London: Churchill, 1701. An engraved frontispiece portrait of Johann Nieuhoff, an official of the VOC and important writer and illustrator of contemporary China, whose study of China was produced in 1665 by his brother Hendrick, and titled 'An embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, emperor of China: ..... at his imperial city of Peking wherein the cities, towns, villages, ports, rivers, &c. in their passages from Canton to Peking are ingeniously described by John Nieuhoff; '.
The work was essential to European understanding of China as it was the only reliable source (along with the reports of the Jesuits) of information and images available at the time. The work was translated into French, German, Latin and English, and was the first to include 150 true to life illustrations drawn by Nieuhoff himself. In 1649 he joined the East India Company, first in Batavia and then in China as steward at the embassy which aspired to gain trading rights with China's southern coast. His specific duties were to
observe all "farms, towns, palaces, rivers, ... [and other] buildings" that he might encounter, drawing them "in straight form and figure", as well as remains of the historical victory of the "Tartars" (Manchus) that brought an end to the reign of the Ming dynasty. He remained in China until 1657.
Nieuhoff wears an elaborate costume and holds a rolled sketch in his right hand; in the background is a sailing ship. 7 x 11 1/4" on paper 7 3/4 x 12" Very good condition. Item #20655