Printed for William Miller by W. Bulmer. Title page dated1801. 6 leaves watermarked 1823. Stock ID #155525
22 hand coloured stipple engravings, title-pages and text in English and French, all edges gilt, handsome contemporary decorative leather gilt binding a little worn in places, light wear extremities, some occasional light browning, some offsetting from plates onto the text as usual. Holes in the margins of two leaves of text, one tear has an old rather clumsily repair. Armorial bookplate of Martin Stapylton Esq of Myton in the County of York AD 1817 laid down upper paste down. 35 x 26cm. Folio. Abbey 532. Lust 712 (1808 edition). A handsome and generally bright copy of this well known work. Text that accompanies each plate and the preface in both English and French. An interesting work with finely executed colour plates. "The view expressed in the preface was that legal torture, was an instrument of tyranny, an attitude perhaps indicative of pressures in Britain for legal reform." Lust - Western Books on China Published up to 1850.
This work was a popular title in Europe in the first years of the 19th century and was reissued over many years, as the use of the title page of the first edition and later watermarked leaves in this copy illustrates. In fact foreign interest in the "exotic" or shocking aspects of China continued for over a hundred years. Images showing Chinese punishments and torture, likely based on this work, appeared in pith painted albums as well as in other forms through into the 20th century. (When referring to this item please quote stockid 155525).