A missionary treasure box

3 January 2023

In April 2015 the Bodleian received one of the most interesting donations of Chinese materials to have been made during my time as Curator of Chinese Collections. It was small in size, and fitted entirely into a single cardboard box. Of scrappy appearance, the materials were of the sort that many people would throw out following the death of their owner. This alone would ensure that they were rare once a few decades had elapsed.

The donor was the distinguished constitutional lawyer Anthony Bradley who was living in retirement near Oxford, and the materials were the nachlass of his maternal grandfather Arthur Bonsey (1858-1942), who was a younger contemporary of the well-known Welsh missionary Griffith John (1831-1912). Last year I was shocked to see an obituary of Professor Bradley in The Guardian, and greatly regret my failure to post an account of the donation before his death.

In 2018 Tony published a biography of Bonsey [1], whose work at the London Missionary Society’s station in Hankow extended over a period of some forty years, from his arrival there at the end of 1892 until his retirement in the spring of 1923. He spent the rest of his life in Oxford until his death on 2 December 1942, with so far as I know no contact with the Bodleian Library, much less any idea that his box of odds and ends would eventually become one of its treasures.

The following portrait of Bonsey is taken from a commemorative publication of the Griffith John College in Hankow, of which he was appointed Principal in 1913 [2]:

The College had been established in 1899 as the London Mission College 倫敦會書院, later changing its name to Boxue Shuyuan 博學書院 in Chinese and Griffith John College in English [3]. The main building with its bell tower survives as part of Wuhan No.4 Middle School 武汉市第四中学.

There are 197 printed items in Arthur Bonsey’s collection, of which 59 are single sheets. They are shelfmarked Sinica 6371-6421, 6423-6568 (Sinica 6422 is a manuscript) and they can all be found in Library catalogues except for two pieces of printed ephemera (Sinica 6552, 6553).

There are also 43 manuscripts, shelfmarked MS.Chin.a.24(1-13), MS.Chin.c.45, MS.Chin.d.77-78, MS.Chin.e.29, Sinica 6422. Some of them are single-sheet items, others are letters consisting of one or more sheets in an envelope grouped together under the same shelfmark. None of them can currently be found in Library catalogues, but they are all listed here with brief descriptions; all but three have been digitised.

Riots in the Yangtse valley

I distinctly remember the day when Tony delivered his grandfather’s nachlass to the New Library in Broad Street, Friday 27 March 2015. He opened the boot of his car to reveal a box of materials, on top of which lay a volume with a distinctive landscape orientation and grey paper covers. He was surpised when I recognised it immediately despite the fact that it was face down – Chinese books are much less varied in appearance than western ones, and I had long been familiar with two copies of the same work that were already in the Library’s collection: The cause of the riots in the Yangtse valley : a complete picture gallery (Hankow, 1891, 29 x 35cm), Sinica 5987 and (RHO) USPG 1861.

In view of the fact that the Bodleian already had two copies of this work, it was felt that a third was unnecessary, so it was kept by the family and I believe it was among the materials which Tony presented to Central China Normal University 华中师范大学 in Wuhan when he visited them a couple of months later in May 2015.

The work and its background are explained in full by Peter Perdue on the MIT Visualising cultures website, which uses the copy in Yale University Library. The copy in Princeton University Library has also been digitised.

In summary, it is a reproduction of an illustrated anti-Christian tract entitled Jinzun shengyu biye quantu 謹遵聖諭辟邪全圖, translated and introduced by Griffith John. The tract is said to have been written by Zhou Han 周漢 (1842-1922), a leading anti-Christian campaigner whose works were widely circulated in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtse valley [4]. One does not need to be a Christian to find that the tract and its illustrations are utterly repellent – such material would be shocking no matter what religion it was directed against. For this reason I used to find it very hard to believe that Griffith John had actually reproduced it, despite his disclaimer in the preface (section 8) which states:

“This reproduction of the Picture Gallery being intended for the thoughtful few, and not at all for the multitude, no attempt has been made to gloss over its extreme grossness in picture and language. It is not the production of illiterate men. The Hunan antichristian publications, almost without exception, have scholars as their authors, and there can be no doubt about this one.”

