/ The Manchu Book in Eighteenth-Century St. Petersburg

This Research Note follows the development of Manchu-language print and manuscript collections at the Library of the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. It focuses especially on the works collected in Beijing by Larion Rossokhin, the first graduate of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Beijing to have any significant knowledge of Manchu. These collections formed the basis of one of the first large-scale Western Manchu translation projects, the publications of Aleksei Leont’ev in the 1770s and ‘80s, and eventually for the emergence of academic Manjuristics in the Russian Empire and beyond. Included in the note is a series of complete library catalogues from the St. Petersburg branch of the Archive of the Russian Academy of Sciences, documents hitherto largely unknown to the Western reader. 

Gregory Afinogenov 格里高利·阿芬真诺夫


Gregory Afinogenov 格里高利·阿芬真諾夫



Today, thanks to the growing popularity of Manchu studies, the aspiring Manjurist can find texts and colleagues in dozens of cities outside of China, from Seattle to Leuven to Melbourne. The prospects were considerably grimmer during the era she hopes to study. At the height of the Manchu literary enterprise in the eighteenth century, meaningful book collections might have existed in five non-Qing cities: Paris, Rome, St. Petersburg, Hansŏng (Seoul), and Edo (Tokyo). This list is entirely speculative. Existing bibliographies of Western collections make little effort to discern the date of accession of the texts they catalog; this makes it difficult to distinguish between collections formed in the era of nineteenth-century imperial orientalism, when acquisitions were broad-based and indiscriminate, and those of the eighteenth, when they were much more circumscribed.[2] Etienne Fourmont’s published 1739 catalog of the Paris collections is one of our few opportunities to get a glimpse of Manchu book culture as it arrived in Enlightenment Europe.[3]

The French Royal Library, owing to the well-funded efforts of the French Jesuits at the Beitang 北堂 mission compound in Beijing, contained the largest gathering of Chinese books in Europe. Manchu was a somewhat different story. Fourmont lists only six “codices tartarici” and one bilingual edition, but more were certainly acquired in the decades after 1739. At that point, its Russian competitor at the Imperial Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg was hardly better off, with only a handful of books acquired from Jesuit correspondents and chance deliveries. Within fifteen years, the situation was completely different. The Russian capital was suddenly home to dozens of Manchu and bilingual publications of every conceivable variety, from pamphlets to reference works and multivolume histories. This was a process unusually well-documented in archival sources. At the St. Petersburg Branch of the Archive of the Academy of Sciences (SPF ARAN), a series of catalogs from the 1740s and after traces how and why each book was acquired and, to some extent, even what happened to it in later years. This forms the prehistory of Julius von Klaproth’s 1810 catalog of this library, published by Hartmut Walravens in 1988, and helps eliminate the gap Walravens identifies for the eighteenth-century period.[4]

The purpose of this essay is twofold. On the one hand, it contains a translation of every catalog of Manchu and Chinese books I have been able to find at SPF ARAN, making them available in English and in published form for the first time. On the other, it places each of them within its historical context, forming a history of Manchu book collecting at the eighteenth-century Academy of Sciences.[5] Early Russian Manjuristics and its associated library practices were not just unusually substantial for their time. They were distinct in their guiding principles and institutional structure from the Jesuit projects that typically draw the attention of East Asian book historians.[6] As I will suggest, the contingent circumstances of Manchu studies at the Academy helped to create a link between the strategic and intellectual priorities of the post-Petrine Russian state and the creation of the Manchu-oriented subfield of nineteenth-century European orientalism. This link took the form of books.

Rossokhin launches the collection, 1741

The man almost singlehandedly responsible for founding the study of Manchu in the Russian Empire was a Siberian priest’s son named Larion Rossokhin. He arrived in Beijing as part of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in 1729 at the age of twelve and stayed there for over a decade, quickly learning the languages and making his way around the city.[7] As a student, he was not a religious functionary; his primary role was to learn enough Manchu to serve in the College of Foreign Affairs as a translator for Russo-Qing diplomatic correspondence. This he was able to practice at the Lifanyuan 理藩院, where he was set to work translating letters from Russia in his spare time. Although he was not expected to purchase books, he began to accumulate a large collection, which came in handy when he was appointed to the Academy of Sciences upon his return to Russia in 1741.

The first catalog, compiled when Rossokhin sold his books to the Academy Library, records part of the contents of this collection, along with the prices Rossokhin claimed he had paid for each publication. A tael of Qing silver was worth a stable 1.2 rubles in the eighteenth century, so in theory this could represent a unique window into the book market of Yongzheng-era Beijing. Unfortunately, the drastically lower valuations given in the posthumous catalog of his remaining books (see below) suggest that the young man might have been marking up his books to take advantage of the fact that no one in St. Petersburg was in a position to gainsay him. This suspicion is further confirmed by comparing Rossokhin’s prices to those reported by Timkovskii in 1821, which are drastically lower for roughly identical printings.[8] They are nonetheless valuable indications in relative terms. The fact that a five-volume set of Han i araha wargi amargi toktobuha bodohon cost forty times more than a bilingual copy of the Qian zi wen 千字文 may not be surprising, considering the ubiquity of the latter item. But it is more revealing that Chinese-only books seem to have consistently cost less than Manchu even considering their more compact volume—and given the fact that they were purchased in the heart of Manchu territory in Beijing’s Inner City. It is a clear indication of the premium that any Qing subject hoping to maintain literacy in Manchu needed to pay with each newly-acquired text.

