96 folding leaves. Two juan in one vol. Large 8vo (295 x 205 mm.), orig. patterned brown semi-stiff wrappers, new stitching. [Korea]: Preface and colophon dated 1917.
First edition and rare; we find no copy of our first edition in WorldCat. This work contains invaluable observations on Chinese customs and cultural objects, including clothing, magnificent tombs and dwellings, the abundance of local products, farming techniques, and city life.
"A classicist who reads ten thousand chapters worth of books should travel ten thousand li worth of road, and then what he sees and hears will expand his inner horizons. If not, then he will be writing clichés. Not leaving one’s home to wander is to be like the “frog in the well” [who thought that the well amounted to the whole world and knew nothing of what lay outside it]."
These are the words of Shen Qiqian 沈起潛, a native of Hangzhou in Zhejiang in southern China, who wrote a Preface for this collection of prose and poetry related to Ch’oe Tu-ch’an’s travels in China. The book, and Shen’s preface, were written in 1818. Shen continued:
Master Ch’oe Tu-ch’an, provincial graduate of Chosŏn, together with his fellow students traversed the ocean. Set adrift by powerful winds they landed in [Zhe]jiang. Travelling via Siming, they reached Qiantang [i.e., Hangzhou]. The officials took care of them and lodged them at Xianlin Temple. The temple is a few li from my home, so I could travel to get a look at them. I saw that he had been writing poetry, and using the brush instead of speaking, I asked to know his name. He then took out the Record of My Voyage, in which he had noted down their encounters with dangerous winds in a literary collection.
The collection that Ch’oe showed Shen that day in Hangzhou eventually became this book, which recounts how Ch’oe’s ship went off course by Jeju island and then landed in Zhejiang, from whence Ch’oe was able to travel back to Korea via Beijing. The book contains poetry, some of which was exchanged with Chinese people, and a detailed diary of his journey. Our first edition contains a Preface by late-Chosŏn literatus Sŏ Chŏng-ok (or Seo Jeong-ok) 徐廷玉 (1843-1921), dated 1917, in addition to the one by Shen Qiqian. There is a colophon by Ch’oe’s descendant Ch’oe Chi-yŏng (or Choe Ji-yeong) 崔址永, likewise dated 1917.
Fine copy. The book is very rare. We can locate other copies of the first edition only at Korea University, Yonsei University, and Keimyung University.
Item ID: 9413