"A Watershed in Modern Sinology" [China]. [Great Qing Legal Code]. Staunton, Sir George Thomas [1781-1859], Editor and Translator. Ta Tsing Leu Lee; Being the Fundamental Laws, And a Selection from the Supplementary Statutes, Of the Penal Code of China; Originally Printed and Published in Pekin, In Various Successive Editions, Under the Sanction, And by the Authority, Of the Several Emperors of the Ta Tsing, Or Present Dynasty. Translated from the Chinese; And Accompanied with an Appendix, Consisting of Authentic Documents, And a Few Occasional Notes, Illustrative of the Subject of the Work. London: Printed for T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1810. [iv], lxxxvi, 581,  pp. With a copperplate frontispiece reproducing the 1805 Chinese title page, errata and a final advertisement leaf. Quarto (11-1/2" x 9"). Later buckram, "Foreign Office" stamp to boards, gilt title and paper shelf label to spine, cloth hinges, endpapers renewed, edges speckled red. Light rubbing to boards, moderate rubbing to extremities, spine ends bumped and chipping, joints just starting at ends, corners bumped, bookplate of the Foreign Office Library with "Withdrawn from the FCO Library" ink stamp to front pastedown, ink annotation (shelfmark?) to front free endpaper. Moderate toning to interior, occasional light foxing and faint dampstaining to lower corner, minor worming to edges of first and last few leaves not affecting text or image, frontispiece and title page remounted, ink annotation ("HM's Consulate Taiwan") to head of title page, crease to leaf E2 (pp. 27-28) affecting text without loss, tear to lower gutter of leaf Gg1 (pp. 225-226) and upper corner and fore-edge of final leaf mended with cellotape. $1,500. * Only edition. Staunton, the son of a diplomat, learned Chinese at a young age and was among the first prominent Anglo-Americans to publicly master the language. His English translation of selections from the Great Qing Legal Code spanned constitutional, civil and penal law and was the first direct English translation of a Chinese text. Viewed as "a watershed in modern Sinology," the impact of the translation was immediate and immense, lending Westerners "the requisite authority and credibility to classify Chinese law and civilization" according to and in contrast with Western institutions and cultural practices (Chen). Our copy, formerly the prope.
Book number 74655