Register of Chinese Books[9]
[Manchu/Chinese, transcribed from Russian transliteration][Rossokhin’s translation/explication of title]RublesKopecks
1Inenggidari giyangnaha si šu bitheAn expanded book of day-by-day commentaries for Confucius’s Four Books, 6 books in Manchu, 2 in Chinese, palace printing.20
2Daicing gurun i yooni bitheQing lexicon with Chinese. Translated into Russian. 1 book25
3Han i araha wargi amargi bade toktobuha bodohonStudy of how His Imperial Majesty himself deigned to pacify and improve the western and northern regions; 5 books in Manchu, palace printing.4
4Ming gurun hung u han i oyonggo tacihiyanUseful teachings of the Ming emperor Hongwu in Manchu, 1 book, palace printing.4
5Manju gisun i yongyame toktobuha bitheManchu lexicon with grammar and Chinese translation, 2 books10
6Manju gisun si šu bitheConfucius’s Four Books with brief commentary, 2 volumes in Manchu, 1 book Chinese.5
7Qingwen dianyao
Rules for translating Chinese literary texts into Manchu, 1 book2
8Man Han zi shijing
Confucius’s Shijing with Manchu, 1 book120
9Man Han zi Qingwen qimeng
<滿漢字清文啟[sic] 蒙>
Manchu language dialogues with proverbs and Chinese translation, 1 book3//
10Man Han zi Qingwen qimeng
<滿漢字清文啟[sic] 蒙>
Manchu grammar with Chinese, 1 book150
11Enduringge genggiyen šaringgiyaha bitheThe will of His Holy Majesty in Manchu and Chinese, 1 book1
12Manju nikan hergen i kamciha si šu bitheConfucius’s Four Books with Manchu, 1 book2
13Pan gu ši i uheri šošohon i bitheBrief historical chronology in Manchu, 1 manuscript book3
14Manju hergen i sun dz u dz bing faReflections on the military rules of the glorious ancient warriors Sunzi and Wuzi, 1 book Manchu, 1 book Chinese.2
15Manju nikan hergen i kamcime araha si siyan gi ucun i bitheStory about a student, with rather pretty songs, in Manchu and Chinese150 //
16Manju nikan hergen kamciha tsai gen tan bitheReflections on the nature of herbs in Manchu and Chinese, 1 book150
17Man Han hebi xingli
The study of nature in Manchu and Chinese, 1 book1
18Tongwen guanghui quanshu
<同文廣彚全> [sic]
Manchu vocabulary with Chinese, by heading, 1 book2
19Dai yuan gurun i suduri bithe History of the Dai Yuan rulers, or Mongols, who ruled the whole Chinese state, in Manchu, 2 books6
20Tondo unenggi fan gūn ni wen ji bitheStory about how a Manchu warrior suffered for his loyalty and zeal for his country, 1 book, in Manchu3
21Nikan hergen i ubaliyambuha manju gisun i buleku bitheMirror of Manchu with Chinese, 1 book3
22Xiu xiang shuihu quan zhuan
Story of 108 famous bandits who lived in the era of the Song rulers, 2 vols, with pictures6
23Xiu xiang xiyou zhen quan
Story of the travels of an ecclesiastical figure to the western regions, with pictures, 2 books 6
24Xiu xiang song jing zhong zhuan
Story of a Song general field marshal and how he suffered for his loyalty, in Chinese with pictures, 1 book3
25Xiu xiang jin ping mei
Story of the exploits of a rich man named Ximen Qing, famous, with pictures, 2 books6
26Pin ji kao
Table of civil and military ranks in Chinese, 1 book1
27Zi hui
Chinese lexicon with interpretation3
28Ming gong shi
Eulogies of famous people in Chinese, 1 small book50
29Lucheng di yi shu
Gazetteer of the whole Chinese state in Chinese, 1 small book80 //
30Baqi guan jue
Table of all members of the Eight Manchu Banners, who serves where and what they are called, in Chinese, 2 notebooks1
31Zheng shen
Table of civil ranks who serves where and how much annual salary they receive and how much annual revenue is collected for each source from each city, and of what is produced where, in Chinese, 2 notebooks1
32Zhong jue bei lan
Table of the Chinese army who serves where and what they are called and how much annual salary they receive, in Chinese, 2 notebooks1
33Wargi han gurun i bitheStory of the Western Han kingdom, in Manchu, 1 manuscript book6
34Dergi hese jakūn gūsa de wasimbuhanggeEdicts to the Eight Banners in Manchu and Chinese, 2 books, palace printing5
35Hesei yabubuha hacilame wesimbuhe gusai baitaPermitted responses to matters pertaining to the Eight Banners, in Manchu and Chinese, 2 books, palace printing5
36Dergi hesei wasimbuha gusai baita be tahūme gisurefi wesimbuhenggeReports by imperial command from ministers in the second council, in Manchu and Chinese, 2 books, palace printing5
37Abkai fejergi eiten jaka be yongkiyaha bitheGeography of the whole Chinese state in Manchu, 2 books, manuscript5
38Lakcaha jecen de takuraha babe ejehe bitheDescription of an embassy to distant lands, in Manchu, 1 book5
39Gu[10] yuzhi tianxia yitongzhi
Full geography of the whole Chinese state in Chinese, 4 books, composed by imperial command8
40Han i araha manju gisun buleku bitheMirror of the Manchu language, composed by imperial command, 3 books palace printing12
41Gu[10] yuzhi bishu shan zhuang shi
Khan’s verses on the summer palaces built for the heat, in Manchu and Chinese, 1 book with pictures6
42Gu[10] yu ding san yuan jia zi wan nian li
Brief chronology in Chinese and calendars for a hundred years forward, 2 notebooks, palace printing2
43Shengjing zhi jie
Gospel for feast days translated into Chinese by Jesuits, 1 book, with brief commentary6
44Man han qian zi wen
Little thousand-word book in Manchu and Chinese50
45Man Han ming xian ji
Proverbs of famous Chinese sages in Manchu and Chinese, 1 small book, translated into Russian2
46Man Han san zi jing
Little three-word didactic book in Manchu and Chinese, translated into Russian2//
47Nimeku be dasara bitheMedical book in Manchu, manuscript, 2 books5
48Tai šang ni acabume karulara bitheJust recompense in Manchu, with pictures, 1 book5
49Suan fa
Arithmetic in Chinese, 1 book80
50Dai Qing lü
Laws in Manchu, 1 book6
51Man Han zeli
New statutes in Manchu and Chinese, 2 books8//
52Enduringge tacihiyan be badarambuha bitheTeachings of His Holy Majesty in Manchu and Chinese, 1 book1

New acquisitions, 1748

In 1747, the Academy suffered a catastrophic fire, which destroyed a number of precious Qing books and artifacts, including, apparently, much of Rossokhin’s own collection. The next year Rossokhin submitted a memorandum in which he described how he had “procured newly published Qing books on historical, civil, and other subjects from various ranks of people,” offering to sell these to the library. The people involved were likely the personnel of a caravan that had just returned from Beijing, including a number of students who were engaged in translating some of these books (like Ivan Bykov, who was working on the three conquest dynasty histories).[12] These books were, of course, hardly “newly published”—unless Rossokhin meant “newly reprinted”—since many of them dated to the large-scale Manchu codification enterprises of the Kangxi era.

This collection seems to have established the basis for the library’s subsequent focus on strategically relevant knowledge—historical, legal, military, and geographical works—as opposed to the classics and religion that had formed the mainstay of the earlier Jesuit-supplied collection. This went hand-in-hand with a focus on Manchu, as documents relating to Qing policy were far more likely to be either Manchu or bilingual, whereas classics and commentaries were more likely to be in Chinese. Gathering the books Rossokhin collected represented a much more systematic investment in Manchu historical works than the library had hitherto attempted. The twenty-four-volume Dz jy tung giyan g’ang mu bithe was now the largest Manchu or Chinese work the library had ever possessed.

