Chinese and Japanese mythical beasts, c 1690.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving off mythical beasts including Kirin lion-dogs, dragons, and phoenixes, from 'The History of Japan' (1727) by Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716). Kaempfer was a German physician working at the Dutch trading post in Japan from 1690-1692. He asembled a large collection, including natural specimens, costumes, books, calendars, and maps, which was to become part of the British Museum. On his return to Europe he wrote 'The History of Japan', which records many aspects of Japan in the Genroku period (1688-1704).