The Info List - Emil Bretschneider

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Emil Bretschneider
Emil Bretschneider
(4 July [O.S. 22 June] 1833 in Bankaushof (now Benkavas muiža, Saldus novads, Latvia[1]) – 12 May [O.S. 29 April] 1901 in Saint Petersburg) was a sinologist of Baltic German ethnicity and a correspondent member of the Académie française. He operated in the Russian Empire. He graduated from the medical school of University of Dorpat
University of Dorpat
in Dorpat
Estonia, and was first posted as a physician by the Russian legation to Tehran (1862–65).[2] From 1866 to 1883 he was posted as physician by the Russian legation to Pekin.


1 Overview 2 Work in botany 3 Works 4 See also 5 References

Overview[edit] In 1866 the publication of book titled Cathay and the Way Thither by orientalist Henry Yule
Henry Yule
stirred up Bretschneider's interest in sinology. However, he felt that the extensive material contained in Chinese books was under-utilized by western sinologists because many of them did not read Chinese, and when they quoted Chinese material, they relied on secondhand sources. Emil Bretschneider
Emil Bretschneider
while in Pekin befriended the Archimandrite Palladius Kafarov
Palladius Kafarov
of the Russian Orthodox Church Mission to Pekin, a famous sinologist in his own right; Bretschneider also took advantage of the excellent library of the Russian Orthodox mission with an extensive collection of Chinese books on history, geography and botany, he began his own first hand research into ancient Chinese literature, particularly in botany and geography. In 1870 he published his first article in sinology: "Fu Sang-- Who discovered America ?", followed by the publication in London of "On the Knowledge Possessed by the Chinese of the Arabs and Arabian Colonies Mentioned in Chinese Books".[3] In 1875, he published the article "Notes on Chinese medieval travellers to the West" in Shanghai.[4] In 1881 he published "Early European researches into the flora of China (American Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai), a topic often ignored by contemporary sinologists due to their lack of training in botany. In this field Bretschneider was a pioneer. In 1888 he published Mediaeval Researches from Eastern Asiatic Sources, Trübner Oriental Series, London: Trübner & Co.; this book included his English translation of three important Chinese works about the history and geography of central Asia, namely Travel to the West by Yelü Chucai, Genghis Khan's chief adviser; Travels to the West by the Taoist monk Kiu Chang Chun and The Peregrinations of Ye-Lu Hi-Liang (the grandson of Yelu Chucai), translated from the Annals of the Yuan dynasty. He was a correspondent member of the Académie française.[citation needed] Work in botany[edit] Bretschneider was less known as a botanist, having his own herbarium in the mountains close to Pekin. Starting in 1880, Bretschneider sent dried plant specimens to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.[2] Among the books he published in the field of botany are: "On the Study and Value of Chinese Botanical Works" (1870); "Early European Researches into the Flora of China" (1881); "Botanicum Sinicum" (1882); and his vast "History of European Botanical Studies in China" (1898).[2] The plant species Bretschneidera sinensis
Bretschneidera sinensis
was named in Bretschneider's honor.[2] Works[edit]

Notes on Chinese Mediaeval Travellers to the West

See also[edit]

List of Baltic German
Baltic German

The standard author abbreviation Bretschn. is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.[5] References[edit]

^ Baltisches Biographisches Lexikon digital, Brettschneider, Alexander Hermann Emil ^ a b c d Various (1901). "[In Memoriam for] Dr. Emil Bretschneider". Bulletin of miscellaneous information / Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. London: Darling & Son, Ltd., for His Majesty's Stationery Office: 201–2. Retrieved 18 June 2013.  ^ E. Bretschneider, M.D. On Knowledge Possessed by the Ancient Chinese of the Arabs and Arabian Colonies and Other Western Countries Mentioned in Chinese Books, p. 17, London: Trübner & Co., 1871 ^ E. Bretschneider, M.D: Notes on Chinese medieval travellers to the West (Shanghai: 1875) ^ IPNI.  Bretschn. 

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 49350430 LCCN: n84101522 ISNI: 0000 0001 1026 4673 GND: 118666002 SUDOC: 07610687X BNF: cb12763637m (data) NLA: 35775399 NDL: 00910459 Botanist: Bretsc