Travelogues and Sketchbooks
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With increased trade among European nations, more frequent and safer sea travel, and expanding European settlements, greater numbers of travelers journeyed east. While some were intrigued by the sheer strangeness of things, others had a more intellectual and scientific curiosity about flora, fauna, and folklore. And some were simply lured by wanderlust to the remote unknown. Numerous journals and sketchbooks—belonging to adventurers in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries—record what they saw and experienced. These first-hand accounts give us a glimpse of how the world viewed the peoples and places of Asia.

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[
top] Giovanni Pietro Maffei. Historiarum Indicarum libri XVI. Antverpiae: Ex officina Martini Nutij, 1605. Gift of Andrew Dickson White. [middle] João Ribeiro. Histoire de l'isle de Ceylan, presentée au roy de Portugal en 1685, tr. du portugais en françois. Trevoux: E. Ganeau, 1701. [bottom] Freiherr Eugen Ransonnet-Villez. Sketches of the inhabitants, animal life and vegetation in the lowlands and high mountains of Ceylon. Vienna: The author, 1867.
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