However, among the Bonsey materials are seven manuscript illustrations which look as if they were indeed produced as drafts for the final block-cutting and printing. Bonsey must have seen the work being done and collected them as he approached the end of his first posting in Hankow (from 1882-1891).

Here is the draft of the first illustration, MS.Chin.a.24(7), described in the published text as “The Devils (foreigners) Worshipping the Hog (Jesus)”:

And here is what was actually printed and published (Princeton copy):

There are two drafts relating to the third illustration, MS.Chin.a.24(8, 9), described in the published text as “Propagating Religion in the Chapels”:

Perhaps the first of these two was intended to be for a block that was to print only the black portions of the illustration – in the taoban 套版 printing technique a separate block was required for each colour. In the event, the illustration that was finally printed and published had a different colour scheme and was much simpler:

The illustration shows the faithful worshipping the crucified Saviour, depicted as a hog, while foreign missionaries engage in acts of fornication at the back of the chapel.

Other works by Griffith John

Griffith John is a towering figure in the 19th-century Protestant mission, and much has been published about him both in print and on the internet; his Wikipedia entry is a good starting point.

Here I will only draw attention to the large number of his publications that were collected by Arthur Bonsey and which are now in the Bodleian Library. One of the many things that grated during my final years of service there was the increasing use of the term “world-class” by those who run the place to describe their own institution and its collections, something that struck me as being immodest to the point of vulgarity. So I leave it to others to examine my list of Griffith John’s publications, to search for them in WorldCat and elsewhere, and to decide for themselves whether such a claim can be made for this particular corpus.

The printed single-sheet items seem to be of exceptional rarity, which could be because they were considered too trivial and ephemeral to be taken into library collections; or they may indeed be in libraries but are lying unidentified and uncatalogued. I have found no examples of any of the six “sheet tracts” by Griffith John listed in Wylie’s Memorials of Protestant missionaries (Shanghae, 1867, 237-238) – but copies of all four of the multi-leaf tracts he lists are present in the Bodleian collection – nor have I found any other examples of the 35 single-sheet tracts in Bonsey’s collection. Of these, 28 are what I have described as “folded” single sheets, which look as if they might have been designed to be bound up into pamphlets; here is one of them, Sinica 6399 :

Griffith John regarded the establishment of schools, hospitals, and training colleges as an essential part of the Christian mission, and some of the single-sheet items bear witness to this, such as Sinica 6530, which explains the rationale behind it:

And on the subject of physical as well as spiritual welfare, John was particulary active in the anti-opium and anti-footbinding movements. I have compiled lists of materials on these subjects which are found in the Bodleian collections. Most of the anti-opium publications and all the anti-footbinding publications came from Bonsey; here is one of them, Sinica 6551:

Other single-sheet printed material

Visually impressive and certainly deserving attention are five calendars in the form of posters, clearly produced to promote the missionary enterprise. They are for the years 1887 (Sinica 6564), 1889 (Sinica 6565), 1890 (Sinica 6566), 1891 (Sinica 6562), and 1910 (Sinica 6567); this last one is printed in two colours and is particularly appealing:

Bonsey also collected a number of contemporary single-sheet items that were not related to the Protestant mission. For example official handouts of one sort or another that were read and then discarded, such as the handbill (or perhaps a small poster) announcing the establishment of mathematics and western science as subjects for the official government examinations, Sinica 6534:

The most spectacular among them is Sinica 6568, an enormous poster measuring 90 x 266cm. and printed on yellow paper with a red border of imperial dragons. The text is part of an imperial edict dated 1 February 1901 (according to the western calendar) requiring local officials to suppress all anti-foreign demonstrations and punish those responsible on pain of immediate dismissal and with no prospect of being re-hired. The injunction was presumably printed repeatedly in a number of locations – there is another example in the Bavarian State Library, printed from different blocks but of similar size and appearance. I suppose these huge posters were intended to be pasted to city walls and gates, or the walls of government offices, but this is only a guess. I’d be grateful to hear if anyone has more knowledge of this.

