Popular and accurate 17th century Jesuit work about China. 

MAGALHÃES (MAGAILLANS), Gabriel de. A new history of China, containing a description of the most considerable particulars of the vast empire. London, printed for Thomas Newborough, 1688. 

8vo. Pp. (xxiv), 1-148, 193-352. With one large folding engraved plan of Peking (Beijing) and two illustrations in the text. Contemporary full mottled calf, expertly rebacked, spine richly gilt with five raised bands and red morocco title label, r.e. Bookplate (Thomas Weld, esq.) Old ownership inscription on title. 

First English edition of "Nouvelle relation de la Chine" published in Paris the same year, translated by John Ogilby. It is based on the Jesuit missionary Magalhães' Portugese ms which was carried back to Europe by Philippe Couplet in 1682. In Rome it was translated into French by Claude Bernou who also made the plan of Beijing on the basis of information in Magalhães' ms. "It is perhaps the most comprehensive and perceptive general description of China published during the second half of the Century" (Lach & Van Kley). Of special interest is a chapter devoted to the Chinese language and its phonetic variations. Includes a fragment of Chinese text taken from Ta hsüeh (Greta Learning), one of the Confucian Four Books, which most probably was the first presentation of a fragment of Chinese text to a European audience. (Mungello).

Cordier BS 36-7. Cf De Backer & S. 5, co. 308. Lach & Van Kley (1993:1),pp. 362 & 424. Löwendahl 189 & 1583. Cf Mungello (1989) p. 91-2 & 95-105. Cf Streit (1929), 2594. Wing M 247.

Price: Euro 3 800  / HK$ 34 000

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