This extraordinary early engraving appears at first glance to have nothing to do with China, the architecture, costume and furniture appear wholly European, reflecting an Italian Renaissance vision of a banquet complete with masked entertainers. Some of the costume, on closer inspection, appears a bit oriental but there are few signs of the banquet being held in a country outside Europe. This vision of China is so different to the later visions of an exotic and somewhat whimsical country full of strange wonderful things.
Theodorus de Bry and Sons, Views of Asia :
Theodore De Bry (1528-1598) was born in Liège, Belguim and is most famous for his 1590 illustrated book, published with his sons, of Thomas Harriot`s `A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia about the first English settlements in North America` (modern-day North Carolina). His illustrations were based on the watercolour paintings by the colonist John White. But it was the father and sons books based on the travels of the Dutch man Jan Huyghen van Linschoten (1563-1611) to the East of 1583-92 that concern us. These are some of the earliest printed images we have of China and while not accurate in a modern sense they give us a fascinating glimpse into a European 16th century visual understanding of China and other parts of Asia. After his stay in the Indian city of Goa, Van Linschoten set out for Europe with a Portuguese return fleet in 1588. One of the ships was wrecked off the Azores in 1591. Van Linschoten was given the task of staying behind to protect the cargo. At the request of the Portuguese governor of the islands, Dom Christovão de Moura, he made a map of the city. The present engraving was published by the De Bry`s, Theodorus had been assisted by his two sons, Johann Theodor de Bry (1561–1623) and Johann Israel de Bry (1565–1609) who after their father`s death in Frankfurt-am-Main on 27 March 1598 carried on the Collectiones (Voyages in Asia). References :
For another impression from this plate see our `Sold Items` number 611.
In very good condition, the torn left edge is uneven, minor even discolouration, which is slightly darker in the lower right corner.
Height : 30.3 cm (12 inches) Width : 19.8 cm (7 3/4 inches)
Stock number: 79.