Chengdu: The National Szechuan University, May 1942. Vol. I, No. 1 only. Title and text in parallel Chinese and English. Fifty lithographic plates, titled in Chinese and English. Folio. Later green corduroy-covered boards by Pan Iordanidis, sections of original wrappers loosely inserted. Very good. Item #WRCAM41746
A significant and beautifully presented fragment of this remarkable work, a survey of the spectacularly varied botany of the world heritage site Mount Emei and its environs, in Sichuan province. Mount Emei is the tallest of the four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China. Produced at the height of the Second World War, this work is beautifully presented with carefully designed and botanically accurate lithographs which recall the long Chinese tradition of woodcut illustrations. The informative text includes the plant's botanical binomial, the family to which it belongs, where it was first recorded, a detailed technical description, notes of the specific locations of examples examined for the publication, and then generally short notes by W.P. Fang about the plant. This is the first number of a series that by 1946 had been extended to two volumes, made up from a total of four numbers, with 200 plates. This volume is particularly rich in images and descriptions of Rhododendrons - twenty different varieties are described. This was a species which W.P. Fang came to specialize in during his long career: in all he identified more than 100 new species of plants, and he is now considered to have been one of the most distinguished Chinese botanists.