List of Books[13]
[Description/Category][14]Price (Rubles)[15]KopecksThis history is called in Chinese [sic].[16][Title][17]
1Three famous histories. The first: on the Dai Liao khans from Greater Tartary who possessed most of the Chinese state for 300 years until the arrival of the Aizhin [Aisin] khans20Dailiyoo gurun i suduriDai liau guruni suduri. History of the Dai Liao dynasty khans.
2Second. On the Aisin (Dai Jin in Chinese) khans from the same Tartary, who upon destroying the aforementioned Dai Liao khans ruled over almost all of China for a hundred years.Aisin gurun i suduriAi zhin’ guruni suduri. History of the Aijin dynasty khans.
3Third. On the Dai Yuan khans (who came from the same Tartary, of the famous Chinggis Khan) who not only destroyed the Aisin khans, but brought all of China with all the lands appertaining to it under their dominion, and ruled over it for up to one hundred years. These three stories are printed by the direct edict of the Manchu khan Shunzhi in the first year of his reign, in Manchu, 4 volumes in [Chinese] cloth.Daiyuwan gurun i suduriDai iuan’ guruni suduri. History of the Dai Yuan dynasty khans.
4Newly corrected full chronicle of all the khans who have ruled over China. On the foundation of their governments. And of all the useful advice they have received at various times from their highborn ministers and from famous sages on good regulations for the constitution and rule of their state, with clear annotations, which is divided into three parts and printed in Manchu by direct order of the Manchu khan Kangxi in the 30th year of his reign, in twenty-four volumes, which is called Zizhi tongjian gangmu, in taffeta.50Dz jy tung giyan g’ang mu bithe ciyan biyan ho biyan sioi biyanDzy dzhy tun gian’ gan mu bitkhe, tsian’ bian’, khyu bian’, siu bian’. General mirror to aid in ruling a state, containing part one, part two, part three.
5History of the division of the Chinese state into three kingdoms, newly corrected and printed in Manchu and Chinese, six volumes, in Chinese cloth.30Manju nikan hergen i kamcime araha ilan gurun i bitheMan’dzhu nikan khergeni kamtsime aracha, ilan’ guruni bitkhe, i.e., history of the three kingdoms in Manchu and Chinese.
6History of the exploits of a certain student, with didactic songs, newly corrected, in Manchu, one volume in cloth.1Tuwancihiyame dasaha si siyang gi bitheTuan’tsikhiame dasakha si sian gi bitkhe, i.e., newly corrected history of Xi Xiang Ji [sic].
7Manuscript history about two wise students and two wise maidens of a noble family, in Manchu.250Ping šan leng yan i bithePin shan’ lyn ian’i bitkhe, i.e., history of four learned persons.
8Famous history of the exploits of a certain gentleman, which contains great didactic learning and all Chinese customs, printed under the Manchu khan Kangxi in the 41st year of his rule in Manchu, four volumes, in Chinese cloth.25Gin ping mei bitheGin’ pin myi bitkhe, history of flowers blooming in a golden vessel
9Newly corrected code of laws of the Manchu khans, with all the regulations issued to their boards, with a table of families [?] and tables of various types of courts, explained with detailed commentaries. Printed by the Manchu khan Yongzheng in the [blank] year of his reign. In Manchu. Four books in cloth.30Daicing gurun i fafun i bithe, suhe hergen sindafi kooli be kamcihabiDaitsin guruni fafuni bitkhe, sukhe hergen’ shindafi kouli be kamtsikhabi Law code of the Qing state with detailed commentaries and regulations appended.
10Edicts of the same Manchu khan, given to the Eight Banners, concerning various affairs, from the fifth to the eleventh year of his reign; one volume in Manchu, in blue taffeta.6Dergi hese jakūn gūsa de wasimbuhanggeDergi khese dzhakun’ gusa de vazhimbukhannge. Edicts of His Majesty to the Eight Banners.
11The Manchu khan Kangxi’s investigations and methods for preventing various dangers to the populace from certain rivers. Two volumes in Manchu, covered with yellow silk, and the books, of which there are 16, are also bound in yellow silk. First, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth books contain the methods which the aforementioned khan developed between the 23rd and 45th years of his reign for the benefit of his subjects. The ninth contains a study of the river Huanghe-bira [Yellow River] in the provinces of Hunan and Shandong. The tenth contains a study of the same river in Jiangnan province, and of the towns of Gui jing di and Gao jia yan. The eleventh contains the same. The twelfth contains a study of the river Yun he, which is used to transport state reserves from the provinces of Shandong, Jiangnan, Zhejiang and from the Beijing districts. The thirteenth contains a study of the river Weihe-bira, and of the springs and streams in Shandong. The fourteenth contains the same, as well as the town of Jiu wang tai, and the rivers bordering Jiangnan province. In the fifteenth book he describes the appointment of commissars to investigate the rivers. In the sixteenth he describes how to build levees along riverbanks to forestall the danger [of flooding].15Arga bodogonArkha bodokhon’. Methods and investigations.
12A famous philosophical book compiled from different Chinese philosophers, which describes the structure of the world, the origin of things, of the essence and properties of heaven, earth, and humans, ethics, physics, and metaphysics, and mathematics, printed by direct edict of the Manchu khan Kangxi in the 56th year of his rule. One volume in Manchu. In Chinese cloth.8Sing li jing ei bitheSin li dzin i bitkhe. Philosophical teaching about nature and of the properties of heaven earth and humans and of the origin of things.
13The teaching of true philosophy, composed by the famous philosopher Zhu Xi under the Song khans, and now printed in Manchu and Chinese. One volume. In taffeta.230Manju nikan hergen i kamcime araha ju dz jiyei yoo bitheMandzhu nikan’ khergeni kamtsime arakha dzhu dze iau bitkhe. Brief philosophical teaching, composed by Zhuzi, in Manchu and Chinese.
14Brief collection of pious sayings in Chinese and Manchu, one volume in cloth.2Koolingga gisun i oyonggo be šošoho bitheKoulinga gisuni oiongo be shoshokho bitkhe. Brief collection of pious sayings.
15Mirror of the Manchu language composed in dialogues, in Manchu and Chinese. One volume. In cloth.2Emu be tacifi ilan be hafukiyara manju gisun i buleku bitheEmu be tatsifi ilan be khafukiara mandzhu gisuni buleku bitkhe. Mirror of the Manchu language which by means of the learning of one thing leads into the learning of three things.

New work from the Jellatschitsch caravan, 1755-1757

Rossokhin had another opportunity to augment the collection in the mid-1750s when the last official Russian caravan went to China. Accompanying it was a doctor named Franz Jellatschitsch (Jelačič), who was hired to act as a kind of procurement agent for the Academy. Although books constituted a minority of the goods he was asked to bring back, Rossokhin provided him with an extensive catalog of acquisitions. In compiling this he drew mostly on Fourmont’s 1739 catalog of the Paris collections, perhaps deliberately aiming to improve the library’s Chinese-language holdings as opposed to its Manchu ones. Jellatschitsch, perhaps with some assistance from the Beijing-trained caravan director Aleksei Vladykin, was remarkably successful, obtaining copies of almost all the requested books (the successful acquisitions are marked with a + here).[18]

Rossokhin’s posthumous library

Larion Rossokhin died in 1761 at the age of forty-four, leaving behind a wife and son. Although his wife managed to obtain a generous stipend from the Academy, she also found multiple other ways of monetizing her late husband’s expertise. One of these was selling the books found at his house to the Academy Library. Although in some cases she apparently sold the library’s own books back to it, it is clear that Rossokhin had kept many of his original Beijing purchases for himself instead of handing them over to the Academy. The fact that the total was verified by two officials with significant Chinese and Manchu expertise as being only thirty-two rubles may imply that Rossokhin was marking up the price earlier, that his books were all small pamphlets (as a significant subset clearly were), or that they were in such poor condition that they were no longer as valuable. Likely each of these factors played a role. Nonetheless, despite the imprecision of their descriptions, these specimens of High Qing ephemeral printing are in some ways unique: for instance, they provide our only evidence that the famous Eating Crabs Youth Book was in fact much older than previously believed.[19]

Description of Chinese and Manchu Books[20]