And finally, there is Sinica 6559, a delightful New Year print of the “Woosung Railway” 吳淞鐵路, China’s first passenger railway which opened in 1876 and ran from Shanghai to Wusong; its chequered history is the subject of a Wikipedia article. There are several iterations of this print, as an internet search will reveal.


Bonsey himself appears to have written and published very little indeed. In fact I have only been able to find a single copy (in SOAS Library) of a four-page pamphlet entitled The loving doctor Chow Chi Kwan (London Missionary Society, c.1900).

At the Griffith John College, as well as being Principal, Bonsey also taught history, English, and music, and there is a large musical score entitled The tune book of the C.C.R.T.S. Union hymn book (Hankow: Central China Religious Tract Society, 1905) in Rolvaag Memorial Library, St. Olaf College Northfield, MN (USA); again, this is the only copy I have found.

Although it was not published under his name, for many years Bonsey chaired the editorial team that compiled The R.T.S. hymnal with tunes, which was published by the Religious Tract Society of North & Central China in Shanghai in 1922. It has a preface signed G.A.C., who I presume is the Methodist missionary George Alfred Clayton.

There is a copy in the London Missionary Society Collection in the National Library of Australia, but apart from that the only other copy I know of is the presentation copy given to Bonsey in commemoration of his forty years’ service in Hankow, the front fly leaf of which bears a beautifully drawn dedicatory inscription. The volume is in the possession of the Bradley family, and Tony showed it to me in his son’s garden on 26 June 2020. That was the last time I saw him, and the pictures of it which he allowed me to take for my blog are an appropriate place to conclude this entry.

1. Bradley, Anthony: Arthur Bonsey (1858-1942) and the missionary enterprise in central China. In The journal of the United Reformed Church History Society, 10:3 (November 2018), 125-144.
2. 級友錄, 漢口博學書院, 1919. Sinica 6508.
3. See 中國現代化的區域研究. 湖北省, 1860-1916 / 蘇雲峰著. – 台北 : 中央研究院近代史研究所, 民國70年[1981]. – (中央研究院近代史研究所專刊 ; 41). 145-146.
4. See 黄金乐: 周汉生卒年考, in 黑龙江史志, 346(2015:9), 18, 20; also 邵雍: 《谨遵圣谕辟邪全图》之解读, in 史學月刊, 223(2007:9), 131-134.

Lists and Chungking publications

4 November 2022

At the forty-second EASL conference in Ghent at the beginning of September, I gave a short talk which was simply called “Lists”.

Increasingly, especially during the later years of my employment, scholars – mostly Chinese – were not asking to see specific books which could easily be found in our online catalogue without reference to me or any other librarian. They were asking the question “what have you got”. It would have been pointless, and even unhelpful, for me to tell them to go and have a look in the online catalogue, as online catalogues are not designed to answer this question.

Online catalogues are designed to limit what is being looked for, not to show everything. And the more they limit it, the better most readers are pleased. The ideal is to find exactly the book or books you’re looking for, and nothing more, in the first hit.

And so I designed the Serica website as an attempt to give an overview of all the “special” Chinese books in Oxford, not just a few of them. It is nothing more than a collection of lists, some of them very long. The data is arranged in a modified version of the Sibu 四部 classification, which can be seen and understood at a glance. Each category gives access to a list that can be viewed, printed out, or downloaded as required. Each list can be structured in a way that best suits the data it contains rather than a way that has to conform to a particular set of rules.

