Catalog Archive
Auction 102, Lot 610

"Description de l'Isle Formosa En Asie", Mortier, Pierre

Subject: History

Period: 1708 (dated)


Color: Black & White

4 x 6.3 inches
10.2 x 16 cm

One of the most amazing successful fake descriptions of far-flung lands ever perpetrated was this book about Taiwan. George Psalmanazar, a Frenchman, and William Innes, a Scotsman, made up this elaborate hoax claiming that George was a native of Formosa that had been abducted by Jesuits and carried off to France. He became the talk of London society, lectured and taught the "Formosan" language at Oxford and wrote this history of Taiwan, which is an amazing hodgepodge of oriental exoticism, wild imagination and religious philosophy, with a touch of Homer and a few borrowed tales from books, sailors, and priests thrown in. This is a French edition, issued four years after the first English edition. 16mo, 406 pp. numerous illustrations and folding plates including the map "Carte du Japon" (12.3 x 7.7'). Original full calf with raised-band and embossed spine, marbled end papers.


Condition: B

Binding tight, covers worn with top of spine professionally repaired. Light damp stain to top l/3 of book, including map.

Estimate: $700 - $800


Closed on 3/5/2003