  1. Perpetual calendar in Chinese, with one page in Russian listing how long the khans of China have continued in a direct line and how many khans there were in each dynasty
  2. Christian mysteries in both languages
  3. The Khan’s instructions to military men
  4. Brief description of various historical affairs, etc.
  5. Story of the learned man Linbo
  6. Story of the grammarian Zhang
  7. The rising and setting of five planets
  8. Four Manchu calendars and a Mongol one in Chinese
  9. Story of how a Manchu and his wife ate crabs
  10. Pamphlet in verse called Ming xian zi and with it another, about how a little boy brought the great philosopher Confucius into doubt
  11. A thousand Chinese characters in verse and translated into Manchu
  12. Seven pamphlets about how to write memorials [?] to different people
  13. Commentaries on the philosophical books of Confucius
  14. Story of a nobleman named <blank>
  15. Description of natural things, what natural effects they have on human nature
  16. Description of human happiness, of which day in a month is auspicious for a person and what to do then
  17. Didactic pamphlet about how to be faithful and respectful to one’s emperor, father, and mother
  18. Three-character verse pamphlet about filial piety and other obligations
  19. Book by Xu Wen Gong [Zhu Wengong?] about various important state affairs
  20. With testimonies given by wise men to that same khan.
  21. Register of all the articles in the Chinese law code.
  22. Mindan abecedarium, or Peguan in European, this state is called Pegu.
  23. Mongol religious creed, also Kalmyk
  24. Teaching of the wise khan Yongzheng to all ranks
  25. Calculation of years elapsed since the founding of their Chinese state
  26. On the Chinese economy and silkworms 2 books
  27. A Chinese dice game for entertainment, two cards
  28. Brief Chinese lexicon
  29. Chinese calendar
  30. Brief arithmetic
  31. Last testament and regrets about losing his kingdom by the last Dai Ming khan named Chongzhen.
  32. Assorted Chinese-Manchu vocabulary.
  33. Grammatical pronunciation of Chinese letters.
  34. Manchu prosody.
  35. Commentary on the true Christian teaching.
  36. Life of the Holy Mother of God and with it book of Christian confession in Chinese
  37. On filial piety
  38. Reflections of the wise khan Yongzheng on the extirpation of conspiracies by officials so that they do not do anything other than what is right and necessary by their emperor’s order
  39. On the assay of silver, good and bad
  40. Three geographical pamphlets
  41. Insert for those who are learning to write Chinese with which characters can be seen through the paper
  42. Testament of the khan Yongzheng to his son
  43. Manchu medical book also containing anatomy
  44. Pamphlet inscribed All the rare characters contained in the books of the philosopher Confucius and translated into Manchu
  45. Tables of solar and lunar eclipses in China
  46. Ten thousand Chinese characters with commentary on who they were written by and why
  47. A manuscript book like an Apothegmata containing various elaborate speeches
  48. Reflections on the use of an army, and how it can be best deployed
  49. Gazetteer of the whole Chinese state
  50. Tables of all ranks employed in the Chinese state
  51. Card and chess games
  52. Various gazettes
  53. Various comedies
  54. Manchu alphabet with translation
  55. Mirror of the Manchu language with Chinese
  56. Most necessary grammatical terms

<The above books were inventoried by Collegiate Assessor Aleksei Vladykin. Their total price is thirty-two rubles. Signed: Collegiate Assessor . . .>

<That the above books cost thirty two rubles witnessed by translator Aleksei Leontiev>

Chinese and Manchu books at the Academy, 1798

Although the Academy continued to accumulate books produced in the Qing empire in the decades after Rossokhin’s death, acquisitions appear to have been haphazard and episodic and did not generate detailed registers of new accessions. A comprehensive catalog was compiled by Rossokhin’s sinological successor Leont’ev in 1766; it survives today in the Archive of Orientalists at the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St. Petersburg.[21] Gradually, the orderly collection described by this catalog began to fray around the edges, and finally in the 1790s the Academy librarian Ivan Busse decided to update it. The resulting “catalogus librorum sinicorum” was actually published in Busse’s own German-language Journal von Russland (vol. 2, 1794) but here I have translated the archival version from Russian instead, whose observations on missing collection items facilitate tracking individual manuscripts as they moved through the decades. The printed German text, together with a preface not present here, was previously published by Hartmut Walravens.[22]

Catalogus librorum sinicorum[23]

In compiling this Catalog of Chinese and Manchu Books, I took as a basis a catalog compiled in 1766 by the well-known translator of those languages, Leont’ev, which I used to once more bring into order the books that had since then fallen into chaos, as far as this was possible given my lack of knowledge in that language, following the numbers, sizes, and Chinese characters. Thus it is possible that in the future someone who knows these languages may find that they do not agree with those indicated in the Catalogs, and I myself am aware of several:

  • No. 23. Copies of 1, from the privilege inscribed on a stone above the Jesuit church, given to them by Khan Shunzhi; 2, from the Jesuit petition about not destroying a church in one province; and 3, from the letter from a Chinese governor to arriving Europeans about finding a Jesuit—one bundle—are all missing entirely.
  • 24. Reflections of a wise official named Depei on the immortality of the soul, in Chinese, vol. 1-2 are missing, there are only three notebooks.
  • 32. Chinese commentary on the Sishu is missing entirely.
  • 45. Collection of moral teachings of various authors, in Chinese, there are only four parts, the fifth is missing.
  • 51. Poems of Khan Kangxi, missing entirely.
  • No. 62, the printed images of how grain is grown and silkworms are raised, with inscriptions in Chinese, consists of two notebooks, not one.
  • 63. Observations on the raising and training of falcons, in Chinese, consists of three notebooks instead of one.
  • 111. Story of the famous bandit Jing Zhong, in Chinese, is missing entirely.
  • 130. Travels of an idolater elder to the Western regions in order to receive scriptures from his god, known as Xi-yu-ji, in Chinese, missing.
  • 142. 143. 144. Atlas of the Chinese state, Chinese provinces, etc., missing.
  • 150. Depiction of the heavenly ways by which stars and planets travel, as well as globes, in Chinese, 2 volumes and 2 bundles, third bundle is missing.
  • 175. Mirror of past and present philosophers about medical science, known as Guji yijian, in Chinese, missing.
  • 177. Observations and recipes for various diseases, in Manchu, manuscript, only five notebooks, six are [is?] missing.
  • 181. Manchu lexicon, three volumes instead of six, therefore three are missing.

The compositions listed in the catalog under the following numbers can also be considered incomplete: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 33; for others, although there may be many of them and more than the number of missing notebooks may be found, due to the absence of inscriptions on them and due to their totally different headings in Russian, they cannot be distinguished.

Moreover, there are also eighteen other books, of which 10 and 5 seem to belong together due to the size and similarity of their Chinese headings. From this excess someone knowledgeable might compensate for the larger portion of the aforementioned gaps. Due to this, I have not excluded the missing compositions from the Catalog and noted them here only in case I should have to answer for them in the future.

As far as Mongolian and Tibetan books and images are concerned, it seems to me that the largest and best portion of these was given to the Academy by the Mongolian and Tibetan translator Jaehrig, during his residence here between 1788 and 1790; they are all found through Nos. 1-4, or rather, 1-25, No. 32-49 of images.

