Study of Chinese coins, ancient and modern
Description des médailles chinoises du Cabinet Impérial de France,
précédée d'un essai de numismatique chinoise, avec des éclaircissemens sur le commerce des Grecs avec la Chine, et sur les vases précieux qu'on y trouve encore. Paris Treuttel et Würz 1805
First edition. Folio (30 x 25 cm), pp.[viii], xiv, , 188, engraved plate, folding map, numerous text illustrations. With Chinese characters in text. A very good copy in contemporary paste-paper boards, printed spine label. All edges untrimmmed. Spine neatly repaired, boards rather rubbed. Scattered foxing throughout.
Cordier BS 688; Löwendahl 728; Lust 1130
A finely printed study of Chinese coins, based on the collection of the Cabinet Impérial. Hager includes an essay on trade between ancient Greece and China via the Silk Road. The finely engraved map depicts this trade route. The final twenty pages comprise a catalogue of sixty-four coins in the imperial collection, the earliest from the Tang Dynasty, and a description of the inscriptions on two ancient bronze vases in the collections of Van Hoorn and Denon, Director of the Musée Napoléon. Joseph Hager (1757-1819) taught Chinese in Paris and Pavia, and was an influential figure in the European study of Chinese. In 1801 he published a prospectus for a Chinese dictionary and "An Explanation of the Elementary Character of the Chinese", a work he described as the first proper study of Chinese characters. Other scholars disagreed. Julius Klaproth accused Hager of being a charlatan and published a scathing rebuttal in 1811.