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Rare account of an important Russian diplomatic visit to China, with one of the first Western descriptions of Siberia

IDES, Evert Ysbrants.
Driejaarige reize naar China, te lande gedaan door den Moskovicen afgezant, E. Ysbrandts Ides...
Including: KAO, Dionyzius. Korte beschrijving van t magtig keizerryk China ...
Amsterdam, Pieter de Coup, 1710. 4to. With an engraved title-page bound as a frontispiece before the typographical title-page, which is printed in red and black, a large folding map of Russia and parts of Asia, 8 folding engraved plates of cities and other views, 1 full-page engraving, and 21 half-page engravings in the text. Further with woodcut and engraved decorated initials, a large engraved head-piece at the start of the main text, 2 woodcut floral tail-pieces, and a small woodcut floral vignette on the typographical title-page. 19th-century gold-tooled light brown splattered paper with a red title-label on the spine. [30], 243, [4], [1 blank] pp.
€ 3,950
Rare and richly illustrated work on the three-year journey (1692-1695) of a Russian envoy from Moscow to Beijing, in order to negotiate trade relations between Russia and China. The expedition was undertaken by a small group of people, led by the Danish merchant of Dutch descent and diplomat Evert Ysbrand Ides (1657-1708), in the service of Tsar Peter the Great (1672-1725). It greatly added to the geographical knowledge on Northern Manchuria and China. The present account provides one of the first Western descriptions of the Gobi Desert, the Dalai Lama & Buddhism, Lake Baikal, the Great Wall, Mongolia, the city of Beijing, Guangzhou, Siberia, and the customs of the Siberian people.
The map Ides used for his journey had been created by Dutch cartographer, wroter, diplomat, and Amsterdam mayor Nicolaas Witsen (1641-1717) in 1687. Ides supplemented and improved it during his travels. After his return, Ides sent Witsen the new map and the transcription of his travel journal. Witsen translated it into Dutch and published it in 1704, with the corrected map. The work became popular and was soon translated into French, English and German. The present copy is the second Dutch edition, published a few years after the first.
Ides' diplomatic visit was successful. China received the envoy courteously and enabled it to conduct its business. Ides' envoy had a much easier time with the Chinese than many earlier and later Russian envoys. Peter the Great was so pleased with the results, that he made Ides a member of his Privy Council.
All engravings are very crisp and clear. The edges and corners of the boards are scuffed and the front and back are somewhat rubbed, showing the cardboard underneath. The end leaves, title-page, and blank recto of the frontispiece are foxed, without affecting the engraving, with a water stain in the top corner of the 4 leaves in signature ††, and on the outer half of pp. 231-end of the work. Otherwise in good condition. Catalogue de la section des Russica, I176; Cordier, Sinica, p. 2469; Howgego, vol. 1, 14; STCN 169912930 (11 copies); Tiele 519; WorldCat 902472370, 257635409, 561453661, 894528946, 65093708 (19 copies, including 7 also in STCN); cf. Adelung II, p. 385-388.
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Related Subjects:

Asia  >  Cartography & Exploration | China
Cartography & exploration  >  Asia | Voyages & Travel
Europe  >  Russia