Of those first No. 1-4, or better 1-24, Shigimuni, on the right side: “25 total figures depicted in one image”: I never found these and could not ask about them, because M. Jaehrig delivered the books and images to me in the summer of 1789, and the catalog shortly before his departure, in the winter of 1790. Meanwhile I found an image of a Mongol idol not listed in any catalog, in the middle of which there is a six-armed idol, apparently female, with many small heads around it, holding a trident in the upper left arm which goes behind the figure’s back and whose other end is held by the upper right arm. At the top of the main figure there are two idols, red and yellow, a green one on the left, and blue and yellow idols below. Some of these figures are surrounded by wreaths of small heads. Although the number of heads in both small and large human figures, which includes three idol heads, totals twenty-five, it is nonetheless known that this is not the same image that Jaehrig describes. Meanwhile I have put it in the other’s place until I have reliable information about it. M. Senior Grot, pastor of the local Lutheran church on Vasil’evskii Island, to whom I have sent J. Jaehrig’s works for editing following the command of Her Highness Princess Dashkova, possesses other sheets in addition to the one listed under No. 32-49 in the catalog, which have not been listed; and maybe when M. Senior Grot finishes his labors, there may be others found among Jaehrig’s manuscripts; in the same way I have entered into the Kunstkamera catalog, under the heading of Mongol books, several paintings in their frames, which belong there. In the appendix to the Mongol and Tibetan books, everything that the Academy library received from M. Jaehrig is indicated; most of those, especially the Tibetan works, do not belong together.

Finally the Japanese books were delivered to the Academy in part by the late State Councillor Laxman, in September 1791, in part by M. Dr. Schtitzer, doctor of the Dutch East India Company, in January 1795.

