KIRCHER, Athanasius. La Chine ... illustre de plusiers monuments tant Sacrs que Profanes, et de quantit de Recherchs de la Nature & de l'Art. Amsterdam: Jan Jansson and the heirs of Elive Weyerstraet, 1670.
2° (376 x 245 mm). Engraved additional title page, 2 engraved folding maps, 3 folded plates and 19 (of 20?) full-page plates, numerous half-page engravings in text. (Apparently lacks plate Qqq “Le Hiam ou Cerf musqué” listed in the Table, some occasional light browning and spotting, marginal repair on Y2, corner repaired on Aa, stain on M4.) Contemporary French armorial binding: full brown mottled calf, gilt-fillet borders on covers, interlaced gilt initials at corners, arms gilt-stamped in center on sides, raised bands, spine compartments gilt with interlaced initials, red morocco lettering piece (rebacked preserving original spine, somewhat dried and worn). Provenance: Hélie du Fresnoy (1614-1698; binding).
FIRST EDITION IN FRENCH. La Chine is regarded as one of Kircher's most historically significant works. Kircher was a man of considerable learning and discrimination, which he brought to bear with considerable success on the sources he used for this work. Kircher drew on the work of the Jesuits in China including Johann Adam Schall, Bento de Goes, Martin Martini, Johann Grueber, Michael de Boym, and Heinrich Roth. The first edition (1667, in Latin) of this work included for the first time in print important accounts and documents relating to geography, botany, zoology, religion and language. Kircher's work was the first to include a vocabulary of Chinese and the first to include reproductions in the West of the Sanskrit alphabet and grammar. In the present edition both maps were re-engraved, as was the plate facing p. 184 (p. 168 in the Dutch edition, see previous lot).
Cordier Sinica I, 26-27; Lust 38; Morrison II, 138; De Backer & Sommervogel IV, 1064; Pei-t'ang 272. On the library of Hélie Du Fresnoy, see Baron Jeróme Pichon, “Memoir sur M. du Fresnoy, bibliophile du XVIIe siecle” (Paris, 1893); Bibliothèque Raphaël Esmerian, II, p. 68-71.