THÉVENOT, Melchisédec (1620-1692)
Relations de Divers Voyages Curieux. Qui n'ont point esté Publiées, ou Qui ont esté Traduites d'Hacluyt, de Purchas, & d'Autres Voyageurs Anglois, Hollandois, Portugais, Allemands, Espagnols; et de Quelques Persans, Arabes, & Autres Autheurs Orientaux....
Paris: André Pralard, 1683. Folio. Four parts in two volumes. Numerous pagination sequences. Includes thirty-five engraved plates and maps (twenty-four folding), with many in-text woodcut illustrations. Without the map of Japan, but with the Tasman map of Australia in the third issue. Bookplate on front pastedowns. Light toning and foxing.
Contemporary calf, spines gilt; skillfully rebacked with original spines laid down.
Among the greatest early voyage collections, with a copy of the Tasman map of Australia present in its third state.
A handsome set of Thévenot's significant and wide-ranging compilation of voyages and travels to the New World, Australia, Asia, the East Indies, the Far East, and Africa as it was reissued in 1683. This work is an essential document for the study of European discovery and exploration to all areas of the known world in the early modern period, reprinting numerous texts first published in several countries in a variety of languages. Complementing the texts are maps, plates, and in-text illustrations documenting voyages and explorations, geographic areas, coastal profiles, flora, fauna, native costumes and customs, and exotic alphabets and languages such as Chinese, Chaldean, and Mexican pictographs. Most significant among these is the first map to show a separate Australian continent, based on explorations by Abel Tasman. Melchisedech Thévenot (ca. 1620-92) was a French author and scientist. He is well known for his work on The Art of Swimming (1696) and for his invention of the bubble level. Additionally, he compiled this important collection of travel narratives which contains many important maps, including the Abel Tasman map of Terra Australis and some of the earliest and most detailed depictions of the Middle East. This work is particularly valuable for its content on China and the East Indies. Included here is a lengthy geographical description of the Chinese empire by Martino Martini, the Jesuit missionary and historian. Martini (1614-61) spent most of the last twenty years of his life in China, studying the country's history and geography in an objective manner, making his account incredibly useful to scholars both then and now. Accompanying Martini's work is a large and detailed map of China; there are several other sizable maps of the East Indies present as well, showing India, the Philippines, and Ethiopia. American voyages are discussed in the preliminary "Avis" in the beginning of the work, and the primary texts of New World interest are found in part four. These include Acarete du Biscay's Voyage...a Buenos Aires sur la Riviere de la Plate, first published in Paris in 1672 (which itself includes Juan de Palafox y Mendoza's "L'Indien, ou Portrait au naturel des Indiens"); a marvellous forty-six-page woodcut facsimile of the Codex Mendoza taken from the London 1625 edition of Samuel Purchas' Purchas His Pilgrimes; and Thomas Gage's Relation du Mexique, et de la Nouvelle Espagne, an abridged translation of Gage's The English-American, His Travail by Sea and Land which was first published in London in 1648. Beyond the Americas, the work includes François Pelsart's account of the discovery of Australia, complete with the rare map based on the explorations of Abel Janszoon Tasman. One of the first charts to show parts of the Australian coastline in detail, it records part of the coast of New Guinea, Tasmania, and much of the east coast of Australia. It is a basic work of Australian cartography, present here in its third issue, with the Tropic of Capricorn inserted and with the rhumblines. "In any state the map is a great rarity. It is one of the earliest charts devoted entirely to Australia, and is the first French map of Australia" - Davidson catalogue. Other historical relations include accounts of Egypt, accompanied by plates of the pyramids and mummies; travels into various portions of the Asian landmass, including Russia; voyages sponsored by the Dutch East Indies Company; and different expeditions to China. The work is extremely complex bibliographically, as different parts were reprinted to accompany texts issued in later editions. "There is really only one edition of Thévenot's collections, issued in five parts between 1663 and 1696. Part one was first issued in 1663, part two in 1664, part three in 1666, part four during 1672-4, and part five in 1696. During the course of publication, the parts of the collection already published were reissued with new titles pages in 1664, 1666, 1672, 1683, and 1696. Some sheets were reprinted for these reissues. The contents and arrangement of individual copies vary" - European Americana. This copy is the 1683 reissue, with all parts dated from that year. The Lenox Library's account of Thévenot, compiled in the 19th century, remains the best source in its delineation of the various segments and configurations. The maps are an invaluable source of information. According to the Lenox Library collation, all maps here are present excepting a map of Japan. The maps are as follows: 1) "Carte de la Colchida." 14 x 18 inches. Accompanies text on travels to Georgia and the Caucuses. 2) "Description de la partie des Indes Orientales qui es sous la domination du Grand Mogol." 12½ x 16 inches. Map showing the northern part of the Indian subcontinent as controlled by the Mughal Empire. 3) "Vera delineatio civitatis Bassorae nec non fluuiorum...." 14 x 16 inches. An engraved plan of the city of Bassora and its environs. 4) "Terre Australe." 16½ x 20 inches. The third state of the Abel Tasman map. 5) "Coste de Serlionne, or Tagrin à une Lieue & demie d'elle." 14 x 20½ inches. Engraved map of the coast and harbors of Sierra Leone. 6) "Ioao Teixeira cosmographo de sua megestad Afez em Lixboa...." 28 x 20 inches. Showing the eastern coast of Africa. 7) "Imperii sinarum nova descriptio." 19 x 25 inches. A large map of China and the southern portion of Japan, quite detailed. 8). "Muro que por entre serras se continua por mais de 360 leguas fi zer...." 20½ x 27½ inches. Shows Borneo, the Philippines, and the eastern coast of China. 9) "Route du voyage de Canton a Peking." 10½ x 26½ inches. The route of the Dutch Ambassadors. 10) "Entre'es quelques ports de la Mer Rouge de coste de l'Ethiopie...." 14 x 8½ inches. Shows three woodcuts of harbors on the Red Sea along the coast of Ethiopia." 11) Carte d'Ethiopie et de l'empire des Abyssins, autrement du Prestre-Jan...." 13½ x 16½ inches. Map of Ethiopia and the Abyssinian Empire. One of the primary collections of voyages and travels, documenting European explorations to all known areas of the world in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Davidson I, 19; European Americana 683/212; JCB (4) 127; Lenox III (Thévenot), passim; Palau 331564; Sabin 95333, 95334. . . Tooley 1248.