Lisbon: Mateo Pineiro, 1626. 23 leaves. Small quarto. Modern half morocco and marbled boards, spine gilt. Manuscript foliations in upper outer corner of recto of each leaf. A bit of faint spotting. Very good. Item #WRCAM39211
The first Spanish language edition, following by a few months the first edition (which was printed in Portuguese), printed in Lisbon the same year. This is the second overall printing of Andrade's important letter. The first authoritative, printed account of a European traveller's visit to Tibet. Antonio de Andrade (1580-1634) was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary who entered the order in 1596. From 1600 to 1624 he was the principal missionary in the Indies. In 1624, with the support of the Moghul emperor, he set out for Tibet, hoping to make contact with a reported trans-Himalayan Christian community. Travelling north to the upper Ganges and then to Mana, on the present- day border of Tibet, he continued on past local resistance to the state of Guge, where he encountered his first Buddhists. Andrade successfully convinced the King to allow the teaching of Christianity, and returned to Agra, where he wrote the present letter to his superiors, relating his journey and his experiences. Andrade would ultimately return to Tibet two more times, consecrating a church at Tsaparang in 1626. Andrade's printed letter is crucially important as being the first authentic report of Tibet by a European who undoubtedly went there (the 14th-century visit of Odorico de Pordenone remains in dispute). It was very popular and quickly went through many editions. "Throughout Catholic Europe this 'discovery' (so proclaimed by the title of the work, though Andrade never called it that himself) was hailed as a great victory for the faith and as possible aid in circumventing the dangers from the Protestant fleets on the lengthy sea route from India to China....Through Andrade's book and his later letters and those of others, Europe learned more about Tibet's location, size, political divisions, religion and customs" - Lach. A most important European account of travel in Asia, and the first European experience of Tibet. Lach, ASIA IN THE MAKING OF EUROPE III, pp.338-39, 1773-1775. SOMMERVOGEL I:329.1. CORDIER 2898. STREIT V272. HOWGEGO I:A88.