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AUCTION 22

 

Rare Mexican Fencing Manual with Engravings


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200.     FRÍAS, Simón de. Tratado elemental de la destreza del sable. Compuesto por Don Simón de Frías, maestro de todas armas examinado, aprobado y titulado por el superior gobierno de Nueva España. Mexico: En la Imprenta de Arizpe, 1809 [but 1810]. [14], 1-201 [17] pp., 13 copper-engraved plates (2 of which are folding) of fencing positions, gear, and positions, most signed: P. Patiño dib. | M. Araoz gra. or P.P. dib. | M.A. gra. Small 4to (21.2 x 15.8), contemporary full Mexican tan sheep, spine lettered and ruled in gilt, original green spine label, edges sprinkled in green. Binding fine except for a few scattered stains and scuff marks; small paper and ink library label at foot of spine. Lower hinge slightly cracked, some scattered light foxing, one leaf with light marginal staining. Front pastedown, front free endpaper, and half title with a narrow 7 cm ink mark. Some plates with light scattered foxing; plates 2 and 3 with paper tape repairs to tears (no losses); 3 plates trimmed close at right margin (no losses). Overall a very good, crisp copy. Twentieth-century book plate of Ricardo Toledo (printing theme) on front pastedown and old ink signature of Vicente Quirós on rear flyleaf.

     First edition. Garritz 362. Leguina, Bibliografía e historia de la esgrima española 65. Medina, México 10252. Palau 95016. Thimm, A Complete Bibliography of Fencing and Dueling, p. 108. Medina notes that in reality, the book was published on August 14, 1810, because of delays occasioned by engraver Manuel de Aráoz (Dicc. Porrúa). The Mexican author was a master of arms in New Spain. Dicc. Porrúa notes that his birth and death dates are unknown, but he is known to have taught self defense by 1787. Of engraver Manuel Aráoz, Mathes (Illustration in Colonial Mexico, Woodcuts and Copper Engravings in New Spain 1539-1821 Register 1810:10252 comments): “Manuel Aráoz, instructor in engraving, produced thirteen excellent plates of fencing and fighting maneuvers using the saber for Simón de Frías, Tratado elemental de la destreza del sable, Imprenta de Arizpe.” The artist, who signs his name P. Patiño or P.P., may be sculptor and artist Pedro Patiño Ixtolinque (1774-1835, see Dicc. Porrúa).

     This may be the earliest book on any form of fencing published in Mexico and is a thorough guide to the formal sport of fencing with sabers, complete with accurate, detailed illustrations. The author includes descriptions of various attacks, defenses, proper foot work, posture, and equipment, including detailed descriptions of the fencing sword. He states that his motive in writing the book is to promote the art of self defense, which he stresses is important not only for personal use, but also for other causes, such as the defense of one’s nation.

($2,500-5,000)

Sold. Hammer: $2,500.00; Price Realized: $3,000.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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