ANDRADE, Antonio de (1580-1634)
Nuevo Descubrimiento del gran Cathayo, ò Reynos de Tibet, por el Padre Antonio de Andrade, de la Compañia de Iesus, Portugues, en el año de 1624 [caption title]
Lisbon: por Mateo Piñeiro, 1626. Quarto. (7 1/2 x 5 5/8 inches). Collation: A-E4, F3 (ll.1-22 text, with caption title and 8-line woodcut initial at start of text on recto of l.1; [1 leaf] "licencias" on recto, verso blank).
Modern blue morocco-backed marbled paper-covered boards, spine lettered in gilt
The very rare second printing of the first authoritative printed account of a European traveller's visit to Tibet.
The first Spanish-language edition, printed a few months after the first edition which was in Portuguese. This edition is not Cordier, and OCLC records only a single example: the Bernardo Mendel copy now in the Indiana University library. Antonio de Andrade (1580-1634) was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary who entered the order in 1596. From 1600 to 1624 he was the principal missionary in the Indies. In 1624, with the support of the Moghul emperor, he set out for Tibet, hoping to make contact with a reported trans-Himalayan Christian community. Travelling north to the upper Ganges and then to Mana, on the present-day border of Tibet, he continued on past local resistance to the state of Guge, where he encountered his first Buddhists. Andrade successfully convinced the King to allow the teaching of Christianity, and returned to Agra, where he wrote the present letter to his superiors, relating his journey and his experiences. Andrade would ultimately return to Tibet twice, consecrating a church at Tsaparang in 1626.
Andrade's work is important as being the first undoubtedly authentic first-hand description of Tibet by a European: the 14th-century visit of Odorico de Pordenone remains disputed. It was very popular and quickly went through a number of editions. "Throughout Catholic Europe this 'discovery' (so proclaimed by the title of the work, though Andrade never called it that himself) was hailed as a great victory for the faith and as possible aid in circumventing the dangers from the Protestant fleets on the lengthy sea route from India to China....Through Andrade's book and his later letters and those of others, Europe learned more about Tibet's location, size, political divisions, religion and customs.
Lach Asia in the Making of Europe III, pp.338-339, 1773-1775; Sommervogel I, 329.1; cf. Cordier Sinica IV,2898-9 (1st edition in Portuguese and Madrid Spanish-language edition of 1627); Streit V272; Howgego I, A88.