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Cornelis Claesz's 1605 stock catalogue of Chinese books1

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One of the stock catalogues published by the important Amsterdam bookseller and publisher Cornelis Claesz is known only from a description in the catalogue of the Frankfurt autumn book fair of 1605. In this article the author presents arguments to show that in the autumn of that year Cornelis Claesz could indeed have offered a collection of Chinese books for sale. These might have come from the captured Portuguese carrack Catharina, whose cargo was sold at public auction in Amsterdam. Descriptions in sale catalogues and inventories of 1609, 1610 and 1615 indicate that quity early on there were scholars at Leiden who numbered more than one Chinese book in their collections. This exceptional stock catalogue by an Amsterdam bookseller is the earliest known printed list of Chinese books and thus represents a source of great importance to cultural historical research. It is to be hoped that the present article will lead to the discovery of a copy.


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