Description de l'Empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie chinoise.
The general maps have original out-line color.
Volume I: With a large folding map of China and Taiwan and a great number of maps of Chinese Provinces.
Volume III: with plate of Chinese scientists, and several more showing plans.
Volume IV: With a large folding map of China/Tartary and a map of Corea (The first separate map of the peninsular). Maps of Tartary and Tibet.
Du Halde's beautifully printed and splendidly illustrated work is the summation of European knowledge on China in the 18th-century. It was begun by the Jesuit missionaries to China in 1708, and their completed manuscripts were presented to the Emperor Kang-hi in 1718. Kang-hi ordered further surveys and from them were constructed the well-known maps forwarded to father Du Halde and used by d'Anville for this work.
Because the principles and methods of surveying had greatly improved by the late 17th- and early 18th-centuries, the result was the most accurate mapping of China available in Europe at the time.
The maps are by Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d?Anville (1697-1782), ?the finest cartographer of his time? (Moreland & Bannister: Antique Maps, p.133).
For certain remote parts of northern China, Mongolia and Tibet, this work was the only adequate reference until the technological revolution in surveying in the 20th-century. In addition to the information on China, Du Halde's work includes highly important material on Alaska: Relation succincte du voyage du Capitaine Beerings dans la Siberie, appearing in vol. IV, is the first printed report of Bering's 1725-28 expedition.
The accompanying map Carte des Pays traversés par le Capne Beerings contains the first printed configuration of any part of Alaska, namely St. Lawrence Island. Both the report and map are based on manuscripts that Bering had presented to the King of Poland who, in turn, presented them to Du Halde for inclusion in this work.
Lada-Mocarski reports that in many copies pp. 451-2 in vol. IV have been supplanted by the map: in this copy, both are present.
References : Lada-Mocarski: Bibliography of Books on Alaska, #2 pp. 20-22: Cox I, p. 335: Cordier: Bibliotheca Sinica, I pp. 30-31: Wagner p. 156: Wroth: Early Cartography of the Pacific, 91.
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