I had actually started to make lists at a very early stage of my career, well over forty years ago. Shortly after I was first appointed to the Bodleian in 1976, I started to visit Piet van der Loon at his house on Boar’s Hill to learn the facts of Chinese bibliography. He quickly infected me with his enthusiasm for the popular editions that had arrived in Europe in the seventeenth century, and I started to make a list of them. I then expanded the list to include the seventeenth-century Chinese acquisitions in other British libraries.

As soon as the internet appeared, and the Library staff were given space on which to mount their own pages, which we were encouraged to produce, I mounted my list and further expanded it to include the seventeenth-century acquisitions of all other European libraries. When scholars interested in these matters saw it, they started to help me, so that little by little, maybe only once or twice a year, the list continues to grow, a process which is regularly documented in this blog.

The list is expressed in the simplest HTML – it’s little more than a textfile – and is not a work of scholarship. But it led directly to the discovery of one of the most important Chinese historical documents in existence, the Selden Map. Robert Bachelor had noticed that there was a Ming dynasty map on my list, and asked to see it when he visited the Bodleian at the beginning of January, 2008.

I’ve recently started to produce other lists, the latest being a list of the official publications of the Chinese government when it was based at Chungking in the 1940s. The Bodleian received a gift of 151 of these from what was then called the “National Library of Peiping” in February, 1946. The original list that accompanied this donation is in English, and is preserved in the Library Records (Library Records c.1734):

A scan of the complete document can be found here.

All of these publications are valuable, and some are now very rare indeed, for example this work on Tojo and Koiso:

Before he left for Princeton, Joshua Seufert had located them and extracted them from the modern collection. I don’t know why or how he did this, but it has enabled the Library to incorporate them into its special collections, and I have subsequently made a list of them. The list has been produced automatically from the allegro catalogue and follows the order of the National Library of Peiping original, with its numbering given at the head of each record:

The complete list can be seen here.

My first list gives access to materials that could never be found in online catalogues – I don’t know what search-term would lead the reader to materials that came to Europe in the seventeenth century. And my latest list could only be produced from most online catalogues with much time and difficulty, and only by readers who really know what they’re doing and can cope with the sheer awfulness of the systems currently in use.

The more I work on the Bodleian’s special collections, the more my enthusiasm for lists increases. When I’ve been unable to find texts in online databases, I’ve resorted to Google searches, and these have often led to lists of books which Chinese scholars have mounted on their websites or reproduced in their blogs just as I do myself. Not only do you find what you’re after, but occasionally you notice things in the list which turn out to be even more interesting than what you were originally looking for.

Popular literature

29 March 2022

Since ceasing to be employed by the Bodleian some four and a half years ago, I’ve been trying my best to complete the cataloguing of the Library’s pre-modern and so-called “special” Chinese collections as a private scholar. Inevitably I’ve left the most difficult things until last.

These are some very down-market works of popular literature made by Piet van der Loon. I remember seeing some of them in his study in his house on Boars Hill on my frequent visits there, but never paid much attention to them. I think that he, too, had put them aside for dealing with one day in the future, which of course never came. There are several hundred of them, and I wouldn’t even have known what they were if he hadn’t tied them in bundles and labelled them.

They are extremely difficult to catalogue because they challenge the rules, which were drawn up for cataloguing regular publications, not casually produced ephemera. Again and again one is faced with the choice of either following the rules, or cataloguing the works in such a way as to show the reader what they are and to give access to them. The ideologues in our cataloguing departments often forget this, and would do well to conduct research using their own catalogues from time to time and see for themselves how difficult it often is to find things in them unless the rules are bent.

In these popular and very localised works, occasionaly rather strange alternative or dialect characters are used, and they are often difficult to identify and locate in the character set. My thanks to Andrew West for giving me much help in this area.

