed. by Werner Schäfke, Cologne 1992, p. 19:

“ The copper plates

which for both their material value and the hours of work invested therein

enjoyed a far higher esteem

than, e.g., a preparatory drawing handled only too often disrespectfully … ”

And just so perceptibly visibly impressed the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cherry-picked in the case of an Ostade 21 January 2006:

“ Rumbler brings along a unicum to the fair: the original printing-plate [5 × 3¾ in / 12.8 × 9.5 cm!, parentheses not in the original] for Adriaen van Ostade’s etching ‘The Paterfamilias’ of 1648. Ostade’s copper-plates – altogether fifty – were in a Dutch collection except for three from which they were sold by auction one by one in 1995 (49000 Euro [said fair plate alone!, however, only a morsel maintaining respectful distance to a Rembrandt plate sold at auction on international parquet years ago]) ”

Analogously then here on occasion of the re-emergence of parts of said Thieme-Becker Block: “One of the most sensational discoveries in art history … Ridinger’s original printing (sic!!!) plates”. That present one

has been worked by the master himself alone

shall be mentioned expressly. Just as documented by inscription.

And on copper plates as painting foundation and in general finally Keith Andrews, Adam Elsheimer, 2006, pp. 18/I, 2 & 57/I,3 resp.:

“ Partly they certainly were intended for the decoration of furniture, especially as veneer for cabinets ” (spacing not in the original). And, once more,

“ Besides copper plates could be applied right into furniture. ”

Baron von Löwenstern, closely connected with the court at Darmstadt and active also as poet and composer, was, like Goethe, an amateur artist with nonetheless a most extensive painted œuvre

“ of richly composed battle scenes in the manner of [Jacques] Courtois [1621-1675], hunting pieces, and portraits … For the famous art clock [Louis VIII] presented Maria Theresa with L[öwenstern] worked both the first two designs … ”

(Thieme-Becker XXIII [1929], 328).

Beyond all this in the case here both with regard to both family and contemporary history of great relevance finally the topical reference to the historically deeply rooted Silesian family of Promnitz as

in the person of their grandseigneur

Erdmann II

Imperial Count of Promnitz

Free mediatized Prince at Pleß in Silesia
and Lord of Sorau and Triebel in Lower Lusatia
from the marriage of Balthasar Erdmann with Emilie Agnes Countess of Reuß at Schleiz

( Sorau 1683 – Waldschloß near Sorau 1745 by an Austriab hussar;
Privy Councilor and Secretary of State of the Saxon Electors Augustus the Strong &Frederick Augustus II )

and his consort

Anna Maria of Saxony-Weißenfels

as the aristocratic daughter of Duke John Adolf I of Saxony-Weißenfels
and his consort Johanna Magdalena of Saxony-Altenburg
( “… for the wedding also Augustus the Strong came to Sorau” )

Acquirer of the noble tiger. “ As a rarity paid for very dearly ” for the royal stables and hippodrome of the lavish court as quite in Sorau tradition.

Since 1542 in the possession of the dominion Pless in the administrative district Oppeln with ancestral seats at Sorau & Pless, the family brought forth several important members of superior interest. Although already 1765 (the comital family became extinct 1785 in its male and 1791 in the female line, though continuing in the baronial line) the dominion passed in the family to the house of Anhalt-Koethen, the “hunting lodge Promnitz” survived ditto to this day.

During World War I temporarily imperial headquarters ,

“ three decisions of far-reaching consequence were made at Pless ,

“ that is the relief of Erich v. Falkenhayn by legendary Field Marshal General Paul v. Hindenburg as chief of the general staff and at the same time the appointment of General Erich Ludendorff to First Quartermaster General. Then to be mentioned furthermore the decision to create a Polish state and finally the declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare,

resulting in the declaration of war by the United States

on the German Reich ”

(Andreas Gautschi in Gautschi & Rakow, Wilhelm II. und das Waidwerk, 2006, p. 234 f. with illustrations).

On Promnitz also see Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie XXVI (1888), pp. 663 f.; Magno, Histor. Beschreibung der Hoch=Reichs=Gräfflichen Promnitzischen Residenzstadt Sorau, Leipsic 1710; König, Biograph. Lexikon aller Helden und Militärpersonen, welche sich in preuß. Diensten berühmt gemacht haben, vol. III, Berlin 1790; Bülau, Geheime Geschichten und räthselhafte Menschen, vol. II, 2nd ed., Leipsic 1863.

Shielded from tarnishing by fine application of varnish, the copper printing plate – faceted, verso scratch samples, recto in the lower margin and laterally right old traces of soldering – is generally printable in the ordinary course of its use through the times. However, it is offered and sold as a work of art and a collector’s item, thus without prejudice to its eventual printing quality.

In short , a conceivably gratifying , worldwide unique Belovodye

with its ear-bouquet encountered here nowhere else as an unparalleled high light of a tiger horse 279 years ago. The species of which just due to its general qualities as

“ Horses of Heaven “

“ always had been reserved (only) to a privileged upper class … (but now celebrates) a real triumph in the American horse High Society. While once these horses were reserved to high dignitaries, kings and shamans, so today business bosses, celebrities and America’s upper 10,000 who call such a horse their own” (Tobias Schultz-Friese op. cit.).

And so present printing plate trouvaille shall be offered to you both proudly and humbly with the recommendation of a timeless-elegantly frameless hanging — fittings included —

to have you experience the respective reflections of light to the fullest.

And what did private plate purchasers write?

“ You have surprised me ”,

so a retired presiding judge purchasing two of these cimelies
of which he had impression been done
(see Ridinger catalog Darmstadt, 1999, I.10 & I.12).

“ I would like to thank you,
the plates are more beautiful than I had expected,
I take both , no question ”,

so an entrepreneur who in the meantime bought three further ones.

And in 2001 the Augsburg Art Collections presented the acquired 12-plate set for the Paradise suite within the exposition KUNSTREICH as the important acquisitions of the past decade (catalog KUNSTREICH no. 102, pp. 198-201).

Offer no. 16,232 | price on application

„ haben Sie vielen Dank für Ihre schnelle Antwort … Mit Ihrer Auskunft haben Sie uns bereits sehr geholfen und der Inhalt bezüglich einer eventuellen Neuauflage (ridinger schriften 25) klingt sehr gut … “

(L-Stiftung, 19. September 2018)