HUC, Evariste Régis. Voyage dans la Tartarie et le Thibet. [Printed in Belgium] for Éditions Casterman in Paris, Lille and Tournai, [c. 1890].
Folio. Original red decorated cloth, all edges gilt; pp. 360, full-page illustrations in the text; light rubbing to extremities, lower cover a little spotted, text evenly a little browned, due to paper stock.
First folio edition, the largest ever. The French Congregation of Priests of the Mission (Lazarist) missionary and traveller Huc (1813-1860) was sent to China in 1839 by the Congregation, disembarking at Macau, where he resided for 18 months, before travelling to the newly-instituted Vicariate of Tartary-Mongolia in 1841. In 1844 Huc was instructed by Bishop Martial Mouly to make an exploratory expedition into Mongolia, to study the indigenous peoples who were the Vicariate's intended proselytes. Huc and his fellow-missionary Joseph Gabet (1808-1853), travelled throughout the region for more than a year disguised as Tibetan llamas, before joining the caravan of a Tibetan embassy returning from Beijing. With the embassy, Huc and Gabet reached Lhasa in January 1846, where they were well received; however, the influence of the hostile Chinese commissioner led to their expulsion from Lhasa in February 1846 and the two priests eventually arrived in Canton in September 1846. Souvenirs d'un voyage, Huc's account of this remarkable expedition, enjoyed a swift success, with a fifth French edition appearing in 1868 and English, German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish, and Russian editions issued in the 1850s and 1860s; in part, the work's success and interest was due to the fact that Huc and Gabet were the first Europeans to visit Lhasa since Thomas Manning in 1811-1812.