The three biggest collections, which I catalogued some time ago, are:

1. 閩南歌曲 (Fujian folk songs), Sinica 4028-4500
2. 廣州木魚書 (Cantonese “wooden fish books”), Sinica 4911-5234
3. 粵劇劇本 (Canton opera scripts), Sinica 5241-5700

A further hundred or so Cantonese “wooden fish books” were transferred from the Chinese Studies Library in 2014 (Sinica 6194-6295), and another two dozen came from Glen Dubridge in 2017 (Sinica 6751-6774), so that the total size of these three collections is currently:

閩南歌曲 – 480 editions
廣州木魚書 – 487 editions
粵劇劇本 – 461 editions

These are sizeable holdings by any standards.

I’m writing the present blog entry because I’ve recently catalogued three further groups of materials that Piet labelled, and which I’ve attempted to fit into my classification scheme, which is the Sibu 四部 system modified so that it will accept everything in our collection, at least after a fashion. They are (to use his terminolgy):

“Canton dramas, genre unidentified”, Sinica 5806-5854, 57 editions.

Catalogued here.

客家歌冊 (Hakka song books), Sinica 5855-5875, 25 editions.

Catalogued here.

When I first posted this blog entry I wondered why the term 廣東語 was set against each title if these are indeed Hakka song books. But Justin Leung posted a comment noting that all these editions were published in Taiwan during the Japanese colonial period, when Hakka was known as 廣東語.

福州評話 (Fuzhou stories), Sinica 5876-5899, 26 editions.

Catalogued here.

If anyone with a knowledge of these things could tell me a better way of classifying this type of popular literature, I’d be extremely grateful.


Salt and a woodblock

31 December 2021

During the course of my work at the Bodleian, I was occasionally asked to give talks on how traditional Chinese books were produced. That is, how they were printed and bound. To demonstrate this I used a Japanese block that had been given to me by Christer von der Burg – I didn’t have a Chinese one – together with a disbound duplicate copy of one of the modern impressions from old blocks that are issued by Chinese publishers from time to time.

We acquired a Chinese woodblock in October 2013, and in the following January I wrote a blog entry about it. As a printing block it is typical, but its content is distinctly odd, so I’ve always been on the lookout for another. They turn up on eBay from time to time, often wrongly described as Chinese when they are obviously Japanese, and usually unrealistically priced. However, at the beginning of October last year I struck lucky, and managed to get a rather fine example very cheaply; I was the only bidder.

The block is from an edition of Changlu yanfa zhi 長蘆鹽法志, “A treatise on the salt law of Changlu”, an official publication in 20 juan 卷 compiled by Huang Zhanglun 黃掌綸 and others in 1805 on the basis of an earlier Yongzheng 雍正 edition in 16 juan. The subject is interesting, as salt production was a very important industry in traditional China. It was strictly controlled by the government, and was one of the principal sources of tax revenue. The Changlu Saltfield 长芦盐场 is situated on the Gulf of Bohai 渤海湾 near the cities of Tianjin 天津 and Cangzhou 滄州 and still supplies one quarter of China’s salt. During the Qing dynasty it was managed from these two cities, which are both on the Grand Canal 京杭大运河.

The edition was published by the Changlu salt commissioner at the time of its compilation; there are several copies in Peking University Library where it is described as 「清嘉慶十年[1805]長蘆鹽運使刻本」. It is reproduced in the collectaneum Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書, from the electronic version of which I have obtained the images reproduced below.

The block measures 215 x 283mm, and is engraved on both sides with the leaves 20:43 and 20:44. These two leaves, when bound presenting four sides to the reader, contain the name, illustrations, and text describing the building known as Jintuo cheyanting 津坨掣鹽廳.


I had no idea what this building might be, so asked Zheng Cheng, who promptly sent me copious amounts of information, for which I’m very grateful.

Firstly, the name.

Jin 津 refers to Tianjin 天津, and tuo 坨 is the term used for blocks of salt. Cheyanting 掣鹽廳 refers to the office where the blocks were literally “drawn in” (che 掣) for examination and checking. I suppose we would call it “quality control”. There is a parallel section describing the Cangzhou office 滄坨掣鹽廳.

