Vladivostok: Typ. of Sushchinsky & Co., 1902. Item #1193
, 46 pp. Octavo. With a folding lithographed plate and a folding lithographed map at rear. Original publisher’s gray printed wrappers. Wrappers with very minor chipping on extremities, otherwise a very good copy.
First and only edition. Very Rare Russian Vladivostok imprint with only two paper copies found in Worldcat. The author was Andrey Tsererin, a student of a recently founded Vladivostok Eastern Institute (est. 1899, modern name is the Far-Eastern Federal University). Tsererin was sent by the University to the Heilongjiang province or Chinese Manchuria “for practical studies of Chinese language and a better acquaintance with the manners and customs of Chinese people” (p. 1). Tsererin spent several weeks in the summer of 1901 in China, which was during the active phase of the Boxer Rebellion (Nov. 1899 – Sep. 1901). The Heilongjiang province at the time was almost completely occupied by the Russian troops, which continued to fight guerilla groups of Boxers and “Hunkhuzy” (Honghuzi bandits). Tsererin mostly stayed in Bayan Town and travelled around under the protection of Russian cossacks or army detachments. He spent several days in the nearby Catholic mission run by “père Monnier,” and visited the cities of “Bei-tu-an-lin-tsi” (likely, Suihua) and Heilongjiang (Harbin).
The brochure is based on Tsererin’s impressions, intelligence from “père Monnier” and several Chinese manuscripts which he bought in Harbin. The author describes the history, geography and modern state of the province (with a special chapter on the Boxer rebellion and the Honghuzi bandits), population, Russian settlers, the spread of Christianity, agriculture, opium production and consumption; there is a detailed description of making hanshin or baijiu (traditional Chinese strong alcoholic beverage). The account was published as an offprint from the “Izvestiya Vostochnogo Instituta” (vol. 3, part III, Vladivostok, 1902). The lithographed map marks the main towns, rivers, roads and mountains of the northern Heilongjiang province between Songhua and Hulan Rivers. The lithographed plate shows a draught of the apparatus used for making the baijiu alcoholic beverage. Overall an interesting rare brochure about Chinese Manchuria under the Russian occupation during the Boxer Rebellion.
Andrey Tsererin graduated from the Penza seminary and was a student of the Vladivostok Eastern University in 1900-1905 (Izvestiya Vostochnogo Instituta, Vol. 2, part I, 1900, p. 51; “Izvestiya Vostochnogo Instituta” (Nachalo XX veka): Iz Fondov Bibliotek Vladivostoka: Bibliograficheskiy Ukazatel. Vladivostok, 2014, p. 159).