85 (lacking title); 74; 70; 76 folding leaves. 8vo, orig. wrappers (with some paper flaws, carefully repaired, mostly with text supplied in manuscript), manuscript title label on upper cover of Vol. I. [Jingdu: Ying hua tang Xu shi shu fang, 1746].
First edition of this rare and well-known book, a manual of the Manchu language compiled as talks on different subjects. It is a bilingual handbook of words and phrases, expatiating on each entry in the imperial Qing wen jian in question- and answer- form.
“As one Manchu scholar noted in 1746 [in the present work], ‘the twelve heads have always been the key entryway [to the Manchu language], but students cannot understand them by themselves unless they come with explanations’.”–Marten Soderblom Saarela, The Early Modern Travels of Manchu. A Script and Its Study in East Asia and Europe (2020), p. 72 (& see p. 58).
Very good set, some fairly light dampstaining in each volume. Preserved in a chitsu. The title-page in the first volume was never bound in.
❧ Pang, Descriptive Catalogue of Manchu Manuscripts and Blockprints in the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (2001), no. 319–(their copy seems to lack a number of leaves in the first volume).
Item ID: 7486