GROENEVELDT, Willem Pieter. Notes on the Malay Archipelago and Malacca. Compiled from Chinese Sources. [Batavia, W. Bruining and Nijhoff in The Hague, 1876].
Royal 8vo. 20th-century orange goat leather with maroon gilt-stamped lettering-piece to spine; pp. x, 144, lithographic folding map at rear, binding a little marked, text evenly and lightly toned, map with marginal flaw, one further page with tiny flaw; Dutch ownership inscription and date 1926, to title-page; a good copy of a great rarity, bound without wrappers.
First edition. There have been a few earlier attempts by Western scholars to publish Chinese geographical knowledge of Indo-China, mostly in Dutch and French. Groeneveldt's plan, however, 'has been different from that of our predecessors. We have made a collection, as complete as we could, of the literature on the subject, and by reading everything, we have generally been able to trace the different notices to their first appearance and to ascertain with more or less certitude the time to which their [sic] refer. By this process of comparison it was also possible to estimate the accuracy and value of every account, whilst many passages, unintelligible at first sight, became clear in the course of our reading. We translated only what was original, and the endless repetitions, through which we were obliged to go, were consigned to oblivion. In this way it has been necessary to read at least ten times more than what has been translated; our task was long and often became tedious, but we see no other course to a reliable result' (p. iv). Indeed, Groeneveldt had a lot to go through, such as ''The twenty-four Historians, also called the Dynastic Histories. A most voluminous work in about 900 large volumes …, Ying-yai Sheng-lan, General Account of the shores of the Ocean. This book was published in 1416 … Hsing-ch'a Sheng-lan, General Account of Peregrinations at Sea, published in 1436 bt Fei Hsin' (p. vii), and many, many more Chinese sources.