SUN TZU -- AMIOT, Joseph Marie (1718-1794, translator). Art militaire des Chinois, ou recueil d'anciens traités sur la guerre ... on y a joint dix préceptes addressés aux troupes par l'Empereur Yong-Tcheng. Paris: Didot l'ainé, 1772. 4º (261 x 196mm). Half-title, 33 hand-coloured engraved plates, 23 of these by Boutrois. (Small loss in the margin of N4, three plates faintly yellowed.) Contemporary half sheep, spine in compartments with gilt roll tools, edges red (spine label detached, spine head chipped, corners rubbed, joints cracked, sides scuffed).
First edition in a European language of The Art of War, a work of enduring influence in Eastern and Western thought across various fields, including business and legal strategy. Amiot, a Jesuit, reached Beijing in August 1751 and stayed there until his death in 1794. Over more than forty years studying China’s culture Amiot became largely responsible for much of what the West came to know about China.
Sun Tzu’s Art of War is one of the most influential works written on the strategy and tactics of warfare. Sun Tzu (544-496 B.C.) was a Chinese military strategist, revered throughout Asia but virtually unknown in Western culture until Amiot’s translation. In this classic work, he treats of management, environment, leadership, and creativity, among other topics. It is joined here by other important works on Chinese warfare, tactics, and philosophy, and the illustrations depict military troop exercises, armaments, uniform, costumes, etc. Amiot was an important conduit for western knowledge of the Chinese culture. In addition to the Art of Wat, he was translator for and confident of the Qianlong Emperor, wrote a biography of Confucius, an authoritative Manchu dictionary, and other works on history, science, music and art. Brunet VI, 8572; Sloos, Warfare 3131.