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A milestone in the early mapping of China, Mongolia, Tibet, Korea and Alaska

ANVILLE, Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'.
Nouvel atlas de la Chine de la Tartarie Chinoise et du Thibet, contenant les cartes générales & particulieres de ces pays, ainsi que la carte du royaume de Coree, ...
The Hague, Hendrik Scheurleer, 1737. Imperial folio (56 x 41 cm). With 42 engraved maps (12 double-page or folding), some of them partly hand-coloured. Contemporary half red roan (sheepskin). 12 pp. plus 42 engraved maps.
€ 22,500
The most comprehensive European atlas of China in the 18th century, remaining for many decades the cartographic standard for China and vicinity. Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (1697-1782) was a French cartographer and geographer known for the careful scholarship and accuracy of his work. The present atlas includes highly accurate and detailed maps of China, the first to render Blaeu and Martini out of date, but also the first separate maps of Korea and Bhutan, the first accurate map of Tibet, by far the most detailed maps of Mongolia and the first printed map of any part of Alaska.
The maps in the atlas were the result of a collaborative effort between French Jesuits and the Chinese themselves. D'Anville brought together the surveys of French Jesuit missionaries and some further reports by the Chinese Jesuits from 1706 to 1718, all ordered by the great Chinese Emperor K'ang Hsi (1654-1722), to publish an atlas of the Chinese Empire. This important combination of both western and Chinese surveys brought the mapping of China to a high level of accuracy.
The Nouvel atlas not only incorporates D'Anville's highly accurate maps covering China in great detail, it also includes maps of the more remote areas of China and the whole of Tibet and Mongolia. These maps were of great importance, as for example the map of Tibet (in 10 sheets) consitutes the first detailed Western mapping of that area. The atlas also includes the first separately issued map of Korea, which was based on a drawing by the Jesuit missionary Regis. It was for a long time regarded to be the best map of Korea in Europe. The last map of the atlas, covering Siberia and the western coast of the Bering Strait, is also remarkable, being the first printed map showing the route of the first voyage of the Danish Captain Vitus Bering (1681-1741) to Kamchatka (1724-1731) in service of Peter the Great. It is also the earliest cartographic representation of any part of Russian Alaska (namely St. Lawrence Island). Two of the maps for Mongolia are based on the work of the Swedish officer Johan Gustaf Renat, who suffered 17 years of imprisonment with the Kalmuck Mongols in Central Asia.
Besides remaining "the principal cartographical authority on China" (Tooley) for the years thereafter, it should be considered as one of the most principal works for the European knowledge of the Far East.
Binding worn, especially around the spine, boards a little rubbed, corners bumped. Very light marginal foxing, dust-soiling or browning (never affecting the plates; title-page a little more browned), a little thumbing to a few leaves, edges of some leaves slightly frayed, but overall in good condition. Cordier, Sinica I, pp. 48-49; Koeman, Atlantes Neerlandici I, Anv 1; Lada-Mocarski, Bibliography of books on Alaska, no. 2; Löwendahl 401; Lust 155; Phillips 3189; Roberto Ribeiro, ed., Jesuit mapmaking in China: DAnvilles Nouvelle atlas de la Chine (1737) (2014), passim; Shirley BL T.HALD-3A/3B/3C (3 copies of 2 eds.?); STCN 299131637 (5 copies; cf. 212908979 for the other ed.); Tooley, Maps and mapmakers, pp. 106-107; Walravens, China illustrata 37.
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Asia  >  China
Cartography & exploration  >  Asia | Atlases, Charts, Maps & Globes