TRIGAULT, Nicolas (1577-1628). Litterae Societatis Iesu e regno Sinarum annorum MDCX. & XI. Augsburg: Christoph Mangius, 1615. 8° (154 x 91mm). Large folding engraved plate (stained in early quires causing skillfully-repaired small losses on title and a few other leaves, title laid down, skillfully repaired small tears on plate, small ink spots throughout affecting text, small wormhole in lower margin at beginning, occasionally touching catchword, a few leaves with light mainly marginal waterstaining). Modern old-style boards.
Trigault had joined the Jesuit mission in China in 1610 and returned to Europe in 1613: 'After arriving at Rome in 1614, Trigault arranged to have published in one substantial volume the Annual Letters from China of 1610 and 1611. Written at [the mission superior] Longobardo's command after the death of [Matteo] Ricci [in 1610], these letters stress the importance of keeping Peking at the center of the missionary effort in China, the need to respect Chinese ways of dealing with foreigners, the contrast between the peace and order in China and the turbulence in Japan, and the desirability of making China into an independent province of the Society and of sending more missionaries into the waiting harvest' (D.F. Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe, Chicago, IL and London: University of Chicago Press, 1993, III, p.372). The first letter gives details of the political state of China and the progress of the Jesuit Missions and Christianity, including reports on the residencies of Beijing and Nanjing (pp.1-84). The second letter similarly provides a general account, together with special reports from the residences of Beijing, Nanjing, etc., and is illustrated with an engraved folding plate of the ground plan of the royal palace in Beijing (pp.85-294). The first edition was published in Italian by Zanetti in 1615 and the first Latin edition was published in Antwerp in 1615 (with an approbation dated Antwerp, 2 May 1615) and was followed shortly after by this second Latin edition in the same year, with an approbation dated Ingolstadt, 25 July 1615. Cordier Bibliotheca Sinica col. 808; Sommervogel VIII, col. 238; cf. Lust 852 (Antwerp: 1615 edition).