Nightshade – Solanum incertum – nachtschade; H. van Rheede tot Drakenstein / J. Commelin – 1689-1690

Hendrik van Rheede (1636 – 1691) / Itty Achudan / Johannes Commelin (1629-1692).

Rare contemporary colored antique print of a Nightshade species. From the 10th volume of the famous Hortus Indicus Malabaricus by Hendrik van Rheede. 

Zeldzame gekleurde antieke prent van een nachtschade-achtige. Uit de 10e editie van de befaamde Hortus Indicus Malabaricus door Hendrik van Rheede.


1 in stock



  • Type: natural history print, botany
  • Title: Nélen Tsjúnda, Pars 10. Tab. 73
  • 1689-1690
  • Technique: copper engraving, contemporary colored
  • Founder/conceiver: Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein
  • Illustrator(s): Matteus A. St. Joseph
  • Engraver (s): Bastiaan Stoopendaal
  • Author(s): Itty Achudan / Matteus A. St. Joseph / Johannes Commelinus / Abramham Poot
  • Published in 10th editons of: Hortus Indicus Malabaricus :continens regni Malabarici apud Indos cereberrimi onmis generis plantas rariores, Latinas, Malabaricis, Arabicis, Brachmanum charactareibus hominibusque expressas (..) by Henrici & viduae Theodori Amsterdam
  • 34.0 x 42.0 cm (13.4 x 16.5 inches)
  • 38.5 x 46.0 cm (15.2 x 18.1 inches)
  • Verso: blank
  • 910b B
  • Source: Nissen 1625 / references to the Hortus malabaricus (

Condition: A

Very good, given age. Sharp print with beautiful coloring. Some toning and/or occasional minor spots and defects from handling.

Zeer goed, gegeven de leeftijd. Scherpe afdruk met fraaie inkleuring. Wat verkleuring en algemene ouderdomsverschijnselen.


Hortus Malabaricus

The Hortus Malabaricus is a treatise dealing with the medicinal properties of the flora in the Indian state of Kerala and the East Indies. The book was compiled over a period of 30 years and published in Amsterdam between 1678 and 1693. The book was conceived by Hendrik van Rheede, who was the Governor of Dutch Malabar.  Included on the illustrations are the names of the plants in Sanskrit, Arabic, Malayalam and Latin.

The ethno-medical information presented in Hortus Malabaricus, was culled from palm leaf manuscripts by Itty Achudan, who dictated the material in Malayalam, which was then scrutinized by three Brahmanas Ranga Bhat, Vinayaka Pandit and Appu Bhat, followed by a process of thorough verification, discussion with other scholars and general agreement.

Kerala had medical traditions that existed even prior to Ayurvedic tradition. Ezhava Tradition of Healing Practices was prominent among other medical traditions that existed in Kerala which involved a considerable contribution from Buddhism which was a major force from the sixth century to about the eleventh century (Binny, 2015).

Hendrik Adriaan van Rheede tot Drakenstein (1636-1691)

Van Rheede tot Drakenstein was a military officer and a colonial administrator of the Dutch East India Company and naturalist. Between 1669 and 1676 he served as a governor of Dutch Malabar and employed twenty-five people on his book Hortus Malabaricus, describing 740 plants in the region. As Lord of Mydrecht, he also played a role in the governance of the Cape colonies. Many plants such as the vine Entada rheedii are named after him.

Itty Achudan (second half of seventeenth century)

Itty Achudan was a distinguished herbalist, belonging to an Ezhave family of physicians in Kerala who practised pre-Ayurvedic systems of traditional medicine. Itty Achudan was the most remarkable Indian figure associated with Hortus Malabaricus. Achudan disclosed the plants of Malabar to Van Rheede. The preface includes a mentioning about Itty Achudan and a testimony revealing his contribution in his own hand writing.

Johannes Commelin (1629-1692)

Johannes Commelin was a professor of botany when many plants were imported from the Cape and Ceylon and a new system had to be developed. As alderman of the city of Amsterdam, together with mayor Johan Huydecoper van Maarsseveen, he led the arrangement of the new botanic garden Hortus Medicus, later becoming Hortus Botanicus. He cultivated exotic plants on his farm ‘Zuyderhout’ near Haarlem. Commelin amassed a fortune by selling herbs and drugs to apothecaries and hospitals in Amsterdam and other Dutch cities.

Commelin did a great deal of the work in publishing Hortus malabaricus of Rheede, and Nederlandse Flora published in 1683 as well as contributing commentaries to the second and third volumes. He also prepared for publication Horti Medici Amstelodamensis Rariorum which appeared in 1697 and dealt mainly with plants from the East and West Indies, and was illustrated mainly by Jan Moninckx.

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