An Account of an Embassy to the Court of the Teshoo Lama, in Tibet; containing A Narrative of a Journey through Bootan, and Part of Tibet. To which are added, ; and Observations Botanical, Mineralogical, and Medical, by Mr. Robert Saunders. - Captain Samuel Turner, Lieutenant Samuel Davis, Robert Saunders 1800 - Printed by W. Bulmer and Co. for G. and W. Nicol, London - First Edition A clean wide-margined first edition of ‘the first eye-witness report on Tibet and Bhutan to be published in English.’

It also contains the drawings of Samuel Davis ‘a surveyor and draftsman for the Bengal Army, he accompanied the second British embassy, in 1783, to Druk Yul, the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon. These elegant depictions attest to the only foreign artist “of distinction” to show Bhutan, and the first outsider to paint scenes from these mountains’ [Michael Aris
Views of Medieval Bhutan].

In addition, is the marvellously Mona-Lisa’esque ‘
Yak of Tartary’, an engraved aquatint by De la Motte of the Bhutanese yak that Turner successfully shipped alive back to Hastings, where it was painted by George Stubbs.
  Illustrated with folding engraved map of Bootan and Tibet by Turner (55 x 23.5 cm), and thirteen plates - nine from ‘views taken on the spot, by Lieutenant Samuel Davis, and engraved by James Basire, from the original drawings in the possession of Warren Hastings, Esq.’, one engraved aquatint by De la Motte of ‘The Yak of Tartary’ from a painting by Stubbs, two engraved views from Turner engraved by James Basire, together with a folding engraved plate of Umin and Echen characters.

‘The purpose of Turner's 1783-4 mission, like that led by Bogle in 1774-5, was to further Hastings' ambitions of promoting British-Indian trade across the Himalayas, and to satisfy his scientific and scholarly interests through Asian exploration. Although Tibet's capital at Lhasa remained firmly closed to European travellers because of Chinese opposition, the quasi-autonomous principality of the Panchen Lama, centred on Shigatse, responded more willingly to foreign overtures. The death in Peking (Beijing) of the third Panchen Lama, Lobsang Palden Yeshé (1738-1780), who had served as Bogle's most hospitable host, gave Hastings the opportunity to send a complimentary mission to the child who was recognised as the lama's incarnation, Lobsang Tenpé Nyima (1782-1853). Turner's lyrical description of his audience on 4 December 1783 with this child later created much interest… From the lama's own biography in Tibetan it is clear that Turner's sensitivity, tolerance, and good manners were warmly welcomed at the lama's court… Turner's sober account of carefully observed conditions in Tibet and Bhutan, their forms of government, religious customs, trade, and topography, has stood the test of time and remained a source of great value… the only account of those countries available to English readers until the publication in 1876 of the journals of George Bogle and Thomas Manning’ (ODNB).

The geographical focus of this work is split between Bhutan (180 pages) and Tibet (246 pages), together with thirty pages of appendices.

‘The book remained the only account of those countries available to English readers until the publication in 1876 of the journals of George Bogle and Thomas Manning. Through the editions that quickly followed in French (1800), German (1801), and Italian (1817), the book had a considerable impact on the European imagination’ (ODNB).

‘Without comparison the most valuable work that has yet appeared on Thibet’ – Pinkerton (quoted in Cox).

References: Yakushi
Catalogue of Himalayan Literature T140. Cox I 346. Cordier Bibliotheca Sinica 2909. Löwendahl, China Illustrata Nova 711.

Quarto (29.3 x 22 cm) pp. [2] xxviii 473 [3]. All plates present (6/12/2016).
  In a contemporary binding of quarter tree-sheep lather over marbled boards, smooth spine decorated in gilt, with black morocco title label lettered in gilt, speckled edges.   Condition: Near fine, some offsetting from plates, in very good contemporary binding, wear to corners, edges and spine ends, rubbing to marbled paper boards.   Ref: 109619   Price: HK$ 33,000