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You are here: CollectionsOnline  /  The history of Japan, giving an account of the ancient and present state and government of that empire; of its temples, palaces, castles and other buildings; of its metals, minerals, trees, plants, animals, birds and fishes; of the chronology and succession of the emperors, ecclesiastical and secular; of the original descent, religions, customs and manufactures of the natives, and of their trade and commerce with the Dutch and Chinese. Together with a description of the kingdom of Siam. Written in High-Dutch by Engelbertus Kæmpfer, M.D. ... ; and translated from his original manuscript, never before printed, by J.G. Scheuchzer, F.R.S. and a member of the College of Physicians, London. With the life of the author, and an introduction. Illustrated with many copper plates, volume I. (II.)
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KAEMPFER, Engelbert (1651--1716)
[The history of Japan. 1727]
The history of Japan, giving an account of the ancient and present state and government of that empire; of its temples, palaces, castles and other buildings; of its metals, minerals, trees, plants, animals, birds and fishes; of the chronology and succession of the emperors, ecclesiastical and secular; of the original descent, religions, customs and manufactures of the natives, and of their trade and commerce with the Dutch and Chinese. Together with a description of the kingdom of Siam. Written in High-Dutch by Engelbertus Kæmpfer, M.D. ... ; and translated from his original manuscript, never before printed, by J.G. Scheuchzer, F.R.S. and a member of the College of Physicians, London. With the life of the author, and an introduction. Illustrated with many copper plates, volume I. (II.)
London: printed for the translator, 1727.
2 vols; 34.6 cm. (2º)
I: [12], lii, 391, [5] p., add. engr. t.-pl., XX pl. (16 fold.)
II: [4], 393--612 [i.e. 220], 75, [11] p., add. engr. t.-pl., XXI-XLV [i.e. 25] pl. (23 fold.)

The additional engraved title-plate in each volume is in Latin, reading: 'Historia Imperii Japonici ...'. Kaempfer was physician to the Dutch East India Company Embassy to Japan who he travelled between Nagasaki and Edo (Tokyo) in the 1690s for audiences before the Shogun. This is the first issue of the first edition of this work, which was only published in the original German after translations in French, Latin and Dutch had appeared. It includes an 'Appendix To The History Of Japan' in vol. II which is a translation of six sections from the author's Amoenitates exoticae (Lemgo 1712) relating among other things to tea, paper manufacture, moxa, acupuncture and ambergris. The Soane copy, with gutter margin 3 cm, height 34.2 cm, is the ordinary paper issue; there was also a large paper issue. A re-issue, with a cancel title-page in vol.I dated 1728, includes a second appendix in vol. II (with a separate title-page also dated 1728) containing an extract from Kaempfer's 'Journal of a voyage to Japan, made by the English in 1673'. French and Dutch translations were issued (probably simultaneously) at The Hague in 1729 (q.v.) and followed by a further Dutch-language edition printed at Amsterdam in 1733. The plates are signed as engraved by Gerard van der Gucht, C. Moore (i.e. Charles Moore?), George King and William Hulett, in part after the author's drawings. However, according to Scheuchzer, 'Very few [drawings] were left finished by the author: all the rest I have drawn with my own hand, either from his unfinished originals, or from the prints and drawings of the Japanese in the collection of Sir Hans Sloane' (vol. I, p. lii). For history of the publication of this work and for further bibliographical information, see articles by Hans Hüls in H. Hüls & H. Hoppe (eds.), Engelbert Kaempfer zum 330. Geburtstag (Lemgo, 1982), pp. 191--258. Plate XLII is misnumbered XXII. ESTC t123496; E.G. Cox, A reference guide to the literature of travel, vol. 1, 1935 [reprinted 1948, 1969], p. 332; Hooked on Books 10.2.

Copy Notes Bought from Thomas Boone on 10 July 1815 for 3 guineas. (Spiers Box). With Boone's price and codes in pencil on front free-endpaper of vol. I [erasure] on 45 Large Plates / 2 Vols. £3..3-. Soane had purchased the French translation (q.v.) six days previously. Earlier inscriptions in ink (deleted) and pencil on front pastedown of vol. I.

Binding C18th sprinkled calf, gilt double-ruled borders, gilt double-ruled spine compartments with gilt-tooled lozenge centrepieces, red morocco spine-labels.

Reference Number 890


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