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China Monumentis Qua Sacris quà Profanis, Nec non variis Naturæ & Artis Spectaculis, Aliarumque rerum memorabilium Argumentis Illustrata, Auspiciis Leopoldi Primi Roman. Imper. Semper Augusti Munificentissimi Mecænatis.

Kircher, Athanasius (1602-1680)

Published by Apud Joannem Janssonium à Waesberge & Elizeum Weyerstraet,, Amsterdam:, 1667
Hardcover
From Liber Antiquus Early Books & Manuscripts (Chevy Chase, MD, U.S.A.)

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Folio: *4, **4; A-Z4; Aa-Hh4. (*1 is the engraved title page) Kircher?s China. A Very Fine Copy of the True First Edition "In 1667 the learned German Jesuit, Athanasius Kircher, published his ?China Illustrata? at Amsterdam. Gathering his materials from the works of other members of the Society, Kircher wrote one of the century?s most influential treatises on China. His primary purpose was to establish the authenticity of the Nestorian monument discovered in Sian, and to that end he produced in print the original Chinese and Syriac inscriptions on the monument, the Chinese text in Romanization, and finally a Latin translation and his explication of the Chinese and Syriac texts. In addition, Kircher included a sizeable description of China and other places in Asia. For example, in a section devoted to the various routes to China and the history of Christianity in China, he sketched all the old overland routes, including that of Johann Grueber and Albert d?Orville from Agra to Peking, as well as giving a description of Tibet. He traced the activities of Christians in China from the tradition of St. Thomas to Boym?s reports about the conversions at the Ming pretender?s court and Adam Schall?s experiences at the Ch?ing court during the K?ang-his era. Following what he thought to be the spread of idolatry from the Near East to Persia, India, and finally to East Asia, Kircher described the religions of China, Japan, and India. His extensive discussion of Hinduism and the Mogul Empire derived from the letters of Heinrich Roth (1620-68), his fellow Jesuit. There are several chapters on government, customs, geography, fauna, flora, and mechanical arts of China, and a very interesting scholarly discussion of the Chinese language, which indicates that Kircher had made considerable progress in it. There is a long Latin-Chinese dictionary, and Finally Father Johann Grueber?s (1623-80) responses to a long series of questions posed by the duke of Tuscany. Kircher?s volume contains several beautiful pictures taken from Chinese and Mughul originals which Grueber brought back to Europe with him in 1664." (Lach pp. 485-486)"Although the "China Illustrata" was not the product of Kircher?s own experience in China, it was frequently used or cited as a source of information y later writers. Some of the information contained in it, for example the text of the Nestorian monument, Roth?s description of Hindu religion, and Grueber?s description of Tibet, had not appeared in print before. "Roth?s contribution to Kircher?s work includes a description of the ten transformations (avatars) of Vishnu and several illustrations of Indian provenance, as well as a discussion of the Sanskrit language which is illustrated with five plates presenting examples of Sanskrit writing. Roth returned to Europe in 1662 accompanied by Grueber, who with Father Albert d?Orville had journeyed overland from Peking to Agra by way of Lhasa. In the busy years after his return to Europe, Grueber evidently tried to write a description of Tibet and f his journey across the Himalayas. Apparently he never finished it. He may have sent parts of it to Kircher, however; he wrote several letters to Kircher and apparently sent him some of his sketches, all of which formed the basis for a description of Tibet and of Grueber and d?Orville?s journey in the "China Illustrata"-probably Europe?s earliest account of the Tibetan capital. Kircher?s account also contains eleven very interesting plates made from Grueber?s sketches, including one of the Dalai Lama and one of the Potala Palace in Lhasa which was frequently reproduced and served as Europe?s only glimpse of Lhasa for the following 250 years."(Lach pp. 527-528)"China Illustrata'' was in many ways [Kircher's] most significant work historically, being the first publication of important documents on oriental geography, botany, zoology, religion and language. Kircher admits in the preface that his main concern was to preserve the fruits of his. Bookseller Inventory # 3051D

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Bibliographic Details

Title: China Monumentis Qua Sacris quà Profanis, ...

Publisher: Apud Joannem Janssonium à Waesberge & Elizeum Weyerstraet,, Amsterdam:

Publication Date: 1667

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: THE TRUE FIRST EDITION..

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