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Dim.: 38,5 x 25 x 5 cm
- One map washed and restored in the corners, some ten double pages remargined, one loose double page (ordo equitantis exercitus) with the margins cut.
- The modern binding with the armorial for the Massena family, the pages with the outer edges gilt.
Original edition of the translation by Jean-Baptiste Carpentier, which appeared in the same year as the original work. This work establishes the start of the commercial relationship between the Dutch and China.
Provenance : The Massena family with their quote "Victor et fidelis" chosen by André Massena (1758-1817) after being titled Count of Rivoli (supra libros); Furthermore with an unidentified chromolithography ex-libris.
The book was first published in Dutch in 1665 by Johan's brother Hendrik and the Amsterdam-based publisher and printer Jacob van Meurs. Its original title was Het Gezandtschap der Neêrlandtsche Oost-Indische Compagnie, aan den grooten Tartarischen Cham, den tegenwoordigen Keizer van China: Waarin de gedenkwaerdigste Geschiedenissen, die onder het reizen door de Sineesche landtschappen, Quantung, Kiangsi, Nanking, Xantung en Peking, en aan het Keizerlijke Hof te Peking, sedert den jaren 1655 tot 1657 zijn voorgevallen, op het bondigste verhandelt worden. Beneffens een Naukeurige Beschrijvinge der Sineesche Steden, Dorpen, Regeering, Weetenschappen, Hantwerken, Zeden, Godsdiensten, Gebouwen, Drachten, Schepen, Bergen, Gewassen, Dieren, et cetera en oorlogen tegen de Tartar : verçiert men over de 150 afbeeltsels, na't leven in Sina getekent.
Because of the immense success it enjoyed, several other editions, albeit heavily edited and geared towards commercial interests, soon appeared. It was also translated into French, German, Latin and eventually into English in respectively, 1665, 1666, 1168 and 1669. The English version was not published by Van Meurs, but by John Ogilby instead.
The book consists of the notes and illustrations that Nieuhof made in his position as a steward on Peter de Goyer and Jacob de Keizer's embassy to the emperor of China. These notes and illustrations were left in the care of his brother Hendrik, "so as they not fall prey to rugged seas and hollow waves". This manuscript was eventually bundled and published to form this book, containing a written account of the embassy as well as 149 illustrations.
The work itself is split into two parts. The first part contains the written account of the embassy led by Peter de Goyer and Jacob de Keizer to the emperor of China. It details the entire journey from Canton to Peking and back again. This part also contains descriptions and depictions of all that the embassy came to pass on its trip. The second part consists of a general overview of China, wherein a variety of subjects comes to pass, containing descriptions and images of bridges, mountains, temples, customs, et cetera. The work provides a total of 149 pictures, an unusual high number.
Source: Wikipedia (link)