Abrégé Historique des Principaux Traits de la Vie de Confucius, Célèbre Philosophe Chinois. Gravées par Helman, d'apres des dessins originaux de la Chine envoyés à Paris par M. Amiot missionaire a Pekin - Isidore Stanislas Henri Helman (engraver), Pierre-Charles Levesque (translator), Jean-Denis Attiret (illustrator) 1786 - chez l'Auteur and M. Ponce, Paris - First Edition A clean example of this quarto (page size 24.5x17.5cm), containing twenty four engraved illustrated plates, an engraved title page and twenty eight engraved plates of descriptive text in French taken from a larger work on Confucius (Pensées morales de Confucius 1782) by Pierre-Charles Levesque (who is referred to by Helman as Mr.l’Eveque).

‘Engraved by Helman [1743-1806] and drawn by Jean-Denis Attiret [1702-68], official painter to the workshop at Peking, copied from a set of Chinese miniatures which were sent by the Jesuit missionary Jean-Joseph-Pierre Amiot [1718-93] in Peking to Berlin, who was Louis XIV’s Minister of Art and the one in charge of France’s relations with China. The engravings illustrate the life and deeds of Confucius.’
  Although undated, its publication was announced in the Journal de Paris on 7th Ctober 1786. According to Lowendahl this quarto edition was originally published unbound for 12 livres or in paper wrappers for 13 livres and 10 francs, at the same time a large paper copy was available for 18 livres, sometimes refrred to as a folio (42x28cm) it utilised the same plates to produce the same size images, but printed them on larger sheets allowing for larger blank margins.

‘Isidor Helman was a French engraver and print seller with a reputation as an engraver of genre scenes. One of the first pupils at the free school of drawing in Lille, he studied under Louis-Jean Guéret and Louis-Joseph Watteau.’ - Bibliotheca Wittockiana
Western Travellers in China Discovering the Middle Kingdom .

Reference: Cohen 262-3. Cordier,
Bibliotheca Sinica, 667. Lust Western Books on China, 729. Löwendahl, China Illustrata Nova, 647.

Quarto (binding size 25.3x18.8cm, sheet size 24.4x17.5cm). pp. 24 plates [on 24 leaves] 29 plates of text [on 26 leaves].
  Bound in 19th century marbled cloth, blind embossed, spine with additional dark brown ruling, gilt lettering to spine and front board, specked edges, later endpapers.   Condition: Near fine, minor wear to corners, very faint faint foxing to title page and tissue guards.   Ref: 105448   Price: HK$ 12,000