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First Dutch editions of 8 accounts of the Middle & Far East, from Marco Polo’s voyages to the capture of Formosa by the pirate Zheng Chenggong

POLO, Marco.
Reisen, en beschryving der Oostersche lantschappen; ...
-HETOUM of Corycus. Historie der Oostersche lantschappen; ...
-[BRACCIOLINI, Poggio, and Girolamo di SANTO STEFANO]. Reysen naar Indien, en d'oostersche landen; gedaan by Nicolaus Venetus, en Jeronymus van St. Steven.
-[Anonymous VOC officer in Formosa]. Verhaal van de verövering van 't eylant Formosa door de Sinesen.
Amsterdam, Abraham Wolfgang, 1664. With 4 engraved plates.
(2) BOURGES, Jacques de. Naaukeurig verhaal van de reis des Bisschops van Beryte uit Frankryk te lant en ter zee naar China.
Amsterdam, Abraham Wolfgang, 1669. With 8 half-page engraved illustrations in text.
(3) Verhaal van drie voorname reizen naar Oostindien, te weten van Johan Jacobsz Saar, Volkert Evertsz, en Albrecht Herport.
-SAAR, Johann Jacob. De reisbeschryving ... naar Oostindien, sedert ... 1644. tot ... 1659. ...
-OLEARIUS, Adam. De beschryving der reizen van Volkert Evertsz. [= Volquard Iversen] naar Oostindien. ... uitgevaren in ... 1655. en in ... 1668 ... gekeert.
-HERPORT, Albrecht. De beschryving der Oostindische reizen ... sedert ... 1659. tot ... 1668. ...
Amsterdam, Jan Rieuwertsz & Pieter Arentsz, 1671 (works 2 and 3 dated 1670 on their title-pages). With 8 engraved plates, the last 4 sometimes attributed to Romeyn de Hooghe or his school.
3 editions (the 1st containing 4 works and the 3rd containing 3 works) in 1 volume. 4to.Contemporary vellum. [12], 99, [8], [1 blank], 70, [2], 25, [1 blank], 12; [2], 126; [6], 198 pp.
€ 28,000
Ad 1: First Dutch edition, translated apparently from a French edition, but supplemented with additional text and notes from other sources, of Marco Polo's account of his voyages from Venice to China and back, and of his numerous voyages within China and elsewhere in Asia, dictated by him in 1298. Polo's account of his voyages remains one of the earliest and most important Western records of Asian history, peoples and culture and for many years remained the primary source for most Europeans' knowledge of the orient. It also records information about 13th-century Asia that has not survived in any other source.
The present edition adds three further accounts of Far Eastern lands and peoples, all in their first Dutch editions. The first is that of Hetoum of Corycus (ca. 1240-ca. 1315). The second additional text is the humanist Poggio Bracciolini's account of the travels of the Italian merchant Niccolò de' Conti (ca. 1395-ca. 1469) from Venice via Syria, where he learned Arabic, Bagdad, around the Arabian peninsula to the Gulf and Iran, where he learned Persian, to India, the East Indies, Southeast Asia, possibly southern China and back in the years 1419-1444. His linguistic skills make his testimony especially valuable. Finally, a 12-page appendix, gives what appears to be the first eye-witness account of the capture of the Dutch-controlled island of Formosa (Taiwan) by the Chinese pirate Zheng Chenggong (1624-1662) in 1661/62. It also gives information on the VOC's trade, taxation and relations with Chinese colonists and indigenous "wilden" (wild men).
Ad 2: First Dutch edition of a popular account of an overland voyage from France to the Far East, ending in China, by Jacques de Bourges (ca. 1630-1714), who accompanied the French titular Bishop of Beirut, Pierre Lambert de la Motte, on the newly established Société des Mission Etrangères's first expedition to the Far East. They left Marseille in June 1660, and travelled via Malta, through the Holy Land, Syria, Iran, Iraq and India, to Siam (Thailand). Bourges gives extensive descriptions of the people, their customs and costumes, and the places he visits. The book ends with some notes on the bishop's voyage to China by sea and on Bourges's return voyage to France and to Rome, where he reported on the conditions for missionary work in Siam.
Ad 3: First and only Dutch edition of accounts of three voyages made under the auspices of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) by Johann Jacob Saar, Volquard Iversen (Evertsz) and Albrecht Herport.
Johann Jacob Saar joined the VOC as a soldier and travelled to Batavia in 1645. He served in the Banda Islands and Amboina, and was involved in an expedition to Surat and Persia in 1649. He also served in Ceylon, where he was present at the siege of Colombo and Jaffnapatam in 1655-58. He returned to Europe in 1660.
The German adventurer Volquard Iversen sailed to Batavia in 1655, and served as a soldier for the VOC for three years on the island of Seram. He sailed for Europe in 1661 on the Arnhem, but was wrecked in the Indian Ocean: the account is illustrated with a plate of this shipwreck. After 9 days in the ship's longboat, he reached the coast of Mauritius. It includes the last eye-witness account of a living dodo.
Albrecht Herport, a Swiss soldier born in Bern, joined the VOC in Amsterdam in 1659 and sailed in the ship Malacca to Batavia, surviving an attack by pirates on the way. His present journal "is particularly valuable for its highly detailed accounts of the Dutch military campaigns with which Herport was personally associated" (Howgego).
With a transparent stain in the lower outside corner through much of the book and a couple quires slightly browned in ad 2, but generally in good condition. The binding is also stained stained, but is otherwise good. editions. Ad 1: Cordier, Sinica, cols. 1986-1987; Howgego P126; Tiele, Bibl. 872; ad 2: Howgego P11 (see also D39); Tiele, Bibl. 178; cf. Cordier, Sinica, col. 827; ad 3: Howgego S4, I22, H74; Landwehr, VOC 313; Tiele, Bibl. 952.
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Related Subjects:

Asia  >  China | Indonesia | Southeast Asia | VOC - Dutch East India Company
Cartography & exploration  >  Asia
Maritime history  >  Mutiny, Piracy & Shipwrecks | VOC & WIC
Middle east & islamic world  >  Arabian Peninsula & Gulf States | Cartography & Exploration