The Tianjin office is depicted in a famous 6.8-metre long picture scroll of the Qianlong 乾隆 period kept in the National Museum of China 中国国家博物馆. The scroll has no title, and as a result of an earlier misidentification of what it depicts, it is now named Luhe duyun tu 《潞河督運圖》. Actually, it is a depiction of the installations relating to the salt industry along the Haihe 海河 river which flows from Tianjin to the Gulf of Bohai 渤海湾, and in the opinion of authorities on this matter it would be better named Haihe xunyan tu《海河巡鹽圖》[1].  Here is the relevant section of the scroll, which also shows the nearby pontoon bridge, fuqiao 浮橋:

In the woodblock illustration, prominence is understandably given to the frame that supported the steelyard (chengjia 秤架) for weighing the blocks of salt; it is depicted clearly in the scroll:

The reproduction of Changlu yanfa zhi in Xuxiu siku quanshu is unfortunately not very good. But it is sufficiently clear to confirm that the impression is not taken from my block, which must therefore have been recut. There is nothing unusual about this – missing or damaged blocks were routinely replaced – but so far I have not been able to locate a copy which is described as a repaired edition, which is troubling.

1. Zheng Cheng has drawn my attention to two works on this scroll. (1) 王永谦: 潞河督运图卷. In 吕章申主编: 中国国家博物馆馆藏文物研究丛书, 绘画卷, 风俗画 (上海: 上海古籍出版社, 2007), 226-237; and (2) 高伟: 海河巡盐: 国博藏所谓《潞河督运图》天津风物考 (天津: 天津社会科学院出版社, 2018). I haven’t seen the second one yet.


Douce – postscript on Shixue

12 December 2021

Almost a year ago I posted an entry on the small but choice collection of Chinese books bequeathed to the Bodleian Library by Francis Douce (1757-1834). The following day, Zheng Cheng posted a reply drawing my attention to an article by Elisabetta Corsi on Shixue 視學, the most valuable among them. Following Corsi’s leads, I’ve been able to establish or at least make an informed guess of the provenance of this and a couple of other items in the collection, and have re-written the entry (where her article is referenced) to reflect these findings.

The purpose of this postscript is to make some observations on the edition of Shixue 視學, as there has been some confusion about it, and to present as complete a list as I can of the surviving copies, a list which is much longer than both Corsi’s and the one I originally posted. I’ll update it from time to time, as I discover more about them.

But first I must apologise to all readers of my blog who don’t have a burning interest in Shixue, as they will find what follows to be a mass of tedious detail which they could well do without. So please wait for my next blog entry, which I’ll try to make a little more interesting.

I’m told that the Douce copy of Shixue is one of the finest to survive, and since I wrote my original entry it has been digitised. So it is now possible to make close and accurate comparisons with copies elsewhere if anyone has the will to do so. For my part, I would already have been on the Eurostar to Paris to look at the copy in the Bibliothèque Nationale if it had not been for the pandemic.

Catalogues refer to two editions, the first prefaced 1729 (雍正己酉), the second 1735 (雍正乙卯). In the latter, Nian has added fifty or more plates together with explanations, as he explains in the preface (補縷五十餘圖並爲圖說). But I began to suspect, and so did Zheng Cheng, that the second edition was not a true second edition, but a reprint of the first edition with additional material. Because the edition is in large format, it would have been expensive to produce, and it seemed to me to be most unlikely that the blocks would have been recut after only six years – impressions were commonly taken from Chinese printing blocks for many decades or even centuries after they were cut. So I sent some images from the Bodleian copy (of 1735) to my old colleague and friend Maja Fuchs, and asked if she’d kindly send me images of the corresponding pages in the copy in Vienna (of 1729). This she did, and it was clear that the impressions had been taken from the same blocks except for the preface, which in the Vienna copy has the format 16行16字, but in later copies has been recut in the same format as the 1735 preface, 11行24字.

