Johannes Nieuhof. Legatio Batavica ad magnum Tartariae Chamum Sungteium. Amsterdam: Jacob van Meurs, 1668. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

Johannes Nieuhof. Legatio Batavica ad magnum Tartariae Chamum Sungteium. Amsterdam: Jacob van Meurs, 1668. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

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Johannes Nieuhof. Legatio Batavica ad magnum Tartariae Chamum Sungteium. Amsterdam: Jacob van Meurs, 1668. Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland City Libraries

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Legatio Batavica ad magnum Tartariae Chamum Sungteium

Author: Johannes Nieuhof
Ref No: 1668 NIEU
Date Created: 1668

Initially an agent for the Dutch West India Company and later and emissary for the richer and more powerful East India Company, Jan (or, in Latinised form, Johannes) Nieuhof (1618-1672) was among the most travelled men of the seventeenth century. Born in Westphalia, he lived for nine years (1640-9) in Brazil and also visited India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and parts of Africa. He served as secretary on the 1655-7 Dutch mission from Canton to Beijing to secure a trading agreement with the Chinese emperor, Shunzhi. He was killed by Malagasy tribesmen while investigating commercial opportunities in Madagascar.

Nieuhof’s account of the wonders to be seen in China excited the imaginations of readers throughout Europe. Much of the information in his text was cribbed from earlier writings by Jesuit missionaries, such as Nicholas Trigault, Martino Martini and Alvaro Semedo, but what distinguished Nieuhof’s book was its wealth of illustrations (thirty-five plates, one hundred and eight text-engravings and a folding map), based on the acutely observed drawings he made during the journey.

The copy presented to the Library by Sir George Grey in 1887 is a rendition in Latin (in the seventeenth century still a vital language understood by a majority of scholars), translated from the Dutch by George Horn, a professor at Leyden University.

Tags: 4gdft, 64zob7, China, dnli2j, Dutch, Dutch West India Company, engravings, exploration, George Horn, gnmls5, Holland, ibnaaz, ihjma, jc4jsu, lxeri, maps, msnli7, n1ufin, of77v2, ptwclg, qcrgl, qoq5m, qu1ikr, ro5xm, s1iuk6, utm0y, vzueoj, whum6c

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