London: John Macock for the Author, 1669. First edition. A tall folio volume (pages 16 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches) in contemporary mottled calf boards, rebacked with six raised bands and gilt in the spine compartments, preserving an earlier spine label. Pages lightly age toned, the occasional spot of foxing or soiling, but in general, an excellent, authentic copy. Unwashed and with just one minor repair to close a tear and secure one of the plates. Signatures: A - Iiii(2); a-e(2); B-Ee(2). With engraved portrait of John Ogilby, engraved title page, double-page map of China, double-page plan of Canton (Kanton), 18 other leaves of plates (one leaf with two separate plates), and 121 other engravings within the text. Blank leaves in the text at Pp2 and e2. Lacking the final blank, otherwise complete (the only copy currently available with all plates).
Nieuhoff traveled to China in 1655 as a steward for Peter De Goyer and Jacob De Keyzer as representatives of the Dutch East India Company, with plans to break the Portuguese monopoly over trade with China. Nieuhoff's narrative, along with the accounts of traveling Jesuits were the first reliable narratives of China available to a European audience. The work includes many incidental remarks on the manners and customs of the Chinese, together with a second part comprising a general description of the Chinese Empire. The fine plates and illustrations show town views in China, Tibet and Tartary, together with subjects such as costume and natural history. Ogilby added extracts from the writings of Father John Adams and Athanasius Kircher's "China monumentis" (1667) to supplement the volume. (Item #1119)