"THE WISDOM OF THE CHINESE LEGISLATURE IS NOWHERE MORE CONSPICUOUS THAN IN ITS TREATMENT OF ROBBERS": WITH 22 FINELY HAND-COLORED FOLIO PLATES DEPICTING CHINESE PUNISHMENTS
(CHINA) [MASON, Major George Henry] (MILLER, William, publisher). The Punishments of China, Illustrated by Twenty-two Engravings. London: William Miller, 1804 [i.e., circa 1819]. Folio (10-1/2 by 14-1/2 inches), contemporary full straight-grain burgundy morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, all edges gilt. $3200.
Later edition of this survey of the punishments of China, illustrated with 22 folio engravings, each finely hand-colored. A handsome copy in contemporary morocco-gilt.
This collection depicts a variety of Chinese punishments for assorted crimes, as well as appearing before a magistrate, being conveyed to prison, and being conducted to trial. This volume originally formed part of publisher William Miller's six-volume series on costume, each volume separately issued: The Punishments of China (1801), The Costume of Turkey (1802), The Costume of Russia (1803), The Costume of China (1804), The Costume of Austria (1804), and The Costume of Great Britain (1804). This is a later reprint, as is shown by the watermarks (text leaves watermarked 1818; plates 1819) of the 1804 edition, text printed by Wilson rather than Bulmer. "The first edition was apparently in 1801" (Abbey—he had this circa-1819 reprint in his collection). Another edition appeared in 1808. Text in English and French. Abbey, Travel 532. Colas 2010-12. Prideaux, 317. Lipperheide 1522 (1808 edition).
Plates clean and fine, hand-coloring vivid. Attractive contemporary morocco-gilt binding with expert repairs to joints and corners. An excellent copy. Scarce.