Maffei, Giovanni Pietro. L'histoire des Indes orientales et occidentales.

Paris, Robert de Ninville, 1665.

4to. 2 parts in one volume. (32), 353 (but: 351) pp., final blank. (4), 292 (but: 296), (24) pp. With 2 woodcut title-vignettes as well as several woodcut headpieces, tailpieces, and initials. Contemporary blindstamped full calf with giltstamped spine and spine-title. All edges sprinkled red.


First edition of this third French translation of the history of the West and East Indies by the Jesuit Maffei (1533-1603), professor of rhetoric in Genua, describing Portuguese conquests and the journeys of 16th-century Jesuits in the East Indies, Persia, Japan, China, Brazil, and other parts of America. Originally published in Latin in 1585 under the title "Historiarum Indicarum libri XVI", Maffei's account was here edited by the priest and historiographer Michel de Pure (1620-80). The extent and quality of his work surpass a 91-page translation by Edmond Auger published in 1571, as well as a 1604 translation by François Arnault de La Borie. Comprising 16 chapters, the de Pure translation is considered "a classic work on the subject [which] enjoyed great success when it appeared" (Borba de Moraes) and is particularly notable for its detailed account of Brazil as well as for its description of China and Japan, including a section on Japanese tea: "La boisson de ceux du Japon, est un suc tiré d'un herbe appelée chia, que l'on fait chauffer pour boire, & qui est extrêmement sain" (p. 230).

Lower board slightly rubbed. Interior occasionally browned and waterstained; marginal tear in p. 279 of part I, not touching text. In part I the pagination skips from 217 to 220; in part II from page 48 back to 45. From the library of the French bibliophile Jacques Laget with his bookplate to front pastedown.

De Backer/Sommervogel V, 299. Sabin 43783. Alden-Landis 665/124. Palau 146699. Brunet III, 1291. Borba de Moraes 509. Cordier, Sinica 784. Cordier, Japonica 66. Olivier 1352. OCLC 490191159.

Stock Code: BN#53644 Tags: , , ,