• Sale 7471

    Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts

    14 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 117

    BAYER, Theophilus (Gottlieb) Siegfried (1694-1738). 'Museum Sinicum, in quo Sinicae Linguae et Litteratura ratio explicator... Petropoli, Ex Typographia Academiae Imperatoriae Anno 1730'.

    Price Realised  

    BAYER, Theophilus (Gottlieb) Siegfried (1694-1738). 'Museum Sinicum, in quo Sinicae Linguae et Litteratura ratio explicator... Petropoli, Ex Typographia Academiae Imperatoriae Anno 1730'.

    Manuscript, 2 volumes in one, 2° (380 x 270mm). Titles, half-title, text in Latin, written in black, brown and red ink in a neat italic hand on thick paper watermarked 'Honig Zoonen', ruled in pencil, some phrases or words in Greek, Chinese and Arabic, with 51 FULL-PAGE PLATES OF CHINESE CALLIGRAPHY, one with calligraphic drawing of a bird, index (occasional light surface soiling). Contemporary red morocco (worn). Modern box.

    Apparently the only known manuscript copy of Bayer's Museum Sinicum, 'the first detailed book about the Chinese language to be printed in Europe' (C.R. Boxer). Bayer's history of sinology and lexicon was published in 1730 in octavo; it is possible that the present manuscript is a fair copy of Bayer's work, perhaps made in preparation for printing and so pre-dating the published version. The text of the manuscript -- a large folio and so different in format -- differs only slightly from the printed text (for example in word order, in the addition of phonetic versions of characters given in western script; words which were to appear in italics in print are here underlined). The quality of the Chinese characters, executed with both thin and thick brushstrokes, is superior to those reproduced in the published version, suggesting they were drawn by a Western calligrapher copying or learning directly from Chinese sources. One plate (I: tab 5, p.40) reproduces the work and stamp of the scholar Yang Shiqi (1365-1444).

    The Prussian classical scholar T. S. Bayer published his first sinological work, De Eclipsi Sinica in 1718 when municipal librarian at Köningsberg. From 1726 he was keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities at the Academy of Sciences in St Petersberg. His own collection of Chinese and oriental books and manuscripts is held at Glasgow University Library (see K. Lundbaek, T.S. Bayer, 1694-1738: Pioneer Sinologist, London, 1986).


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