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The Historie of the great and mightie kingdome of China
London: Printed by I. Wolfe for Edward White,1588. - GONZALES DE MENDOZA, Juan (1545-1618). The Historie of the great and mightie kingdome of China, and the situation thereof: Togither with the great riches, huge Citties, politike governement, and rare inventions in the same. Translated from Spanish into English by Robert Parke. London: Printed by I. Wolfe for Edward White, and are to be sold at the little North doore of Paules, at the Signe of the Gun, 1588. 8vo., (7 2/8 x 5 4/8 inches). Woodcut device on title-page, 3 woodcut Chinese characters in the text on pages 92 and 93, one 10-line historiated initial, 1 9-line historiated initial, 5 9-, 8-, or 7-line floriated initials, 2 woodcut head-pieces, 3 -tail-pieces (natural weakness to page 183/184 leaving a small hole affecting the text). BEAUTIFUL CONTEMPORARY ELIZABETHAN binding of panelled speckled calf, each cover decorated with borders of blind fillets, surrounding an inner border of dot, semi-circle, and floret roll tools, with a large fleuron at each outer corner, the spine in six compartments, with five raised bands, morocco lettering-piece in the second, the others gilt ruled (small discreet and early repair to the head of the spine, joints a bit scuffed). Provenance: The Harcourt Family, with the engraved armorial bookplate, on the front paste-down, of Aubrey Harcourt (1852-1904), of Nuneham Park and Stanton Harcourt, High Sheriff of Oxford, Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, and Justice of the Peace, their sale Sotheby's London, 4th November, 2014, lot 189. First edition in English, of the revised and most complete edition of this EXCEEDINGLY RARE HISTORY OF CHINA, in a fine contemporary Elizabethan binding. Regarded as one of the most important and influential Elizabethan books of exploration and discovery. The first edition in Spanish was published in Rome in 1585 and this translation is taken from the revised Madrid edition of 1586. It was translated by Robert Parke, as he says himself, at the request and encouragement of the celebrated Richard Hakluyt, before the publication of his own "Principall Navigations". Arranged in three parts, the first part contains an account of the fifteen provinces of China "euery one of them is bigger than the greatest kingdome that we doo vunderstand to be in all Europe" (page 13), and descriptions of cities, towns, architecture: "in al places there be men excellent in architecture: and the necessaries that they have to build with is the best in the word" (page 16), of costume, religion, Kings and Emperors, taxes, the army, judicial system, navy, printing, fishing with ducks, artillery, marriage customs and criminals. As such, this is the first major survey of China in English, although travelers had been writing down their adventures to China since the first decades of the second millennium. The first account to appear in English was a rendering of Portuguese Galeote Pereira's 1565 description of China, as "Reportes of the Province of China" published by Richard Eden in his "History of Travayle in the West and East Indies", a translation of Peter Martyr, the second edition, published in 1577. The three woodcut Chinese characters/letters, found on pages 92 and 93, are THE FIRST TO APPEAR IN A EUROPEAN BOOK. Mendoza's account proved immensely popular and it ran to some 33 editions, in several languages, between 1585 and 1613. Actually Mendoza never visited China himself, but in 1562 he sailed for Mexico where he acquired original reports from Augustinian and Franciscan missionaries to the Philippines and China recounting the economics, politics and customs of those distant lands up to 1583. He also had access to a collection of works in Chinese acquired by Martin de Rada (or de Herrada) (1533-1578) in Fukien in 1575. The second part is devoted to three Spanish expeditions: that of Martin de Rada to the Philippines in 1575, Pedro de Alfaro's journey in 1578, and allegedly that of Martin Ignacio de Loyola in 1581, which was actually details of Tordesillas' voyage from Manila to China, [Attributes: First Edition; Hard Cover]
      [Bookseller: Arader Galleries - Aradernyc]
Last Found On: 2018-02-26           Check availability:      IberLibro    

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