Octavo (ca. 24x16 cm). [2 – t.p.], [2 – table of contents], 254 pp. With two folding lithographed maps at the rear (by St. Petersburg lithography of Nikolay Breze). Period brown quarter sheep with marbled papered boards; spine with gilt-lettered title and owner’s initials “I.T.” Binding very mildly rubbed on extremities, several leaves very mildly age-toned, but overall a very good original copy.
Very rare Russian imprint with only five paper copies found in Worldcat (University of Chicago, British Library, State Library of Berlin, University of Darmstadt, Thuringian University). This is the first special work on the physical geography on the Sea of Japan, written by a noted Russian zoologist, geologist and ethnologist of Baltic German origin, Leopold von Schrenck. Having graduated from the natural science department of Dorpat University, Schrenck additionally studied in Berlin and Koenigsberg, and in 1853-57, went to the Amur River region and Sakhalin on the assignment of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. Schrenck surveyed the western shore of Sakhalin and the valley of the Tym River, the Amur River valley up to the confluence with the Ussuri River, the coast between Nikolayevsk-on-Amur and Nevelskoy Strait, &c. The result of his voyage was a fundamental multi-volume “Reisen und Forschungen im Amur-Lande 1854-1856” (St. Petersburg, 1858-1895, 3 vols. in 6 parts), the current work (1869) and its continuation focusing on currents in the Seas of Okhotsk and Japan (“O techeniyakh Okhotskogo, Iaponskogo i smezhnykh s nimi morey,” SPb., 1874), a beautifully illustrated work on the people of the Russian Far East (“Ob Inorodtsakh Amurskogo Kraya,” SPb., 1883-1903, 3 vols.), &c. For the “Ocherk Fizisheskoi Geografii Severo-Iaponskogo Moria” (1869), Schrenck received the highest award of the Russian Geographical Society – its gold Constantine medal – in 1870.
The main purpose of this work was to describe the northern Sea of Japan as the habitat of abundant mollusks and other sea fauna – the focus of Schrenck’s zoological studies. Since no such work had been written before, Schrenck used his observations, made during the 1853-57 travel, all available printed sources (starting with the accounts of Adam von Krusenstern, Jean-Francois de Laperouse and William Robert Broughton, and finishing with Russian and English sea pilots, articles in the “Morskoy Sbornik,” latest French, German and English works, &c.), as well as “unpublished materials, <..> i.e. meteorological journals, kept during voyages on the [Sea of Japan] and at several points on its shore” (Preface, pp. 3-4).
The book consists of seven chapters: I. Geographical position and outlines; II. The shores, depths, bottom relief and soil composition; III. Currents; IV. Tides; V. Salinity; VI. Water temperature; VII. Climate (air temperature, winds, the height of the barometer, precipitation). The chapters include numerous tables recording tide heights, salinity and specific weight of water, temperature of air and water, winds, and atmospheric pressure. The Supplement contains “Conclusions of zoogeographical studies” with an overview of the fauna of the northern Sea of Japan.
The book is illustrated with: 1) Map of the Seas of Japan and Okhotsk with the indication of currents. 1869. Arrows show the directions of currents; 2) Map of the Amur Liman [Estuary] and the Strait of Mamiya Rinzo [Strait of Tartary], with the indication of depths and currents. The arrows show the the directions of currents, numbers – depths in sazhens; the shallows and banks are outlined by hatches.
Overall, an attractive copy of this rare early original Russian study of the Sea of Japan.