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This drawing, made by Maria Sybille Merian and dated between September 1701 – October 1702, is now in the archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg [1, 2]. This aquarel was used for one of the plates of Rumphius’ D’Amboinische Rariteitskamer [3], and figures 18 shells.

The corresponding plate in Rumphius’ work is plate XXVII. Two of the shells figured are landshells. Rumphius called it “Cochlea terrestris, is also counted among them, because it bears a close resemblance to the foregoing two kinds, and, because of its beauty, is considered a curiosity; its shape is like a common snail, with a thin and light shell, of various colors; most are light yellow, with one or more white bands; others with brown bands; some are entirely brown, with and without bands, some are brown only for the top portion, while the lower half is white or a light yellow, but they are not found very often”; in the legend the shells are called “Post whelk” [3, 4]. According to Beekman [5] it are specimens of Nanina citrina (L[inneaeus, 1758]).

As the drawing of Merian was engraved for the plate in Rumphius’ work, the (correctly drawn) dextral shells now appear as sinistral shells in the book.



[1] http://explore.rkd.nl/explore/images/187938.
[2] For details about the provenance, see Reitsma, E. & Ulenberg, S., 2008. Maria Sybille Merian & dochters: vrouwenlevens tussen kunst en wetenschap: 1–263. Waanders, Zwolle (p. 234).
[3] Rumphius, G.E., 1705. D’ Amboinsche rariteitkamer, behelzende eene beschryvinge van allerhande zoo weeke als harde schaalvisschen, te weeten raare krabben, kreeften, en diergelyke zeedieren, als mede allerhande hoorntjes en schulpen, die men in d’Amboinsche zee vindt: daar beneven zommige mineraalen, gesteenten, en soorten van aarde, die in d’Amboinsche, en zommige omleggende eilanden gevonden worden: 1–340. [1741 ed. consulted in Naturalis Biodiversity Center].
[4] Translation according to Beekman, E.M., 1999. The Ambonese curiosity cabinet / Georgius Everhardus Rumphius / translated, edited, annotated, and with an introduction: i-cxii, 1–567. Yale University Press, New Haven (p. 131-132).
[5] Beekman, o.c., p. 436, note 29.