This is a manuscript on Chinese botany entitled "Synonymie d'histoire naturelle Chinoise", produced by Joseph-Marie Callery in the 1840s and never published. In this manuscript Callery discusses numerous genera, species and varieties of native plants found in Macau and Canton, many of which were unknown in Europe at the time. After giving their Latin and Chinese names, he describes their physical characteristics, habitat, their industrial, medicinal and culinary uses, details his own experimtents, and considers the possibility of cultivating them in France.
The plants covered are as follows: Aleurites triloba; Trapa bicomis; Azaleas (both garden and wild varieties); Lonicera japonica; Illicium anisatum (referring to the export of aniseed and essence de Badiane to France); Hedysarum; Globularia; Euphoria litchi (i.e. lychee); Alpinia montana; Adiantum; Aerides odorata; Coconut; Musa paradisiaca (i.e. bananas; he refers to varieties found in the Malay Peninsula, the Philippines and North Africa); Nepeta; Chloranthus inconspicuus; Amaranthus polygamus; Aglaia odoratissima; and Eryobotria japonica.
Callery clearly intended to publish this manuscript: a pencil note to the upper cover directs it to the attention of M. Didot (of the famous publishing family, which published several of Callery's works), continuing "mon intention serait d'entrer, s'il était possible, en arrangement pour la publication de cet ouvrage" ("my intention would be to start, if possible, an arrangement for the publication of this work").
Language of Materials
Manuscript on light blue paper, in French with some Chinese characters, folio (31.5 x 20 cm), pp. 32, neatly written in brown ink, with a very few corrections, up to 28 lines per page; light crease where formerly folded; very well preserved in original paper wrapper (slightly worn and stained), the two quires held together with light blue silk; faint pencil note and ink signature 'J.M. Callery' to upper cover.
Conditions Governing Access
Open. Please contact the repository in advance.
Biographical / Historical
Joseph-Marie Callery was born on 25 June 1810 in Turin, to Gaetano Calleri, a silk manufacturer and Anna-Maria-Antonia, a tailor. In September 1833 he entered the seminary of the Missions étrangères de Paris, and was ordained as a priest in December 1834. He was sent to Korea but was not able to get into the country; therefore he stayed in Macau from 1836 to 1842 when he was expelled from the Société des Missions étrangères. During his time in Macau and Canton he studied the Chinese and Korean languages, and explored the local botany and geology in his spare time.
In 1844 he acted as Chinese interpreter to French diplomat Théodore de Lagrené during his embassy in China, taking the opportunity to visit Chusan, Shanghai, Ningbo and Xiamen. Callery had a role in the success of the Treaty of Whampoa, a commercial treaty between the Qing dynasty and the Kingdom of France. He came back to France in 1846.
Callery brought back a great deal of plant specimens from his travels in Asia (in Java, Philippines, and China), many of which were unknown in Europe at the time. The Pyrus calleryana pear tree, which he introduced to Europe from China, was named in his honor by Joseph Decaisne in 1876.
Joseph-Marie Callery married Henriette-Louise-Clémentine Quelquejeu on 10 July 1861 in Lisses, France. They had six children, including historian Alphonse Callery (1847-1909). Joseph-Marie died on 8 June 1862 aged 51, and is buried in Montmartre Cemetery.