In St. Petersburg, 10 September 1798. Ivan Busse <Johann Heinrich Büsse>

Catalog Of Chinese and Manchu Books In the Library of the Academy of Sciences[24]
1. Gospel in Chinese with commentaryV. 1[25]
2. The sameV. 1
3. The sameV. 1
4. The sameV. 1
5. Theology, called Zhou xing xiaoyou, in ChineseV. 1, 2, 3
6. Ten Commandments, in ChineseV. 1
7. Proof of the truth of Christian teaching, called Kao yi zhi qiu, in ChineseV. 1
8. On the future reward of the human soul, called Cheng shi liu shuo, in ChineseV. 1
9. On the divine creation of all creatures, called Sheng jiu qian shuo, in ChineseV. 1
10. On the Christian mysteries, called Sheng shi li dian, in ChineseV. 1
11. On the Eucharist, called Mi xi jing dian, in ChineseV. 1
12. On the Life and miracles of the Virgin Mary, called Sheng mu xing shi, in ChineseV. 1
13. Prayer book in ChineseV. 1
14. The sameV. 1
15. Conversation between a Chinese Philosopher and a Christian one on teachings, including verses from the Christian scriptureNotebooks 1, 2, 3.
16. Seven deadly sins, called Qi ke, in Chinese.V. 1
17.Conversation between a Chinese Philosopher and a Christian one on various subjects, including the incarnation of Christ, in ChineseV. 1, 2, 3.
18. Conversation between a Chinese Philosopher and a Christian one on heavenly bodies, and on Divinity, called Tian wen lüe, in Chinese.V. 1
19. Proof regarding a rock found in the earth, on which there is an inscription from the Christian faith, called Jing jiu bei quan. Attached is a printed copy of this inscription in Chinese.V. 1
20. Proof of the existence of God, called Wan wu zhen yuan, in Chinese.V. 1
21. Virtuous living, called De xing pu, in Chinese.Notebooks 1, 2.
22. Questions and answers about Christianity in ChineseNotebook 1
23. Copies, 1) from the privileges written on the rock by the Jesuit church, given to the Jesuits by the Khan Shunzhi, 2) from the Jesuit petition about not destroying a church in one province, 3) from the letter from the Chinese governor to arriving Europeans about finding a certain Jesuit1 bundle
Philosophical, civil, and military
24. Reflections of a wise official named De Pei about the immortality of the soul, in ChineseV. 1, 2. Two notebooks.
25. Moral and political teachings, called Si shu. In both languages.[26]V. 1
26. The same Si shu, in ChineseV. 1
27. The same Si shu, in ManchuV. 1, 2.
28. The same in both languagesV. 1
29. The same in ChineseV. 1
30. The sameV. 1
31. Commentaries on the Si shu in ManchuV. 6
32. The same commentary in ChineseV. 2
33. Moral and political teachings, called Shu jing, in Chinese.V. 1
34. Verses from moral and political teachings, called Shi jing, in Chinese.V. 1
35. The same verses in both languages.V. 1
36. Philosophical sayings, called Nü zhi Tu wen, in Chinese.4 vols.
37. Moral and political teachings, called Wu jing, in ChineseV. 1
38. Political rites, called Li ji, in ChineseV. 1
39. Philosophical sayings, called Ge yan, in both languages.V4 notebooks
40. Philosophical sayings, called Cai gen tang, in both languages.V. 1
41. Recompense for virtue and vice, from the idolatrous [Chinese] Buddhist faith, in Manchu.4 notebooks
42. Verses from moral and political teachings, called Bu yuan shi jing, in ChineseV. 1
43. Ceremonies and rites that take place in temples dedicated to past khans, called Wei miao li you, in ChineseV. 1
44. Moral and political teachings, called Wu jing, in Chinese. V. 1
45. Collection of moral teachings of various authors, in Chinese.V. 5
46. Ancient rites, called Li ji da quan, in Chinese.V. 2
47. Commentary on symbols, through which the foundation of learning is taught, called Yi tu zu, in Chinese.V. 1
48. Symbols, through which the foundation of learning is taught, called Yi jing, in Chinese. V. 1
49. Domestic conversation of the famous philosopher Kong fu zi, in Chinese.V. 1
50. Teachings for youth, called Xiao xue, in ChineseV. 1
51. Poems of Khan Kangxi to the cool places where Khans go in the summer to escape the heat, called Bi shu shan zhuang shi, in Manchu.3 notebooks, V. 1
52. Teachings of Khan Yongzheng to his soldiers, called Shi liu tiao, in Chinese.V. 1, 3 or 4 notebooks?
53. Praise to the holy sages, called Xin xian tu zang, in Chinese. 4 notebooks.
54. Famous poems, called Meng hong shi, in Chinese. V. 1
55. Poems with a thousand Chinese characters, called Qian zi wen. V. 1
56. Reflections on various topics by the philosopher Laozi. V. 1
Civil and military
57. Regulations compiled under the present Manchu emperors, called Dai Qing liu li, in Chinese.V. 2
58. Military code, called Jun qiu zhen kou, in Chinese.V. 2
59. Reflections and methods for ruling a state, called Guo yu guo chi, in Chinese.V. 1
60. Military methods, called Bing fa, in ManchuV. 1
61. Agricultural and other country rites, called Nong zheng quan shu. In Chinese. V. 2
62. Printed pictures about farming grain and raising silkworms, with inscriptions in Chinese.2 notebooks.
63. Reflections on raising and training falcons for hunting, in Chinese.1 notebook.
64. Three-character Chinese poems.1 notebook
65. On the obligations of civil and military ranks, called Zeli, in Chinese. Vol. 1, 2
66. Collected philosophical reflections of the ancient philosopher Laozi, and with itcommentaries on the chronicle Zizhi tongjian, in Chinese.V. 1
67. Concordance of years by the heavenly zodiac, and by terrestrial measurements, of how many years each khan ruled, called Jia zi gui ji, in ChineseV. 4
68. Testament of Khan Yongzheng to his heir, in Chinese.V. 1
69. Philosophical reflections, gathered from various books in Chinese.V. 1
70. Symbols, through which the foundation of knowledge is depicted, called Lü jing, in Chinese.V. 1
71. Military art, called Yu jing san zi, in Chinese.V. 1
72. Personal edict of Khan Kangxi on the trial of an official caught committing a crime, in both languages.V. 1
73. Account of the rites and regulations of the ancient dynasty of Zhou in Chinese. V. 2
74. Well-crafted oratorical speeches, in both languages.V. 1
75. Lessons of the Ming dynasty khan Hongwu, in Manchu.V. 1
76. The Khan’s instructions to military men.1 bundle
77. On filial piety and copies of edicts.1 sheaf
78. Reflections on various topics by the famous philosopher Zhu zi, in both languages.V. 1
79. Similar reflections, called Xing li, in both languages.V. 1
80. Philosophical reflections on various topics with commentary, called Xing li jing, in ManchuV. 1
81. Annual registers of ranks and places, who is to be found where. 17 notebooks.
82. Table of ranks, called Ping ji kou, in Chinese. V. 1
83. Copies of reports and personal edicts of Khan Yongzheng in Manchu. V. 1
84. The same in both languages.28 notebooks.
85. Copies of reports and personal edicts of Khan Kangxi, in Manchu, manuscript.V. 1
86. Law code composed under the Manchu khans, in ManchuV. 1-5.
87. State rights and obligations of the Khans of the Ming Dynasty, called Dai Ming huidian, in Chinese.V. 2
88. Wise counsels of ancient khans and officials, called Gu wen yuan jian, in Chinese. V. 1-4
89. The same Gu wen yuan jian in Manchu.V. 1-5
Historical and geographical
90. Mirror of ancient warring kingdoms with maps and tables, called Chun qiu, in Chinese.V. 1, 2, 3.
91. Commentary on said mirror, called Chun qiu zi, in Chinese.V. 1, 2
92. Register of all sages from each century, called Wan xing tong pu, in Chinese.V. 1-4
93. State chronicle, called Gang mu, in Manchu. V. 24.
94. Same chronicle in ChineseV. 11
95. State chronicle, called Tong jian, in Chinese.V. 12
96. Same chronicle, called Tong jian zhi zi, in Chinese.V. 2
97. Short state chronicle, called Hafu buleku, in Manchu. V. 8
98. Brief history, called Pangushi, concerning all the khans that have ruled China, manuscript in Manchu.V. 1
99. Table of all Chinese khans, how many years each reigned, in Russian.1 bundle
100. Brief history of the Dai Ming dynasty, called Ming shi gai, in Chinese.V. 5
101. History of the western Han dynasty, manuscript, in Manchu.15 bundles
102. History of three warring realms, in both languages.V. 6
103. The same in Chinese.V. 1, 2
104. History of the Dai Liao realm in ManchuV. 1
105. History of the Ai Jin realm in ManchuV. 1
106. History of the Dai Yuan realm in ManchuV. 2
107. Comprehensive history of the Dai Ming dynasty, called Ming shi, in ChineseVols. 10
108. History of seven sages in ChineseV. 1
109. History of an intemperate rich man, called Jin ping mei. In Manchu. V. 4
110. The same in ChineseV. 2
111. History of the famous bandit Jing zhong, in Chinese. V. 1
112. History of a sage, Lin erbao, manuscript, in Manchu5 notebooks
113. History of two philosophers and two learned women, called Ping shan leng yan, manuscript, in Manchu10 notebooks
114. History of the famous Song bandits called Shui hu, in Chinese.V. 2
115. History of the sage Zhang Sheng, in ManchuV. 1
116. The same history in Manchu and ChineseV. 1
117. Ancient history, called Shi ji, in Chinese.Vols. 4
118. Fable of the crabs, in both languages.1 notebook
119. Funny poems and fables1 sheaf
120. Brief ancient history with tables of the dynasties, called Li dai nian biao, in ChineseVols. 8
121. Ancient history of various governments, known as Lishi gang jian, in ChineseVol. 4
122. History of the Khans of the ancient Han dynasty, in ChineseV. 4
123. History of the Northern Khans and their officials, called Bei shi na, in Chinese.V. 5
124. History of the Southern Khans and their officials, called Nan shi, in Chinese.Vols. 2
125. History of the Dai Yuan realm, in Manchu.Vol. 2
126. History of the Khans of the ancient Zhou dynasty and their officials, in ChineseV. 1
127. History of the Khans of the five dynasties Tang, Song, Mo, Yuan, Jin, and their officials, in ChineseVols. 8
128. Journal of the faithful official Fang bun in Manchu.Vol. 1
129. Journal of the continuation of the war with the Junghars and Mongols, in Manchu.Vols. 5
130. Journey of an idolater elder into the Western Regions to receive teachings from his god, called Xi yu ji, in ChineseV. 2
131. Journey of a Chinese envoy to the Kalmyk khan Aiuki, through Russian territories, in ManchuV. 1
132. Description of the Manchu people and rule, called Jakūn gūsai tong jy, in ManchuVols. 16
133. New state geography with maps, called Dai Qing yi tong zhi, compiled under the current Khan Qianlong, in ChineseVol. 24
134. State geography, called Yi tong zhi, composed under the Dai Ming khans, in ChineseVol. 4
135. Brief geography, called Huang yu biao, in ChineseVol. 4
136. Brief geographical description of European countries, in ChineseV. 1
137. Brief geographical description, manuscript, in ManchuVol. 2
138. Appendix to Geography, called Jin ding guang yu ji, in ChineseV. 1
139. The sameV. 1
140. State geography called Yi tong zhi, in ChineseV. 4
141. Ancient atlas of the Chinese state, in ChineseV. 1
142. Atlas of all Chinese provinces, with thirty-two maps. In Chinese.4 bundles
143. The same4 bundles
144. Atlas of all the steppe places and some of the provinces adjacent to the steppe, 22 maps in Manchu, settled provinces in Chinese4 bundles
145. Copy of the treaty between the Russian Empire and the Chinese State, manuscript, in Manchu1 notebook
146. Description of the roads of the whole state, called Shi huo zhuxing, in ChineseV. 1
147. Description of the mountains and seas and the animals and birds living there, in ChineseV. 1
148. Ancient geographical description of the Chinese state in Chinese, called Tong zhiVols. 15
Astronomical and Geometrical
149. Astronomy, known as Hong tian yi shuo, in ChineseVol. 1
150. Depiction of heavenly paths by which stars and planets travel, as well as globes, in Chinese2 vols, 3 bundles
151. Depiction of spheres and astronomical instruments in Chinese6 notebooks
152. Descriptions of lunar and solar eclipses that took place in one year and one month under Khan Yongzheng, in Chinese2 notebooks
153. Astronomy, called Li xian kou, in ChineseVols. 6
154. Astronomy, called Yi xian ji, in ChineseVol. 1
155. Description of heavenly signs, called Jia ji, in ChineseVol. 1
156. The rotation of the four seasons of the year, called Yue ling guang yi. In Chinese. Vol. 1
157. Calendars of various years, in both languages.38 notebooks
158. Perpetual calendar with table of all previous khans. In Chinese.2 notebooks
159. On Astronomy, called Tianwen dacheng, in Chinese4 vols.
160. On the planets and heavenly paths, known as Yi xian kou, in ChineseV. 1
161. Arithmetic, known as Xuan fa quan, in Chinese.4 notebooks
162. Geometrical calculations, in ChineseVols. 3
163. Appendix to geometry, called Xing jian xuan fa, in ChineseVol. 1
164. On Geometrical science, called Ji he yuan, in ChineseV. 1
165. Medical book by Zhang Shi, in ChineseV. 3
166. On surgery, on the human body, on all members and organs, called Jian zhi da, in ChineseVol. 2
167. Foundation of medical science with examples from animals, birds, grasses, and roots, called Bencao gangmu. In ChineseV. 7
168. On the treatment of fever, in ChineseV. 1
169. Description of various medicines, for which sicknesses they are used, called Bencao meng wang. In ChineseV. 1
170. The sameVols. 7
171. The interpretation of pulses, called Mo jue, in ChineseVols. 2
172. Medical book for external illnesses, called Wai ke zhen zong, in ChineseV. 1
173. Medical science, called Lei jing, in ChineseVols. 2
174. Foundations of medical science, called Yi zong bi du, in ChineseVols. 1
175. Mirror of past and present philosophers concerning medical science, called Gu ji yi jian, in ChineseVols. 1
176. On medical science, by Li Shicai, in ChineseV. 1
177. Reflections and recipes for various illnesses, in Manchu, manuscript11 notebooks
178. Chinese lexicon with pronunciation of characters, in Chinese.Vols. 2
179. Mongol lexicon with Manchu translationVols. 2
180. Old Manchu lexicon with Chinese translationV. 1
181. Manchu lexiconVols. 6
182. Chinese lexicon, called Kangxi zidianV. 6
183. Chinese lexicon, called Zhengzi tongVols. 4
184. Chinese lexicon, called Hai pianV. 1
185. Manchu lexicon, with Chinese translation, called Qing [wen]jianV. 1
186. Chinese lexicon, called Feng yi ziV. 1
187. Chinese lexicon, called Hua xu ziV. 1
188. Mongol lexicon with Manchu translationV. 2
189. Brief Chinese lexiconV. 1
190. Lexicon of ancient Chinese charactersV. 2
191. Lexicon in both languagesV. 1
192. Grammatical rules and dialogues1 sheaf
193. Manchu grammar with Chinese translationVol. 1
194. Dialogues in both languagesV. 2
195. Manchu abecedarium with Grammar4 notebooks
196. Chinese vocabulary with Manchu translation, divided into sectionsVol. 1
197. Necessary vocabulary in both languagesV. 2
198. Explication of ancient Chinese proto-charactersV. 1
199. Demonstration of how to pronounce Chinese charactersVol. 1
200. Dialogues in Chinese and ManchuVol. 1
201. Vocabularies in both languages.Vol. 1
202. Various vocabularies, with stories, and reflections on Arithmetic and Geography.1 sheaf
On various topics, incomplete, damaged, or decayed from age
1. Register of points of a law code1.
2. Mindan abecedarium1.
3. Khan’s instructions1.
4. Reflections on agriculture and silk production
5. Brief Chinese lexicon
6. Reflections on the assay of silver
7. Discourse on the last khan of the Dai Ming dynasty1 [7?]
8. Miracles of the Virgin Mary
9. [empty]
10. Refutation of the idolaters’ teaching
11. Proof of the veracity of Christian teaching
12. Question of a small boy that cast the famous philosopher Kong fu zi into confusion.1
13. Mongol confession of faith1
14. Humorous stories and games
15. Card, chess, and dice games1
16. Count of years of all the Chinese khans1
17. Manchu dialogues with Russian translation
18. Topics given to learned men during exams1
19. Reflections by the philosopher Xue wen gong on various topics
20. Three-character moral verses
21. On loyalty to the sovereign1
22. Geographical descriptions
23. Various poems and songs
24. Poems of a thousand characters1
25. Interpretations of philosophical terms
26. Demonstration of how to write reports and to whom1
27. Manchu abecedarium with translation1
28. On the rise and setting of five planets1
29. History of the learned Zhang
30. Overlay for students of Chinese writing, through which characters can be seen1
31. Medical book
32. Table of solar and lunar eclipses
33. Ten thousand Chinese characters1
34. Reflections on the military art5 sheaves total
35. Notebook written in Chinese, apparently astronomical, sent by Professor Beutler from Mitau; transferred by the Conference on 20 October 17961
36. Printed political document from 31 October 1796 [sic! actually 1706], in Chinese and Manchu with Latin translation,which was meant to be distributed to all foreigners arriving in China; signed by many Jesuits1

