Dell historia della Chinas
Roma, Martinelli, 1586. (Cordier I, p 10; cfr Lust 23; Boxer South China in the sixteenth century). In quarto (27,5x16,5cm), (8) 380 (16) pp. Washed copy, rebound in contemporary vellum. First and last leaves with small restorations, affecting a few letters. Clean, wide margined copy.
First edition in Italian of this instant bestseller. There were three editions in Italian in 1586, one by Bartolome Grassi; one by Vicentio Pellagallo and this one by Giovanni Martinelli. " ces editions ne sont que des exemplaires du meme tirage avec des noms differents; ce qui le prouve c'est que la p 378 est dans tous cifres par erreur 578" (Cordier, I, p 10). Curiously, Lust calls the copy he has seen "in octavo" and gives a much smaller size: 18x10,5 cm). Mendoza (1545-1618) was an Augustinian monk at the court of Rome. Pope Gregory XIII ordered him to collect all that was known at the time about China. Mendoza was never in China. The work consists partly of travel accounts by Augustine and Franciscan monks. Another source as material gathered on China by father Martin de Rada in Fukien. His work became the standard authority at the time. It appears as one of the first general histories/ descriptions of China . " The first, serious survey of China, it ran some 33 editions in Western Europe between 1585 and 1613. Its influence can be imagined" (Lust, nr 23)