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2017-09-08 00:50:16
BLAND, John Otway Percy, and E. BACKHOUSE.
China under the Empress Dowager. Being the History of the Life and times of Tzu Hsi, compiled from State Papers and the Private Diary of the Comptroller of the Household.
London, Heinemann, 1910. Large 8vo. Original sage-green cloth, lettered in gold black and with Imperial seal in red on upper cover, pp. xv, 525, [3], double-page plan of Beijing (in pagination), plates after photographs, light wear to cloth, occasioanl foxing to text, a good copy. First edition of probably the best book on the end of the Manchu dynasty. This book claims to be based on material from the diary of Ching Shan, a Ch'ing high court official, found in the house of a deceased writer following the Boxer Rebellion. Backhouse had arrived in Peking 1899 and spent most of his life in the city. There were suspicions of its source, and it was only proven a forgery after Backhouse's death in 1944. However, Backhouse must have had close connections with the imperial court and as a serious and talented oriental scholar and linguist, he gives a valuable picture of life in the closing days of the Ch'ing court as he saw it. Cordier 3487.
Bookseller: Henry Sotheran Ltd.

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