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Het gezantschap der Neêrlandtsche Oost-Indische Compagnie, aan den grooten Tartarischen Cham, Den tegenwoordigen keizer van China. - Johan Nieuhof
Het gezantschap der Neêrlandtsche Oost-Indische Compagnie, aan den grooten Tartarischen Cham, Den tegenwoordigen keizer van China. - Johan Nieuhof


  • Auteur:
  • Uitgever:
    Michiel Cnobbert [=Jacob van Meurs]
  • Bindwijze:
    Leder band
  • Genre:
  • Jaar:
  • Collatie:
    [xiv], 464, [ii] PagesAddition
  • Illustraties:
    copper engraving
  • Plaats:
    Antwerpen [=Amsterdam]

Het gezantschap der Neêrlandtsche Oost-Indische Compagnie, aan den grooten Tartarischen Cham, Den tegenwoordigen keizer van China.

Johan Nieuhof

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Leder band  Tweedehands vanaf € 5.000,00.


Folio in-4. `
With an engraved title, portrait of Nieuhof, folding map of the voyage, 33 magnificent double-page engraved plates (mostly views and plans, with the notable exception of the Tartar cavalry striking marching to war) and 104 half-page engravings in the text.
Printed in two columns throughout. The typographic title printed in red and black. The plates are captioned either in Dutch or French, or the combination Dutch/French.
For the first edition (1665), cf. *Landwehr (VOC) 539 & *Cordier 2345. This specific edition in neither. On Nieuhof, see *Howgego N25.

A copy of the odd Antwerp edition of Nieuhof’s Gezantschap. Research suggests this 1666 edition of Nieuhof’s Gezantschap is a revised edition published by Jacob van Meurs, under the name of Cnobbert. An Antwerp printer named Cnobbaert was well-known at the time so the fake moniker would easily blend in. Although not all copperplates from the first edition were used for printing this edition, they are the same plates (although some captions have been changed slightly). This 1666 edition’s title page states: “ontrent de 150. Afbeeltsels” (around 150 illustrations –a total of 140), where the first edition states “over de 150. Afbeeltsels” (more than 150 illustrations, even though in reality it contained a total of 147). A subtle but nevertheless poignant difference. In total 140 plates are present in the 1666 edition, where the 1665 edition has The text was rewritten with a Catholic audience in mind, more suitable for distribution in the Southern Netherlands. (For the complete research see: De Zeventiende eeuw, 26 (2010), pp. 73-90 - Guido van Meersbergen). The spurious imprint is probably why neither Cordier, nor Landwehr mention this specific edition in their otherwise splendid bibliographies.
Halfway through the 17th century the VOC decided the time had come to strengthen the commercial bonds with the Far East, and more specifically the Chinese Empire. At the time the only realiable information came form the Portuguese Jesuits based in Macau. To end this Portuguese trade and information monopoly an envoy was sent, under direct command of Opperkoopmannen Pieter de Goyer and Jacob de Keyser. Since China was largely unknown territory, the mission was not only to tie economic bonds, but also to keep a detailed and illustrated travelogue of the journey. This is where Nieuhof was added to the retinue.
Shortly after his return to the Netherlands in 1658, Johan left again - this time for the Dutch East Indies. The manuscript of the travelogue and his drawings were left with his brother Hendrik for editing and publishing. The work’s first edition was published in 1665 by Jacob van Meurs, a French translation was published in the samen year. Later translations included English, Latin and German.
Nieuhof’s work was the first to show true impressions of China to a wide European public. Earlier illustrated publications on China contained fantasy illustrations based solely on hearsay descriptions. The engravings – after the sketches by Nieuhof – not only show views and plans of cities, but also customs and important events during the journey. The magnificent plates served to inspire the chinoiserie movement, which became especially popular in the 18th century. Many chinoiserie designs were based on the engravers’ interpretations of Nieuhof’s sketches (meaning, a slightly romanticised take on the reality Nieuhof observed in China). The publication of this work was to be the inspiration for a great amount of similar works on travels around the globe, such as Olfert Dapper’s works on Africa and Asia.

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In a late 18th/ early 19th century gilt and blindstamped full calf binding, spine decorated with gilt bands and gilt tiling. Rear inner hinge broken, both hinges with cloth tape repairs. The final two pages (binder's notice and blank) almost loose. With ms. ex-libris on the flyleaf dated 1666 and 1798 (probably the owner responsible for the later binding). The binding with worn corners and spine ends, the boards lightly scuffed. Both outer hinges rubbed. Some pages with marginal repairs.

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