Maria Sibylla Merian - Museum für medizinhistorische Bücher Muri
Maria Sibylla Merian

MARIA SIBYLLA MERIAN

THE WONDERFUL METAMORPHOSIS AND PECULIAR FLOWER FOOD OF CATERPILLARS, 1679

On the title page of her first caterpillar book, Merian surrounds the book title with convoluted leaf branches on which caterpillars and grubs, moths, beetles and flies are abound.

The caterpillar book begins with the «silk worm», which Merian refers to as the «most useful of all worms». Thus she contradicts the opinion that insects are only pests. In the preface, she admits that she became aware «of the metamorphosis of caterpillars through the silk worm».

While in other works, the name and portrait of the author are often placed very visibly on the frontispiece, Merian carves her name inconspicuously into the branches.