Four-page map & two-page maps in Vol. I & six-page & two-page maps in Vol. II. 73; 88.5 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper cover, new stitching. [China]: Privately Published, 1870 & 1872.
First editions, and fine copies, of these beautifully illustrated accounts of the author’s archeological visits to the Qing imperial tombs. These two books were privately published by the author and are uncommon to find together and in nice condition. The prefaces to both works are printed in clerical-script calligraphy, and both works contain maps of the tomb complexes and surrounding geographical features. Separate maps show the waterways of the two regions.
The author, Dong Xun 董恂 (1807–92), was a high Qing official and writer. Originally from Jiangsu in the lower-Yangzi region, Dong served in both the central government and in provincial positions. Notably, he was intimately involved in Qing foreign affairs and was party to the conclusion of treatises with several European powers. Of importance for our book is the fact that Dong served for a long time at the Board of Revenue as well as intendant for waterways in the southern metropolitan region. His experience with the transportation of tax grain — much of which happened by river — and waterways are on display in these books.
In 1870 and 1872, respectively, Dong set out on tours of the Qing dynasty’s two tomb complexes in order to survey them for the purpose of repairs. He produced a very detailed diary for both trips that provide distances and descriptions of settlements on the way and geographical features. Dong both cites from scholarly and historical literature as well as gives “vernacular names” (su ming 俗名) for places he passed. He gives information on the transportation of tax grain and the opening up and dredging of waterways.
The maps were drawn by Dong’s son, Dong Lian 董蓮, and his student (shouye 受業) Wu Jingpei 吳京培. Dong Lian also collated the text of the volume on Yongning, whereas another student, Zhao Xihe 趙熙和, collated the volume on Fengtai.
Dong explains the titles in the body of the respective volume. In the case of the eastern imperial tombs, the “mountain mausolea” (shanling 山陵) had initially been given the imperial designation of “Phoenix platform mountains” or Fengtai shan 鳳臺山, which had subsequently been changed. In the case of the western tombs, “Mountains of eternal repose” or Yongning shan 永寧山 was the current imperial designation.
The book carries a seal with the text “ex libris Zhuang Yan of Beiping” 北平莊嚴藏書. Zhuang Yan (1899–1980) was an art historian and calligrapher.
Attractive set, preserved in a hantao.
Item ID: 9479