Title page to Ides' 'Three Years Travels from Moscow over-land to China', 1705.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving showing European travellers and the people and animals in the places they visited, including Chinese and Siberians, and elephants, tigers and camels. In 1692 Peter the Great of Rusia (1672-1725) sent his ambasador Evert Ysbrants Ides overland on a diplomatic mision to China, a trip which took nearly three years. The English translation of Ides' book, published in London in 1706, 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'. The final chapter, on Chinese geography, was written by Dionysio Kao, a Chinese scholar.