Faria y Sousa's account of Portuguese Asia

Faria y Sousa, Manuel de. Asia Portuguesa.

Lisbon, Bernardo Da Costa Carvalho (vol. 1); Antonio Craesbeeck (vols. 2-3), 1674-1703.

Small folio (200 x 295 mm). 3 vols. (32 [instead of 34]), 396, (42) pp. (8), 968, (2) pp. (8), 564, (6) pp. With 8 (instead of 19) folded plates with views and plans (all woodcuts; lacking the 11 engraved plates in vol. 1); vols. 2 & 3 with engraved architectural titles and engraved portraits at end of preliminaries, vol. 1 with 1 engraved coat of arms to dedication; ca. 50 woodcut portraits of navigators and governors (over 40 full-page). Attractive, uniform 18th century speckled calf, spines gilt with raised bands and red labels. Edges sprinkled red.


Very rare first edition (but volume 1 in the second edition), with an impressive iconographic setting. A trove of information regarding the Portuguese involvement with China and the Chinese missions, the wars between the Dutch and the Portuguese in Macau, the trade relations with India and the Portuguese outposts there (Daman and Diu). Most notably, it deals extensively with the history of the Arabian Gulf, narrating the capture of Ormuz in 1507 by the Portuguese Afonso de Albuquerque which gave the Portuguese full control of the trade between India and Europe passing through the Gulf. It also speaks of the discovery of Baharem and Catif and the wars with King of Al-Hasa. Further, the aspect of trade is described: there are several mentions of "the Fishery of Pearl, so famed that draws all Mankind thither". Faria y Sousa also gives accounts of later events such as the building of "forts of great strengths" in Muscat, after the fall of Ormuz in 1622 which opened up the Persian trade with England in the Gulf.


From the collection of the U.S. conservationist Esmond Bradley Martin (1941-2018), long a U.N. special envoy for the conservation of rhinoceros.


Some scattered worming and staining, mostly very minor, but one leaf with a tissue repair to the text. The first volume lacks the engraved plates. The views present are those of Mozambique, Daman. Manar Alcoran, Mangalor, Fortaleza de Onor, and Barcalor in the second volume, and of Mascate and Macao in the third.


Cordier (Sinica) 2309. Cordier (Japonica) 378. Palau 86.692. Streit V, 476. Alden/L. 666/47. Sabin 28001. Laures 490. Takahashi 115. Lach/Van Kley, p. 355. Löwendahl, China illustrata nova, Supplement, 1570. Innocencio V, 416, 505. Cox I, 279. Conde do Ameal 888 (vol. 1 in 3rd ed.): "Obra importante... Muito rara".