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- Published: Amsterdam
- Published date: 1665
- Type: Print
- Issue date: 1665
- Technique: Engraving, uncolored.
- Category: Suchu
- Size: 18,5 x 29.4 cm (7,25 x 11.5 inches).
- Stock number: 33393
- Condition: In excellent condition.
Article descriptionOriginal antique copper engraving, uncolored. This plate shows a panoramic view of the Chinese city of Suchu (modern day named SUZHOU in Jiangsou in Northeast China) with its city walls. In the foreground are many ships and fishermen. Johan Nieuhof was born in Uelsen, a town in the county of Bentheim, Lower Saxony, sitting just across the Dutch-German border. His father (originally from Zwolle) was mayor of the town, and was later succeeded by one of Johan's brothers and brother-in-law. By the grace of Cornelis Jan Witsen, a leading figure within the Dutch West India Company (or "WIC"), Nieuhof left for Dutch Brazil in 1640 as a reserve officer-candidate. From then on, barring two short family visits in 1658 and 1671, he spent all the rest of his life abroad. Nieuhof was employed in Brazil to explore the regions between Maranhão and the São Francisco Rivers, made a particular study of the neighborhood of Pernambuco. He left Brazil in 1649, after the Portuguese victory in the Second Battle of Guararapes. Upon his return, Nieuhof joined the service of the Dutch East India Company (or "VOC"). In service of the VOC he resided several years in Batavia, and then was appointed in 1654 steward of an embassy to the relatively new Qing emperor China under Peter de Goyer and Jacob de Keyser, which aimed to gain trading rights on China's southern coast. He remained in China until 1657. In 1663 he operated as an ambassador in Quilon, after the occupation of the Malabar Coast by Rijckloff van Goens. During this period he visited several chiefs of indigenous tribes in order to secure trade relations with them. Afterwards, he was offered a post on Ceylon where he was stationed between 1663 and 1667. He was imprisoned for seven months because of illegal trade in pearls. Nieuhof was sent to Batavia by Hendrik van Rheede and fired by the Dutch East India Company. On returning to the Indies from a trip home in 1672, he stopped on the isle of Madagascar. On October 8 1672, Nieuhof traveled inland along with the first mate, in search of the local tribes in order to trade with them, as well as secure water for his crew. Upon hearing several gunshots, the captain sent a second ship towards the island in order to await Nieuhof's return. After three days of waiting, the captain presumed Nieuhof and his company to be murdered and sailed onwards towards Mauritius. On order of the governing council in Amsterdam, a ship was sent from the Cape of Good Hope to retrieve Nieuhof and his fellows, but no trace of them could be found. (Wikipedia)
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