1847 Japanese Edo Period Woodblock Map of the Izu Islands (Tokyo or Edo)
Description: An extraordinary find, this is a c. 1847 Tokugawa Period Japanese woodblock nautical chart of the Izu Islands (伊豆諸島 Izu-shoto). Oriented to the East, this map covers from Chiba, Kanagawa, and Sagami Bay southwards as far as Miyake and Mikurajima Islands. Traditionally referred to as the "Izu Seven" (伊豆七島 Izu Shichito?), the Izu Islands are officially part of modern day Tokyo. Though many are uninhabited nature preserves, some of the Ize Islands host large town and villages. This map notes the locations of various shrines, towns, rivers, temples, and identifies local production specialties. With minimal inland detail this map can best be interpreted as a traditional Japanese nautical chart. Notes nautical routes and many offshore features including dangerous reefs and shoals. Though undated the latest information on this map dates to 1847 and the whole is stylistically consistent with our advertised date of c. 1847.
Date: c. 1847 (undated)
Cartographer: Japanese cartography appears as early as the 1600s. Japanese maps are known for their exceptional beauty and high quality of workmanship. Early Japanese cartography has its own very distinctive projection and layout system. Japanese maps made prior to the appearance of Commodore Perry and the opening of Japan in the mid to late 1850s often have no firm directional orientation, incorporate views into the map proper, and tend to be hand colored woodblock prints. This era, from the 1600s to the c. 1855, which roughly coincides with the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1603-1886), some consider the Golden Age of Japanese Cartography. Most maps from this period, which followed isolationist ideology, predictably focus on Japan. The greatest cartographer of the period, whose work redefined all subsequent cartography, was Ino Tadataka (1745 -1818). Ino's maps of Japan were so detailed that, when the European cartographers arrived they had no need, even with their far more sophisticated survey equipment, to remap the region. Later Japanese maps, produced in the late Edo and throughout the Meiji period, draw heavily upon western maps as models in both their content and overall cartographic style. While many of these later maps maintain elements of traditional Japanese cartography such as the use of rice paper, woodblock printing, and delicate hand color, they also incorporate western directional orientation, projection systems, and structural norms. Click here for a list of Japanese maps.
Size: Printed area measures 41.5 x 30 inches (105.41 x 76.2 centimeters)
Condition: Very good. Some fold splitting but would repair beautifully - not that repair is really necessary, it is a beautiful chart that would display fine as is. Folds into original paper binder.
Code: IsuIslands-japanese-1730 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)