VEIGA, Manoel de [& Antonio d’Andrade]. Relacam geral do es’tado da Christandade de Ethiopia; Reducam dos Scismaticos; Entrada, & Recebiméto do Patriacha Dom Affonso Mendes; Obediencia dada polo Emperador Seltá Segued com toda sua Corte à Igreja Romana; & do que de novo socedeo no descobriméto do Thybet, a que chamam, gram Catayo. Composta, e copiada das cartas que os Padres da Companhia de Iesu, escrevéram da India Oriental dos annos de 624. 625. & 626. Pelo padre Manoel da Veiga, da mesma Companhia, natural de Villauiçosa. Lisbon: Por Mattheus Pinheiro, Anno de 1628 Contemporary sheep, small 4to. (19 x 13 cm.) 2,124 leaves. Includes one of the earliest descriptions of Tibet.
Da Veiga (1566-1647) was a Jesuit missionary in Ethiopia, and the first sections of the work discuss the activities of the Jesuits in that country. In 1624 he accompanied Antonio de Andrade’s pioneering mission into Tibet. Da Veiga’s account (folios 103-124) gives much reliable information about the expedition, their work at Tsaparang, negotiations with local lamas and the Tibetan religion. Owing to its geographical inaccessibility, Tibet was long a terra incognita to European exploration, and in the absence of eyewitness accounts gave rise to the most extravagant myths. Andrade’s description was to provide Europeans with the first reliable information about the country.
The work is an important historical document, since in providing an account of the Jesuits’ disputations with the lamas, it reported some of the first ethnographic data on the native Tibetan religion and related customs to a European audience. Although separate cartas had been printed in Lisbon and elsewhere of the 1624 and 1626 journeys by the Jesuits to Tibet, this is the first collected account of Westerners visiting Tibet. From the library of Dr. Juel-Jensen with his Amharic bookplate, lacking front free endpaper, on folio 107v, a small cancel slip is pasted on and a paper fault has resulted in two small holes to the base of that leaf, spine worn away at part of first compartment, a very nice copy in a contemporary sheep with gilt spine and a red leather label. [Cordier Sinica: 2901; Silva VI, page 121; DBS VIII, 530 no.2; Fumagalli: 1628. COPAC records the Oxford and BL copies.]