You searched for: Engelbert Kaempfer, M.D., J. G. Scheuchzer (translator)

SOLD - The History of Japan together with a Description of the Kingdom of Siam 1690-92 - Engelbert Kaempfer, M.D., J. G. Scheuchzer (translator)

1906 - James MacLehose and Sons, Glasgow - One of 1, 000 copies
A finely bound three volume set of Dutch doctor and scientist Engelbert Kaempfer’s influential ‘History of Japan’ first published in 1727, and not reprinted in full until this edition of 1906 which contains 162 illustrations including many folding maps and plates as well as in-text wood engravings. The set also includes Scheuchzer’s historical introduction, life of the author and the translator, and the appendix originally published in 1828 titled ‘Authentick Journal of a Voyage to Japan, made by the Engllish in the year 1673’.

The first two chapters (60 pages) describe Kaempfer’s voyage from Batavia (Jakarta) to Siam and a description of the court of Siam, the remaining 1,100 pages of text are dedicated to his observations of Japan, which remain a primary resource on Japanese life, culture, and society, during a period when the country was closed to foreigners.

‘Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716) was a noted scientist, physician to the Dutch East India Company, who spent ten years travelling throughout the Near and Far East before settling in Japan as physician to the trading settlement of the Dutch East India Company at Nagasaki between 1690 and 1693. He wrote two books about his travels, ‘
Amoenitatum Exoticarum’, which was valued for his medical and botanical observations throughout Asia. His second, and more famous book, ‘History of Japan’, was published posthumously in 1727. It remains a primary resource on Japanese life, culture, and society, during a period when the country was closed to foreigners.

From 1641-1853, Japan adopted a policy of seclusion and closed its ports for trade. The Dutch East India Company established a trading post, named Deshima, by exploiting a man-made island in the bay of Nagasaki so as to comply with the strict Japanese trade policy. Kampfer came to this “port” and stayed for two years, where he had the opportunity to visit Edo and study the local flora. His diplomatic skills and medical expertise enabled him to gain further access than most. His contributions to the West were not just his new discoveries, but his detailed descriptions and drawings of some 400 plants. He is the first westerner to bring Ginko seeds back to Europe, collect information on the practice of acupuncture and moxibustion, and document the cultivation, preparation, and ceremonies for tea.’ [Harvard Library Collection]

‘Returning to Europe in 1695, Kaempfer began to make arrangements to publish his findings. He produced a survey of Japanese botany, Amoenitatum exoticarum, in 1712, but died before he was able to publish his history of the country itself. Fortunately, his manuscript notes survived and were purchased by the botanist and collector Sir Hans Sloane (1660 –1753) who passed them to his librarian, Gaspar Scheuchzer (1702– 29), to translate into English. The resulting two-volume publication, of which this is a copy, was dedicated to George II. It was the most comprehensive European account of Japan for over a century and the first such work in English.

Kaempfer’s History also contained plates taken from authentic Japanese woodblock prints, including this, the first contemporary depiction of Edo to appear in European literature. The book’s influence was wide-ranging and it remained an important account of Japan and Japanese life until well into the nineteenth century’ [Royal Collection Trust]
 
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Price HK$ 9,500