Description

    In Contemporary Cambridge-Panelled Calf

    Simon De La Loubere. A New Historical Relation of the Kingdom of Siam by Monsieur De La Loubere, Envoy Extraordinary from the French 1687 and 1688. Wherein a full and curious Account is given of the Chinese Way of Arithmetick, and Mathematick Learning. London: Tho. Horne, 1693.

    First English edition. Folio. [4], 260 pages. With three full-page maps and eight full-page copper engravings. Title page printed in red and black.

    Contemporary Cambridge-panelled calf, red morocco gilt lettering label. With expert repairs to joint extremities, some pages a bit browned (as usual). Overall, a lovely copy in its original binding.

    La Loubere was French ambassador to Siam from 1687 to 1688. "In addition to the interesting account of Siam and the Siamese, this work contains many curious matters of information; The Life of Thevetat, Siamese Alphabet, Smoaking Instrument, Chess-Play of the Chinese, Relation of the Cape of Good Hope, with four cuts, Siamese Astronomy, Problem of Magical Squares, according to the Indians, Manners of the Chinese. This embassy was one of several sent form Louis XIV to Siam, all of which were accompanied by priests of the Jesuit order. Tachard made his second voyage with La Loubere. French interest in Siam seems to have declined after this visit" (Cox I, p. 329).

    Historically Loubere is probably best remembered for a mathematical solution he brought back with him. The 'De La Loubere Method' a very simple method to construct any size of n-odd magic squares (i.e. number squares in which the sums of all rows, columns and diagonals are identical). The method was brought to France in 1688 by the French mathematician and diplomat Simon de la Loubère, as he was returning from his 1687 embassy to the kingdom of Siam. The Siamese method makes the creation of magic squares easy, without resort to guesswork.

    Cordeir Indosinica 723. Wing L201.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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