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Johannes Buno (1617-1697) – School principal, pastor and inventory of the 'Emblematic Teaching Method'
Historische Bilder … summarische Abbildung der Geschichte durch die vier Monarchien
Published by B. Elers in Lüneburg, 1672
Complete series of plates of this unusual work about the history of the world
21 extremely impressive copper engravings in mnemonics
Early 19th century boards with small label on spine
Dimensions of octave volume: 19.2 x 16.7 cm
Complete and well-preserved copy
Provenance: Grand-Ducal Library Neustrelitz
Extremely rare – there is proof of only one copy in possession of a library
Object is regular taxed. The 7% VAT of the hammer price will be taken off the bill.

This volume comprises the complete plate series of the historical work by Johannes Buno. In this work Buno applies the mnemotechnical principle that he had developed. The principle is based on the effects of the images, captured by outer senses they are conveyed to inner senses and can thus go down in memory. The history of the world is illustrated in 21 images, arranged by millenia and centuries. A basic motif in alphabetical order is allocated to every plate. For the four millenia BC we find: Adam's genealogical tree, planks, camel and dragon. For the following 17 centuries the following symbols: eagle, bear, Cerberus, blanket, elephant, window, griffin, house, Janus, Eurasia, Lew, wall, net, glass, pope, wall. The plate for the 16th century contains two tiny maps of the islands of Rhodes and Cyprus, symbolizing their conquest through the Osmans.

Mnemonics is a memorizing technique, which helps to visualize and remember complex systems and comprehensive contents by using auxiliary means – also so-called mnemonic tricks. Even speakers in ancient Greece and Rome are said to have used mnemonics.


Together 21 copper illustrations in different sizes with rich details. With a multiple folding copper plate: 41 x 33 cm, the other plates about 17 x 13 cm and 12.5 x 9 cm.


In good condition. Paper evenly browned, with some brownish spots in outer margin.

Plate of first millennium with small adhesion and slight loss of image and text. Folding plate with normal folding traces, split in margin, somewhat creased and 2 larger squeeze marks. Two splits in folding, however, no losses. Strong impression on firm laid paper.


1 multiple folding leaf, 9 double leaves and 3 single leaves.


Early 19th century boards with small label on spine. Boards slightly browned and scraped, corners slightly scuffed. Dimensions: 19.2 x 16.7 cm


Grand-Ducal Library Neustrelitz, old library stamp on plate 1.

Johannes Buno (1617-1697)

The inventor of the 'Emblematische Lehrmethode' (Emblematic Teaching Method) Johannes Buno developed a system that supported the learner's memory by means of a sophisticated combination of fables, images and letters. Johannes Buno studied theology in Helmstedt and was later active as private teacher. Additionally, he went to university in Königsberg and wrote a 'Bildergrammatik' (Picture Grammar) at the instigation of Johann Ravius in Danzig. As of 1653 he was principal in Lüneburg and was appointed 'Professor historiarum et geographiae' at the local secondary school as well as pastor at St. Michaelis.


VD 17 3:313263C; Brüggemann-B. II, 1146. Extremely rare - VD17 mentions just 4 copies, of which only one complete copy in Berlin.

Shipping costs excl. statutory VAT and plus 2,5% (+VAT) shipping insurance.

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Johannes Buno, Illustrated History of the World,

Estimate €4,000 - €5,000Nov 20, 2014
Starting Bid €2,400
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