So the two versions might now be correctly described as follows:

Another complication was the title, which is sometimes given as Shixue jingwen《視學精蘊》. This puzzled me, as it appears nowhere in the text of either the Douce copy or the copy in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is reproduced in the collectaneum Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書. But it does appear on the cover labels found on some of the copies, printed labels on those of London and St Petersburg, and manuscript on the Vienna copy. But the title of a Chinese book should only be taken from that source as a last resort, as book covers were easily damaged and expendable, and were regularly replaced by collectors. They are thus impermanent, by contrast with what lay within them. We would normally take the title of the first juan of the text as standard, but as the Shixue is not divided into juan, we look elsewhere, and find it at the beginning of the 1729 preface, Shixue bianyan 視學弁言.

And so in Chinese, we would catalogue it as follows:
視學不分卷 …

In English, the edition is correctly described in Leuven’s Chinese Christian Text Database.

Here is the list of locations, with a few observations on the copies; as can be seen, there is much more work to do.

Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Sin 160-C. 1729. Sent from Peking by the Austrian Jesuit missionary Xaver Ernbert Fridelli, 1673-1743. It has a butterfly binding (蝴蝶裝), and the preface has the block format 16行16字 with original red seals, suggesting that this may be a unique surviving copy of the very earliest printing. Paris
Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes et de la Photographie, Oe 29 pet.fol.). 1729? The marking “n° 2864” indicates that the copy entered the Bibliothèque Royale en 1763. The copy lacks its covers and preface. The leaves are not bound in their correct order, and the text may be incomplete. (Information from Nathalie Monnet, e-mail, 6 April 2006).London
British Library, ex India Office Library and Records, Chin.H.31. 1735.Oxford
Bodleian Library, Douce Chin.b.2. 1735.Glasgow
University Library, Hunterian Chinese 45. 1735. This copy was originally sent by the Jesuits in Peking to T.S. Bayer in St Petersburg in 1737. See Weston, David: The Bayer Collection: a preliminary catalogue of the manuscripts and books of Professor Theophilus Siegfried Bayer, acquired and augmented by the Reverend Dr Heinrich Walther Gerdes, now preserved in the Hunterian Library of the University of Glasgow (Glasgow, 2018), 217.
St Petersburg
Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (IOM) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Институт восточных рукописей Российской академии наук), G90. 1729. Zheng Cheng has investigated the St Petersburg copies, and through a contact there has located them in a published catalogue: Вахтин, Борис Борисович: Каталог фонда китайских ксилографов Института востоковедения АН СССР (Москва: Главная редакция восточной литературы, 1973), 95. What follows are the results of his findings to date. This copy, G90, is curious. The format of its preface is the same as that of the Vienna copy (16行16字), but the seals are printed in black, and it has only 16 pages fewer than the Douce and IHNS copies. This has led Zheng Cheng to suggest that it may be an intermediate printing, short of the “50 or more” illustrations of the final 1735 issue. At the same time, it is rather disturbing to note that it has three illustrations which are not found in the supposedly complete Douce and IHNS copies. It is bound in two volumes, western style on the head margin, with no evidence that the leaves were ever folded. All three St Petersburg copies have printed labels bearing the title Shixue jingwen《視學精蘊》.St Petersburg
IOM, F105. 1735. F105 and G91 bear the seals of the Asiatic Museum (Азиатский музей) in St Petersburg, whose collections subsequently passed to the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts. Apart from the printed labels, both are the same as the Douce and IHNS copies.St Petersburg
IOM, G91. 1735.Peking
中国国家图书馆 (NLC). 1735. Chen Yunru 陳韻如 (National Palace Museum, Taipei) has examined both the Douce and NLC copies, and told me in April 2006 that he considered the Douce copy to be the finer.Peking
中国科学院自然科学史研究所 (IHNS), 善子623/224. 1735. This copy is identical in every respect with the Douce copy, but has collectors’ seals.Changsha
湖南图书馆, 383/5. 1735.