'The Ambasador's Introduction into the Audience hall', China, c 1700.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving showing an official reception, posibly in the Sacred City in Peking (now Beijing). On the left is a row of elephants with howdahs. From 'Three Years Travels from Moscow over-land to China' by Evert Ysbrants Ides, published in London in 1706. In 1692 Peter the Great of Rusia (1672-1725) sent his ambasador Ides overland on a diplomatic mision to China, a trip which took nearly three years. Ides' book describes 'the extent and limits of those countries, and the customs of the barbarous inhabitants, with reference to their religion, government, marriages, daily imployments [sic], habits, habitations, diet, death, funerals etc'.