Klaproth’s stolen books, 1812

One of the academy’s most illustrious employees was Julius von Klaproth, who nearly made it to China with the 1805 Golovkin embassy but was forced to turn back at the Mongolian border. He performed valuable services for the academy’s library, especially by creating a catalogue raisonné of the Qing-language collections in 1810. But after he left St. Petersburg for Paris that year in order to procure Manchu type for a new grammar, he decided not to come back. The result was an acrimonious dispute in which Klaproth and the Academy’s leadership exchanged furious semi-public letters; among other concerns, it involved the accusation that Klaproth had stolen books from the Academy, falsely claiming to have returned everything before his departure. Russian representatives tried for years to locate the missing books—once even stumbling on an abandoned collection of other Qing-language texts Klaproth left behind in Florence as collateral for a debt he failed to pay, which did not prove to be the works in question. Klaproth’s purloined texts were never found, but he clearly used them in his work, and it is likely that the bilingual G’in ping mei in his Paris archive is the very same copy Rossokhin purchased for the library in 1748.[27]

Attachment A[28]

List of books, manuscripts, and maps taken from the Library of the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences by M. Klaproth and still not returned by him, even though there are receipts for those books at the Academy signed by him.

  • 1. Manuscripts:
  • No. 202 of the Old Chinese Catalog: Manchu Dictionary, with Chinese and Russian. 1 vol. fol.
  • By receipt from 25 January 1810
  • No. 37 of the General Catalog of Manuscripts: “Bayeri Geographia Mangjurica et Mungalica.” 1 vol.
  • By receipt from 14 January 1807
  • 2. Chinese books and maps
  • No. 142 of the Old Chinese Catalog: Chinese atlas of China in 32 sheets. Signed 8 May 1805
  • No. 198 of the Old Chinese Catalog: Old Chinese dictionary. 1 vol. Signed 14 January 1807
  • No. 158 of the Old Chinese Catalog: Wan-nian-chou. Chronology of Chinese emperors. 2 notebooks. Signed 25 May 1809.
  • No. 133 by the old and 121 by the new Catalog: Tai-Hsing-i-thoung-tschi, or the General Chinese Geography, last, i.e., 24th vol. Signed 10 August 1810.
  • No. 127 of the Old Catalog. Chinese History of five different dynasties. First notebook taken, signed 21 March 1810; (three notebooks taken signed 8 November 1809, but then crossed out). All five volumes of this composition are missing from the Academy.
  • 3. Books and maps
  • Abulfedae Anales Muslimici. Comp. I. I. Reiske. (1 vol.) No, 34. Cat. Scriptores historiae graecae. Signed 26 March 1809.
  • Büsses Journal von Rüßland. 1 und 2 band. N. 168a Oct. das Katal. der Scriptor. his. Russ. Signed 25 August 1807.
  • Reinegys beschreibung der Caucasus. 2 Theil in 1 Band: N 206 Oct der Script. Exot. Signed 23 August 1807.
  • Atlas of the Russian Empire by the latest division into Provinces and oblasts. Compiled at the Main School of Inscriptions (?) 1807. No. 13 of Russian History Catalog. Signed 7 December 1809.
  • Translation verified by: Sergei Uvarov

Attachment B

List of Chinese and other compositions, of which it appears that M. Klaproth withdrew them from the Library of the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences, but which are no longer to be found there, despite the fact that they are erased in the signed receipts of M. Klaproth, or were represented in his note of 23 December 1810 as having been returned.

