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TIMKOVSKI, G. [Egor Fedorovich]

Voyage à Peking, à travers la Mongolie en 1820 et 1821.

Traduit du Russe par M. N******, revu par M. J.-B. Eyriès. Publié avec des corrections et des notes par M. J. Klaproth.

Paris: Dondey-Dupré Père et Fils, 1827 Stock Code: 100540
£2,500.00
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FIRST PUBLICATION IN THE WEST OF A MAP OF THE FORBIDDEN CITY

First edition. Since the early 18th century the Russians had by treaty maintained a school and a church in Peking. The terms also allowed them to send a mission once every ten years to change the personnel. At the time no other Western nation had the same opportunities to study the country and its people. "In particular, his description and mapping of the dual route through the Gobi Desert, which he crossed from Kiachta to Beijing, added richly to the information gathered by his predecessors" (Henze). Also, published here for the first time in the West, is a map of the Forbidden City. The text is here corrected and annotated by the great German orientalist Julius Heinrich Klaproth, who spent many years in service of the Russian Academy of Sciences, accompanying Golovkin's embassy to China of 1805, and carrying out important linguistic and ethnographical surveys in the Caucasus in 1808-9. After his resignation from the Russian Academy, following an exile enforced by the Napoleonic wars, he eventually settled in Paris, where, after the intercession of Humboldt, he received a pension to continue his work and to publish from the French capital. Tipped into the plate atlas is a letter to Klaproth in Berlin in the rather decrepit hand of the celebrated anthropologist, naturalist, physiologist, historian and bibliographer Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, from Göttingen, 8 October 1812. Blumenbach writes as secretary of the Königliche Societät der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen to thank Klaproth for the "generous gift of 130 Asiatic coins", and to tell him that he has "been elected a corresponding member of the Society's Historical Class. I have already had your diploma prepared and am waiting for an opportunity to send it to you." Interestingly Klaproth has evidently been attempting to sell the Society a number of books (the coins perhaps as sweeteners?). "The important collection of Chinese books which Your Honour offers to sell to us the two Chinese dictionaries and notes for the pronunciation, plus the annals of the Chinese realm, we should like to incorporate into our public library, provided they can be separately acquired. If so, I shall await your gracious reply." This accompanied by a clearer, contemporary German transcription and a translation into French. An extremely appealing copy of a far from common work.

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Description

2 vols., octavo text (201 x 122 mm), folio atlas (313 x 235 mm) containing the map, plans and plates; text volumes in contemporary green quarter sheep, matching marbled boards, title gilt direct to the spine, edges sprinkled blue, marbled endpapers, atlas recently bound to match.

Illustrations

Atlas volume containing large folding lithographed route map, plan of Forbidden City, folding plate of the Russian Embassy at Peking, 8 lithographed plates - mostly after Chinese oil or gouache originals - and a title-page vignette. Half-titles to the t

Condition

Boards of text volumes restored, light browning throughout, but a overall very good set.

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