London, South Kensington
23 April 2008
TRIGAULT, Nicolas (1577-1628). Rei christianae apud Japonios commentarius, ex litteris annuis Societatis Jesu annorum 1609. 1610.1611.1612. collectus. Augsburg: Christoph Mang, 1615. 8° (155 x 92mm). Type-ornament head- and tailpieces, woodcut tailpieces and initials, full-page woodcut Jesuit device on verso of colophon. Retaining final blanks T7-8 (a few light inkmarks, occasional light spotting, light, virtually imperceptible marginal dampstaining on some leaves, skillful repair to small paper-flaw on I1). A remboçitage into contemporary vellum (lightly marked, small chips at spine ends, skillfully-repaired crack on upper board causing small loss, minor worming on lower board and endleaves).
FIRST EDITION OF TRIGAULT'S RARE ACCOUNT OF THE JESUIT MISSIONS IN JAPAN. Trigault had joined the Jesuit mission in China in 1610 and returned to Europe in 1613 with the journals of Matteo Ricci, which he edited as De christiana expeditione apud Sinas (Augsburg: Christoph Mang, 1615), and, in the same year he also wrote this work on the Jesuit missions in Japan, which is based on the letters of the Portuguese Jesuit missionary João Rodrigues Girão (1558-1633). Girão began working as a missionary in Japan in 1583; through his intense study of Japanese he soon mastered the language and became known as one of the leading European experts upon it, writing a comprehensive Japanese grammar Arte da lingoa de Japam, published at the missionary press in Nagasaki between 1604 and 1608. Rei christianae apud Japonios commentarius is arranged thematically, with chapters dedicated to the various missions and fields of missionary activity in Japan; each chapter narrates the history of its subject with chronologically-arranged extracts from Girão's letters. In 1618 Trigault returned to China, where he compiled an account of the resumed persecution of Christians -- both missionary and neophyte -- in Japan between 1613 and 1620, De christianis apud Japonios triumphis (Munich: 1623); he died in Nanking five years later. RARE: only one other copy of the work is recorded by ABPC since 1975. BL German 1601-1700 T-714; Cordier Japonica col. 272; Sommervogel VIII, col. 239.
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