Three Years Travels from Moscow over-land to China: thro' Great Ustiga, Siriania, Permia, Sibiria, Daour, Great Tartary, &c. to Peking. To which is annex'd an accurate Description of China, done originally by a Chinese author - E. Y. Ides 1706 - W. Freeman, London - First edition in English A clean example of this profusely illustrated and important work in contemporary full calf binding.

First published in Dutch (1704) to which the translator added the illustrations for this first English edition, consisting of 30 newly engraved plates (seven of which are double page folding plates, and one larger folding plate ‘
The Ambassador’s entry thro’ the famous wall’), in addition to the engraved title page, and the large and important map ‘Russorum Imperatori’ by Petro Alexewitz, considered ‘the best of all foreign maps which were based on the Russian original sources and which have exercised a great influence on the development of Russian cartography’ (Imago Mundi III 87).

Ides headed an embassy to Peking, which set out from Moscow in 1692 and returned in 1695. ‘He composed his journal for the information and satisfaction of Czar Peter the Great who was well pleased with the results and rewarded the author with the post of Privy Councillor. The Russian embassy had less trouble with the enormous self esteem of the Chinese than many earlier and later embassies. Under the emperor then ruling, Kang hsi, ministers were courteously received and enabled to transact their business as at any other court. The expedition added considerable geographical knowledge to the little that was known about Manchuria and China’ [Cox].
  The 'Short description of the vast Empire of China, by Dionysius Kao, a native of that Country’ [113-207], gives a concise historical and geographical description of the empire province by province, followed by chapters on religion and customs [Walravens]. In addition to the information about China this trip report is the first ‘reliable patrimonial-ethnographic representations of Siberia’ (Griep Luber-655).

Provenance: Henry Benson (d.1725) of Dodford, Northamptonshire, with his armourial bookplate and signature to pastedown and title page, then by descent to the Knightley family of Fawsley, Northamptonshire with their armourial bookplate.

References: Cordier,
Bibliotheca Sinica 2468. Lust Western Books on China 519. Löwendahl, China Illustrata Nova 294. Cox I 330. Cat. Russica J 177. Adelung II 387. Henze, Enzyklopädie der Entdecker und Erforscher, II 683. for map see Bagrow-C. 76 ff. Morrison I, 372-73.

Quarto (Binding Size 25.3x20.5cm), pp. [2] [12] 210 [4].
  In contemporary full panelled calf, decorated in blind, rebacked with later white title label lettered in decorated in gilt.   Condition: Very good, spine rebacked with later spine label, internally very good to near fine, some repair to edges of folding plates and tab of large map, toning and light spotting to earlier pages.   Ref: 109663   Price: HK$ 40,000