There are several hundred early printed Bibles in the Cardiff Rare Books Collection, but I was excited to find this very unusual edition as I was exploring our Early Continental works. The Biblia Ectypa is a fully engraved pictorial Bible, produced by the German artist Christoph Weigel and published in Augsburg in 1695. Instead of being an illustrated Bible (i.e. text embellished by illustrations), the Biblia Ectypa tells the whole Bible story entirely in beautifully-executed copper engravings.
More than 830 highly detailed engravings are employed to tell hundreds of Biblical tales, with authentic costumes, architecture and social customs all skillfully captured. Each illustration is also accompanied by a short caption in Latin and an engraved quotation from the German Bible.
Engraved Bibles attained wide circulation and great popularity in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and southern Germany became a hub of copper engraving and Bible illustration. The Biblia Ectypa was a critical and commercial success for Weigel, who enjoyed a long career in Augsburg and Nuremburg as a map and print engraver and illustrator, and as publisher of at least seventy books.