China: Its Costume, Arts, Manufactures, &c. -
Jean Baptiste Breton de la Martinière
1813 - J. J. Stockdale, London - Volumes I, III, and IV Fourth Editions, Volume II Fifth Edition
A beautifully bound set of these four little volumes, containing 80 hand-coloured engraved plates with accompanying descriptions, which represent the whole range of Chinese society, including the various trades and arts. Particularly interesting are the numerous depictions of itinerant salesmen and craftsmen with ingenious methods of transporting their stock and machinery.
The plates ‘originated in the activities of Bertin, Secretary of State from 1762-1780, who had responsibility for the Compagnie des Indes and French Jesuits in Peking. He subsidised generously the Jesuits and got two Chinese converts to take science courses in France. On return to China, they produced some 400 drawings of arts and crafts, thus moving outside the usual narrow missionary interests.’