‘The most comprehensive work on Asia published in Europe during the early colonial period’ (Landwehr). ‘The first book to give a comprehensive account in text and illustration, of the peoples, places, and natural history of Indonesia’ (Bastin & Brommer).
Valentijn (1666-1727) was a Calvinist minister in the service of the VOC, particularly on the Spice Island of Amboina (1686-1694 and 1707-1712) and in Java, where he assembled material for these volumes. Valentijn’s work was greatly helped by the unprecedented degree of access he was given to the VOC’s archives and his ability to weave material from now lost maps and manuscripts into his magnum opus. Of particular interest are the accounts of Tasman’s and Vlamingh’s voyages. That of Tasman’s voyage includes the earliest views of Tasmania, whilst Vlamingh’s includes the first representation of the black swan (in volume III) with his ship at anchor at the mouth of the Swan River.
Volume I, part I contains the preliminary matter plus the Philippines and Acapulco; volume I, part II covers the Moluccas; volume II and volume III, part 1 cover Amboina; volume III, part 2 covers Amboina, Celebes, Borneo, and Further India; volume IV, part 1 contains Java; volume IV, part 2 contains Java, Surratt, China, Formosa, and Valentijn’s 1726 voyages; volume V, part 1 covers Coromandel, Persia, Malaya, Sumatra, and Ceylon; volume V, part 2 covers Malabar, Japan, Cape of Good Hope, and Mauritius.
First edition. 5 vols, folio (36 x 21.5 cms approx.), engraved frontispiece, portrait, & 267 engraved plates and maps, most double-page or folding, some with several views, a few conjoined, with engraved illustrations in the text, illustrations by F. Ottens, J.C. Philips, J. Goeree, G. Schoute, O. Eliger, D. & W. Jongman, L. Lamsvelt, N.F. Diamaer, and J. Ledeboer, mostly after drawings by M. Balen; the famous Tabulae Insulae Orientalis, which includes an early depiction of Australia, is present at the beginning of vol. I, contemporary calf-backed boards, some closed tears, bindings slightly worn, a very good set.
Landwehr (VOC), 467; Cordier (Indosinica), 927-930; Cordier (Japonica), 426-428; Mendelssohn II, 535; Tiele II, 1121; Nissen (ZBI), 4213.
Stock ID: 98302