A fine copperplate engraving titled "The false Prophet Muhammed" from the Frankfurt edition of Mallet's monumental work Description de l'univers.
Muhammed is portrayed as an Ottoman, in contemporary costume, done after an early 17th-century etching of Casper, one of the three Wise Men ("Caspar, le roi de Tarse"), by Jacques Bellange. Caspar carries a container (presumably of frankincense), while here, Muhammed has a cane in hand and possesses a sword, against a different background. The same figural representation was used in Matthaus Merian's etching of a different Wise Man, Melchior.
Interestingly, this German edition is an inverse of Mallet's 1683 French one.
Alain Mannesson Mallet (1630-1706) was a French mapmaker and engineer who served in the armies of Louis XIV. After rising through the ranks, Mallet was appointed as Inspector of Fortifications, a job which also required mathematical skills and which made him a competent military engineer. Eventually, he joined the court of Louis XIV at Versailles, where he taught math and focused on writing.
Mallet is best known for his Description de L’Univers, first published in 1683, in five volumes. A wide-ranging geographical work, the Description included textual descriptions of the countries of the world, as well as maps of the celestial sky and the ancient and modern worlds. The Description continued to be published until the early eighteenth century. He also published a work in three volumes on warfare (1684) and a primer on geometry (1702).