One double-page woodcut map in the text. 56; 60 folding leaves. Two vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, new stitching. [China]: Wei jing tang, Preface dated 1814.
An early, variorum edition (1st ed.: 1777) of this great classic, the Xiyu wenjianlu 西域聞見錄.
The Manchu official Qishiyi, in [the present work], offers a frontiersman’s view of the conquest quite different from that of the imperial center. Qishiyi, who earned his jinshi degree in 1754, served as a low-ranking official in charge of grain supply in Turkestan. He narrates vividly the struggle for succession to the Zunghar Khanate after Galdan Tseren’s death, describes the states bordering the Qing in Central Eurasia, and recounts the wars against Amursana, Khoja Jihan, and Burhan ad-Din, and the return of the Torghuts. Under the pen name ‘Chun Yuan,’ he takes on the persona of a commentator who reflects on the general principles exemplified by his account…
“He discusses in detail the major cities of Central Eurasia and the customs of many of its peoples, including the Kazakhs, Kirghiz, Andijanis, Hindustanis, Kashmiris, and Ottomans. His discussions include an extraordinary amount of detail about these peoples, clearly gathered from diverse sources, mostly travelers and envoys. This text contains more information about Central Eurasia than any of the other geographical works produced in his time…
“Qishiyi’s residence on the frontier had expanded his geographical horizons far beyond the conventional Chinese awareness of those within and those beyond the passes. He knew that the multifarious landscape of Central Eurasia contains realms and peoples whose identities challenged any conventional classification schemes.
The fine double-page map depicts the region.
Fine set and rare, preserved in a chitsu.
–Peter C. Perdue, China Marches West. The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), pp. 481-83.
Item ID: 9499