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1792 Wilkinson Map of China, Korea (Corea) and Formosa (Taiwan)


China, Drawn from the Latest and Best Authorities.
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Title:    China, Drawn from the Latest and Best Authorities.

Description:    This is a lovely 1792 map of China and Korea by Robert Wilkinson. Wilkinson's map covers China in full as well as Korea, Formosa (Taiwan), and parts of adjacent Japan, Tibet, Vietnam (Tonkin), and Tartary (Mongolia). Color coding divides China into its traditional provinces. The Great Wall of China is also identified.

The sea between Japan and Korea, whose name, the 'Sea of Korea', 'East Sea', or the 'Sea of Japan,' is here identified in favor of Korea (Sea of Corea). Historically, Korea has used the term 'East Sea' since 59 B.C., and many books published before the Japanese annexed Korea make references to the 'East Sea' or 'Sea of Korea'. Over time, neighboring and western countries have identified Korea's East Sea using various different terms. The St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences referred to the East Sea as 'Koreiskoe Mope' or 'Sea of Korea' in their 1745 map of Asia. Other 17th and 18th century Russian maps alternate between 'Sea of Korea' and 'Eastern Ocean'. The 18th century Russian and French explorers Adam Johan von Krusenstern and La Perouse called it the 'Sea of Japan', a term that became popular worldwide. Nonetheless, the last official map published by the Russians name the East Sea the 'Sea of Korea'. The name is currently still a matter of historical and political dispute between the countries.

Between Formosa and Japan a large island identifies as Liqueo Island is rendered. This is most probably a mismapping of the Okinawa in the Ryukyu Archipelago (of which Liqueo is a failed transliteration).

This map was engraved by Thomas Conder and issued as plate no. 39 in the 1792 edition of Robert Wilkinson's General Atlas.


Date:    1792 (dated)

Source:    Wilkinson, R., A General Atlas being A Collection of Maps of the World and Quarters the Principal Empires, Kingdoms, etc. with their several Provinces, and other Subdivisions, Correctly Delineated, (London) 1792.    

Cartographer:    Robert Wilkinson (fl. c. 1768 - 1825) was a London based map and atlas publisher active in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Most of Wilkinson's maps were derived from the earlier work of John Bowles, one of the preeminent English map publishers of the 18th century. Wilkinson's acquired the Bowles map plate library following the cartographer's death in 1779. Wilkinson updated and tooled the Bowles plates over several years until, in 1794, he issued his fully original atlas, The General Atlas of the World. This popular atlas was profitably reissued in numerous editions until about 1825 when Wilkinson died. In the course of his nearly 45 years in the map trade, Wilkinson issued also published numerous independently issued large format wall, case, and folding maps. Wilkinson's core cartographic corpus includes Bowen and Kitchin's Large English Atlas (1785), Speer's West Indies (1796), Atlas Classica (1797), and the General Atlas of the World (1794, 1802, and 1809), as well as independent issue maps of New Holland (1820), and North America ( 1823). Wilkinson's offices were based at no. 58 Cornhill, London form 1792 to 1816, following which he relocated to 125 Frenchurch Street, also in London, where he remained until 1823. Following his 1825 death, Wilkinson's business and map plates were acquired by William Darton, an innovative map publisher who reissued the General Atlas with his own imprint well into the 19th century. Click here for a list of rare maps by Robert Wilkinson.

Cartographer:    Thomas Conder (1747 - June 1831) was an English map engraver and bookseller active in London during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. From his shop at 30 Bucklersbury, London, Conder produced a large corpus of maps and charts, usually in conjunction with other publishers of his day, including Wilkinson, Moore, Kitchin, and Walpole. Unfortunately few biographical facts regarding Conder's life have survived. Thomas Conder was succeeded by his son Josiah Conder who, despite being severely blinded by smallpox, followed in his father's footsteps as a bookseller and author of some renown. Click here for a list of rare maps by Thomas Conder.

Size:   Printed area measures 11.5 x 9 inches (29.21 x 22.86 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 16000000

Condition:    Very good. Original platemark visible. Blank on verso.

Code:   China-wilkinson-1792 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)

Tags:    Wilkinson , Sea of Korea

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