8vo, pp. 222; profusely illustrated with photographic reproductions; a very good copy bound in full dark purple roan, lettered gilt on front board, slightly worn at edges; presentation binding from Mons. Gian Pellegrino Mondaini, vicar apostolic of Hunan, to Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy; shelfmark label of the royal library to spine.
US $588 €505
First and only edition of this history of the Franciscan Mission in South Hunan from its establishment to 1924, with particular attention to the persecution of the Christians during the Boxer Rebellion and the following years of restoration and progress of the mission. The appendix comprises letters, documents and statistics on the state of the mission and the spread of Christianity in the region, as well as curious anecdotes such as the mysterious ‘green fire’ that the missionaries were accused of using against young children and pregnant women, and the clashes with the American Adventists.
Some of the photographs, likely to have been taken by the missionaries themselves, show churches and religious buildings before and after the uprising.
In 1927, only two years after the publication of this book, the Hunan province was the centre of the Autumn Harvest Uprising, an insurrection led by Mao Zedong (himself a Hunanese native), that resulted in a short-lived Hunan Soviet.
No copies recorded in the UK; only 5 copies in the US.
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