G. ROBERT DE VAUGONDY.

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Europe's Mid-18th Century View of China
[Paris, 1751]



China/ Korea.  ROBERT DE VAUGONDY, G.  [Paris: 1751]  L’Empire De La Chine dresse d’apres les Cartes de l’Atlas Chinois… 19 x 20 ½ inches.  Copperplate engraving with original outline color. Invisible mend lower centerfold, mend in lower margin, very good overall.                 


 This finely engraved map presents the state of European geographic knowledge of China in the mid-18th century.  French missionaries were active in the surveying of China in the first half of the century, and this map is an excellent summation of their efforts.  Both Korea and Taiwan are well detailed on it.  The map has one of the most elaborate cartouches to be found in Vaugondy’s work—a lively tableau of Chinoiserie topped by what appears to be a dancing Buddhist monk.  Many of Vaugondy’s cartouches were the work of female artisans and were often signed, so it is surprising this splendid one is unsigned.


 The Vaugondys, father and son, Gilles and Didier, were the leading map publishers of the French Enlightenment.  They employed strict standards in their selection of maps and in many cases subjected them to astronomically derived readings for latitude and longitude.  Moreover, “their frequent use of eighteenth-century sources, often from the 1740s, provided their atlas with up-to-date information.  While their preference was for maps that had been surveyed in the field and maps published in the region itself, they did not hesitate to turn to older sources when more recent maps were found to be lacking” (Pedley, p. 61).
Pedley, M.   Bel et Utile, no. 408.

Price: $650.00

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