An important, early description of Mongolia; first edition. A lovely example of this rare book, with hand-coloured plates and interesting provenance.
Bichurin (1777-1853) was named in 1805 leader of the 9th Russian Mission to Peking and head of the Sretenskiy monastery in this town. During his 14-year stay he learnt Chinese and compiled his own dictionary and prepared other scholar works for later publication. The first volume of the present work gives an account of the journey and the second volume a detailed examination of the geographical and political condition of the Mongols and their life and customs.
Two volumes in one, 8vo.. xii, 231pp with 5 hand-coloured lithographed plates; vi, 339 pp., folding engraved map with hand-coloured outlines. Later half-calf over dark red cloth, gilt lettering to spine and upper cover; spine a bit faded.
Provenance: Angus Ivan Ward (book label to upper paste-down; US consul in China and Russia during troubled times, and ambassador in Afghanistan. Ward (1893-1969) served in the U.S. Army during World War I and then became U.S. Vice Consul in Mukden, China, in 1926; then in Tientsin in 1927-29 and again in 1932. He was sent to Moscow in 1938, and served as U.S. Consul General in Vladivostok during WWII, in 1943. Before becoming U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan in 1952-56, he was back in Mukden as Consul in 1948, where he became the subject of the Ward Incident (1948-49). During the final years of the Chinese Civil War, Ward and the consulate staff were imprisoned and held under house arrest by Mao Zedong’s People’s Liberation Army for almost a year, creating a diplomatic rift with the United States. Ward built a very good collection of travel accounts and language books related to China and the Far East, most books being bound similarly to this one).
Stock ID: 94506