Here is some information on a sample of items acquired by Rare Book Collections at the National Library of Scotland. Click an image for the full picture (opens in a new window).
This is an illustrated plate depicting the giant Buddha statues at Bamiyan in Afghanistan which were blown up by the Taliban in 2001. It comes from a French translation of Alexander Burnes's 'Travels into Bokhara', which was first published in 1834.
Burnes, a native of Montrose and a relative of Robert Burns, enjoyed rapid success in his army career and in the civil service in British India. In 1832 he was one of the first Westerners to explore the Punjab, Afghanistan, Bokhara, Turkmenistan, the Caspian Sea and Persia.
His account of his travels won him fame and awards and an audience with King William IV.
This is a copy of Thomas Craig's 'Jus feudale' of 1732, the first systematic text on law published in Scotland. It appeared in London in 1655 and in Leipzig in 1716.
The work is bound in a contemporary Scottish binding of red goatskin. The covers are tooled in gilt with a border composed of dog-tooth roll as well as a thistle and floral roll. The binding features a centre diamond emblem comprised of roundels and semi-circles.
The spine is divided into seven panels with gilt scroll corners, the edges of the boards and turn-ins are gilt tooled with thistle and bud roll. The endpapers are floral-patterned Dutch gilt.
This is an engraving from the second edition of Dirk de Jong's 'Nieuwe Beschryving der Walvischvanst en haringvisschery of 1791'.
It shows a fleet of whaling ships and their crews hunting whales and polar bears.
The work was first published between 1784 and 1786 and has become a classic on whaling. It also contains an article on herring fishery. The text includes accounts of whaling expeditions in different regions of the Arctic, as well as descriptions of types of whales and other marine animals.
There are numerous engraved plates depicting whaling and herring fishery scenes, as well as maps.