DU HALDE, Jean Baptiste (1674-1743). Description Géographique, Historique, Chronologique, Politique et Physique de l'Empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie Chinoisie. Paris: P.G. Le Mercier, 1735.
4 volumes, 2° (426 x 278 mm). Title-pages printed in red and black. Engraved title vignettes by M. Baquoy after A. Humbolt, 4 engraved head-pieces after Humbolt, 65 engraved plates, the majority of these maps, many folding or double-page (a few with contemporary outline-coloring), by Delahaye, Desbrulins, and Fonbonne after Humblot, Lucas, Le Parmentier and others, engraved and woodcut initials, woodcut head-pieces. (Lacks half-titles, some occasional pale spotting or minor browning, minor marginal hole in Aaaaaa1.) Contemporary French mottled calf, sides with central gilt-stamped arms, spines in seven compartments with six raised bands, each with red and brown gilt-lettered lettering pieces in two compartments, gilt-decorated panels in the rest (a few repairs to joints and spine ends, a little wear to joints and extremities). Provenance: early signatures deleted on titles (with minor ink damage); unidentified arms on covers; Bibliothèque Congregation de Notre Dame, Maison des Oiseaux (bookplates); Alberti Vialis Bibliotheca Kircheriana (bookplates).
THE FIRST EDITION OF DU HALDE'S "ENCYCLOPEDIC SURVEY OF CHINA" (Lust) -- and one of the earliest European sources on Chinese ceramics. Du Halde, who became a Jesuit priest in 1708, was entrusted by his superiors to edit the published and manuscript accounts of Jesuit travellers in China. The present work records the narratives of twenty-seven of these missionaries (listed in volume I, pp. li-li). Also notable is the "Relation succinte du voyage du capitaine Beering dans la Sibérie" (volume IV, pp.452-458), which is the first published account of Vitus Bering's 1728 voyage through the eponymous straits, whose importance he failed to recognize after sighting no land. The accompanying double-page map titled "Carte des pays traversees par le Capne. Beering depuis la ville de Tobolsk jusqu' Kamtschatka" (bound between pp.452 and 453) is based on Bering's manuscript map, which was given to the King of Poland and in turn passed to Du Halde to be reproduced here. Bering's map is "THE FIRST PRINTED MAP OF PART OF PRESENT ALASKA" (S.I. Schwarz and R.E. Ehrenberg, The Mapping of America). Brunet II:870; Cordier Sinica I, 45-48; Cox I:355; De Backer & Sommervogel IV:35; Lada-Mocarski 2; Lust Western Books on China 12; Wickersham 6099.