A Description Of The Empire Of China And Chinese-Tartary, Together with the Kingdoms of Korea, and Tibet: Containing The Geography And History (Natural As Well As Civil) Of Those Countries.

London: Edward Cave, T. Gardner. 1738 – 1741. Binding: Contemporary full blind-stamped calf, expertly rebacked. Matching upper and lower with gilt paneling surrounding double border of elaborate arabesque design in blind. Center with blind motifs and tooling. Spine with 5 raised bands, decorative gilt fillet on bands and in compartments. Title and vol. number/author in gilt on maroon labels in 2 and 3; remaining compartments with blind motifs. Board edges with decorative gilt fillet. Dentelles in blind and gilt design. All edges marbled. , Notes: Jean-Baptiste Du Halde (1674 – 1743) was a French Jesuit historian specializing in China. He did not travel to China, but collected seventeen Jesuit missionaries’ reports and provided an encyclopedia survey of the history, culture, and society of China and “Chinese Tartary” (Manchuria).
His Description Of The Empire Of China, drawn from the Jesuit Lettres Édifiantes Et Curieuses and unpublished reports containing translations of Chinese texts of various origins, first appeared in Paris in 1735, and was translated into English within the following two years. The book provides, besides a very detailed geographical description based off the work of the Jesuits, an expansive encyclopedic coverage of all aspects of Chinese civilization, including the emperors, government, military, nobility, agriculture, handicrafts, religion, ethics, ceremonies, science, commerce (including the production of porcelain and silkworm breeding), language, and writing systems. The work also includes an account and map of Captain Vitus Bering’s 1725 – 1728 voyage off eastern Siberia.
The book was an immediate success and was quickly added to all academic libraries and issued in various translations. It had a significant impact on European society in the 18th century, and philosophers of the Enlightenment drew from it on their thoughts and controversies about religions, cultures, and customs. It’s regarded as “the first definitive European work on the Chinese Empire” (Hill).
Cordier, Sinica 50; Cox I, 355; De Backer & Sommervogel IV, 37; Hill 498 (3rd English); Lada-Mocarski 2; Löwendahl 394 ("Bible of European Sinophlia"; Lust, Western Books on China 15; Tooley, Maps and Mapmakers.
, Size: Folio., Illustration: 64 plates: vol. 1 with 36 plates, vol. 2 with 28. Vol. 1: includes d’Anville’s “A Map Of China, Chinese Tartary And The Kingdom Of Corea,” additional map of Tibet, and two copies of “Province 3: Kyang-Si” plate; lacking map of “Province 4: Fo-Kyen” and “A Map Of China” at pg. 1; “Province 6: Hu-Quang” plate misnumbered Province IX; 1.5 inch tear at bottom of pg. 99/100. Vol. 2: pg. 321/322 lacking. “A General Map of Eastern and Western Tartary” handcoloured.
Translated from the French by Richard Brookes.

, Volume: 2 volumes., Pages: Vol. 1: Blank. Frontispiece of Confucius. Title. Blank. Dedication (2). Translator’s preface (8). A Dissertation Concerning Mr. d’Anville’s General Map… (ix – xi). Plate index. Plates (2). Du Halde’s Preface (i – xii). Contents (2). P. 1 – 678. Vol. 2: Title. Blank. Advertisement. Contents. P. 1 – 388. Index (10)., Category: Book Asia Far East; Book Voyages General;. Near fine example of this monumental work on China. Interior is clean and crisp. Item #B6783

Price: $30,000.00

See all items by