A String of Chinese Peach-Stones - W. Arthur Cornaby 1895 - Charles H. Kelly, London - First Edition, First Issue A near fine first edition of Cornaby's work, in original gilt pictorial cloth binding, which ‘represents an important attempt to expand Western knowledge of central China in the late nineteenth century. Touching on folklore, topography, daily rituals and social norms as well as the devastating effects of the Taiping Rebellion, the Methodist missionary carefully documents Chinese society, focusing especially on a farming village’ [CUP].

Scarce with the wonderful original decorative gilt covers in such nice condition. With two full page colour lithographic plates, and the text profusely illustrated throughout from woodblock prints, sketches, seals, paintings and photographs.

As the author describes in his introduction, ‘
The title? It may be taken to indicate that you are in possession of a collection of desiccated tales, legends, and the like, picked up here and there along the highways and byways of China. Or if you should be charitable enough to regard the body of the book as a story in itself, the title wil still apply; for a string of peach-stones, literal enough to hang upon a study wall, does certainly figure in these pages’.
  William Arthur Cornaby (1860–1921) was born in London and educated at the School of Mines before training as a Methodist minister. In 1885 Cornaby was sent as a missionary to Wuhan, central China, and A String of Chinese Peach-Stones (1895) was inspired by his experiences. Cornaby explains that his title suggests that the reader possesses 'a collection of desiccated tales, legends, and the like, picked up here and there along the highways and byways of China'. Cornaby's work covers the period 1849–1867, and discusses the major episodes of the Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864) as well as providing a detailed account of village life in central China, with its farm work, foods, festivals, customs and rituals that remains of interest to anthropologists and historians today. Cornaby's aim was to educate his English readers and to interest them in the culture that so dominated his own life and work. Cornaby spent over thirty years in China, where he edited The Chinese Christian Review, and, from 1905, the Ta Tung Pao, a weekly magazine targeted at Chinese officials and scholars. - Cambridge University Press.

Large octavo (book size 22.2x16.7cm), pp. xv [1] 479 [1]. In publisher’s black cloth, spine with lettering and Chinese stamp in gilt, uper boards intricately illustrated in gilt with a Chinese scenery and lettering, yap edges, green and white decorated endpapers, top edge gilt others trimmed.
  Condition: Fine in near fine cloth, light rubbing to corners, small splits in the cloth, rubbing to spine ends with slight loss to tail.   Ref: 111317   Price: HK$ 4,000