CONFUCIUS, compiler. Le Chou-King, un des livres sacrés des Chinois... Traduit & enrichi de Notes, par Feu le P. Gaubil... Revu & corrigé sur le texte chinois... par M. de Guignes... Paris: chez N. M. Tilliard, 1770.
4° (253 x 190 mm). 4 engraved plates. Contemporary quarter calf over mottled boards, smooth spine gilt, green morocco lettering piece. Provenance: Le Breton (signature on title).
FIRST EDITION OF THE ‘SHU JING’ IN FRENCH, and the First European language translation of Chou-King, one of the five classical and sacred texts of Chinese culture. It is a collection of rhetorical prose attributed to figures of ancient China, and served as the foundation of Chinese political philosophy for over 2,000 years. According to a later tradition, the ‘Book of Documents’ was compiled by Confucius (551–479 BC) as a selection from a much larger group of documents, with some of the remainder being included in the Yizhoushu. However, the early history of both texts is obscure. Beginning with Confucius, writers increasingly drew on the Documents to illustrate general principles, though it seems that several different versions were in use. The work is translated by Antoine Gaubil (1689-1759), and edited by the famous orientalist Joseph de Guignes (1721-1800).
“Discours préliminaire, ou Recherches sur les tems antérieurs à ceux dont parle le Chou-king, & sur la mythologie chinoise, par le P. de Premare” (pp. [xliv]-cxxxviij).
“Notice du livre chinois nommé Y-king, ou Livre canonique des changemens, avec des notes, par M. Claude Visdelou, evêque de Claudiopolis” (pp. -436).
Brunet II, 222.