  • No. 184 of the Old Chin. Catalog: Hai-phian. Chinese dictionary 1 vol.
  • No. 190 of the old, 187 of the new Chinese Catalog: Tchouan-tseu-uei. Ancient Chinese dictionary in 12 notebooks; notebooks 3 and 4
  • No. 199 of the Old Catalog: Ou fang guan yen. Chinese pronunciation dictionary.
  • These three items are erased on the register of 8 May 1805.
  • No. 109 of the Old Chin. Catalog: Manchu translation of the novel King-ping-mei, 4 vols. Signed 8 June 1809, shown as received in note of 23 December 1810.
  • No. 120 of the Old Chin. Catalog: Li-dai-gu-vin-dsian. 8 vols. Signed 5 April 1807, shown as received in note of 23 December 1810.
  • No. 121 of the Old Chin. Catalog: Li-schi-gan-dsian 4 vols. Signed 10 August 1810, shown as received in note of 23 December 1810.
  • Shah-nateh Firdusii [sic]. Persian manuscript. No. 1 of Brief catalog of Persian manuscripts. Signed 2 March 1810 as Persian Manuscript No. 1 with No. 2 and No. 3 4 vols. Total. Note of 23 December 1810 shows three Persian books returned as No. 1, 2, and 3.
  • No. 58 of the Old Manuscript Catalog: Abul-gazi-bagadur-khan, Mongol-Tatar-Turkish Genealogy, translated from original in 1736 (incomplete). Crossed out on signature from 16 November 1809 as well as 7 January 1807.
  • Translation verified by: Sergei Uvarov


The legacy of Klaproth’s theft points to one way in which the book collecting practices of the eighteenth century were not rendered obsolete by the vastly increased volume of acquisitions in the ensuing years. Their accumulation in Russia helped seed one of the most prolific Manjuristic establishments of the period, and by making possible the careers of Klaproth and other scholars, these books provided a powerful impetus for the emergence of the field in Western Europe. Neither Rossokhin nor the academic paymasters who funded him could have contemplated these effects—considering how meager the results of their work were in their own era—but they facilitated them nonetheless. This remarkably ad-hoc effort survived considerably longer than might have been imagined, given how quickly Rossokhin’s initial contribution was destroyed by fire. Largely undispersed even to this day, the Manchu collections of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts still contain books that almost certainly date back to those original purchases. Now we can follow them through time.


    1. I am grateful to Mårten Söderblom Saarela, Devin Fitzgerald, Matthew Mosca, and Saksaha’s anonymous reviewer for feedback on previous versions of this material.return to text

    2. See, e.g., Karl Friedrich Neumann, who in the early nineteenth century collected six thousand volumes of Chinese books—an order of magnitude greater than the eighteenth-century Russian or French libraries—despite being a scholarly dilettante. Suzanne L. Marchand, German Orientalism in the Age of Empire: Religion, Race, and Scholarship (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 371.return to text

    3. [Etienne Fourmont], Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae regiae (Paris: E Typographia regia, 1739), vol. 1.return to text

    4. Julius von Klaproth, Katalog der chinesischen und mandjurischen Bücher der Bibliothek der Akademie der Wissenschaften in St. Petersburg, ed. Hartmut Walravens (Berlin: C. Bell, 1988); Hartmut Walravens, “Chinesische und Mandjurische Bücher in St. Petersburg im 18. Jahrhundert,” Monumenta Serica 46 (1998): 397–418.return to text

    5. See also the introduction to Tatiana A. Pang, Descriptive Catalogue of Manchu Manuscripts and Blockprints in the St. Petersburg Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2001). Events in the library more generally are cataloged in V. P. Leonov and N. V. Kolpakova, Letopis’ Biblioteki Rossiiskoi akademii nauk (Sankt-Peterburg: BAN, 2004).return to text

    6. See, e.g., Noël Golvers, Libraries of Western Learning for China: Circulation of Western Books between Europe and China in the Jesuit Mission (ca. 1650-ca. 1750), vol. 1, Logistics of Book Acquisition and Circulation (Leuven: Ferdinand Verbiest Institute, 2012).return to text

    7. On Rossokhin, see V. P. Taranovich, “Ilarion Rossokhin i ego trudy po kitaevedeniiu,” Sovetskoe vostokovedenie 3 (1945): 225–41; P. E. Skachkov, “Znachenie rukopisnogo naslediia russkikh kitaevedov,” Voprosy istorii 1 (1960): 117–23; M. I. Radovskii, “Russkii kitaeved I. K. Rossokhin,” in Iz istorii nauki i tekhniki v stranakh Vostoka (Moskva: Izd-vo vostochnoĭ lit-ry, 1960), 88–99.return to text

    8. Hartmut Walravens, “Fünfzehn Kamelladungen Gelehrsamkeit Russische Bücherkäufe in Peking im Jahre 1821,” in Florilegia Altaistica: Studies in Honour of Denis Sinor on the Occasion of his 90th Birthday, ed. E. V. Boikova and Giovanni Stary (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006), 227–51.return to text

    9. SPF ARAN, f. 3, op. 1, d. 59, l. 203-208. Words in square brackets are added by the author. Words and characters in angle brackets are marginal or other annotations on the documents. A new page or side is marked with //. In this and subsequent tables, punctuation and abbreviations match those of the original Russian texts.return to text

    10. The initial “gu” in the transcription of some of these titles is not reflected in the associated Chinese characters. The suggestion has been made that this is 故, “of the late [emperor],” which seems plausible as the character would not have appeared on the title page.return to textreturn to textreturn to text

    11. In the catalog, this character is written with an incorrect middle portion.return to text

    12. RGADA, f. 181, n. 421.return to text

    13. SPF ARAN, f. 3, op. 1, d. 114, l. 50-52return to text

    14. Brief description of contents.return to text

    15. Price as assigned by Rossokhin.return to text

    16. Title as rendered in Manchu script.return to text

    17. Russian transcription and translation of title.return to text

    18. SPF ARAN, f. 3, op. 1, d. 808a, l. 11ff.return to text

    19. Mark C. Elliott, “The ‘Eating Crabs’ Youth Book,” in Under Confucian Eyes: Writings on Gender in Chinese History, ed. Susan Mann and Yu-Yin Cheng (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 263–81.return to text

    20. SPF-ARAN, f. 3, op. 1, d. 267.return to text

    21. AV IVR, f. 152, op. 2, d. 9. On Leont’ev, see Hartmut Walravens, “Alexej Leont’ev und sein Werk,” Aetas Manjurica 3 (1992): 404–31.return to text

    22. Walravens, “Chinesische und Mandjurische Bücher in St. Petersburg im 18. Jahrhundert.”return to text

    23. f. 3, op. 1, d. 2263return to text

    24. This section begins from l. 7ff.return to text

    25. Unclear if this column denotes the number of volumes held or lists the volume(s) held!return to text

    26. I.e., Manchu and Chinesereturn to text

    27. Hartmut Walravens, Julius Klaproth (1783-1835): Leben und Werk (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999), 229. I am grateful to Sarah Primmer for pointing me in this direction.return to text

    28. RGIA, f. 733, op. 12, d. 18, l. 110ff.return to text