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Seminal Chinese texts lithographed in Paris

[Klaproth, Heinrich Julius] Chrestomathie Chinoise, publié aux frais de la Société Asiatique. Paris [chez M. Cassin, agent de la Société Asiatique] 1833
First edition. 4to (28 x 20.5 cm), pp.[ii, Chinese title], 183, [2], [1, blank], 15, [1], full-page illustration on p.73. A very good copy bound in contemporary calf, spine professionally repaired. Bound without letterpress half-title, title, and seven-page preface by Klaproth. With ownership inscription, dated 1843, Paris, of George John Cayley (1826-78), a barrister educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, and a contemporary Chinese signature on blank leaves at front and back.
Cordier BS 1683; Löwendahl 890. COPAC records British Library & Cambridge only.

A compilation of Chinese texts begun in 1820 by François Lucie Molinier del Maynis, a student of Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat, Professor of Chinese at the Collège de France, but completed by Klaproth. Three Chinese works were given by Molinier to his lithographer to engrave: Book of Rewards and Punishments (Thaï chang Kan yng pian) (pp.1-16); Account of Cambodia (zhenla fengtu ji) (pp.21-73); and the first 15 chapters of the Gospel of Matthew in Chinese, translated by Robert Morrison. Although Klaproth considered these were not sufficiently elegant in style he retained the first two, but dispensed with the third as it was a translation. He added four further texts: Treatise on the Reward of Secret Benefits (wenchang zitong dijun yinzi wen) (pp.17-20); Story of the Chalk Circle (huilan ji) (pp.75-171); Thousand Character Classic (qianzi wen) (pp.171-183); Three Character Classic (san zi jing) (pp.1-15 - second sequence). All were considered essential to the understanding of Chinese culture and to show the broad scope of Sinology in its early stages. The texts were lithographed under the supervision of Stanislas Julien, Abel-Rémusat's successor as Professor of Chinese at the Collège, by Charles-Auguste Racinet, "This clever artist has managed to imitate the elegance of the original printing and has already enlisted pupils who will in future be well qualified to reproduce Chinese texts in Europe" (from Klaproth's preface). The letterpress half-title, title, and seven-page preface, (not present here) were printed at the Imprimerie Royale. Heinrich Julius Klaproth (1783-1835) a precocious student of Chinese, was named "academician extraordinaire" in St. Petersburg at the age of 24. In 1810 he had engraved in Berlin the Chinese characters he required for his catalogue of the Chinese books in the library of the Academy of Science. In 1816 he was appointed as the first professor of Chinese in Germany, at the University of Bonn. But he took no students, and spent the rest of his life in Paris where he was one of the founders of Journal Asiatique.