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1748 Bellin Map of Korea (naming Sea of Korea)


Carte de la Province de Quan-tong ou Lyau-tong et du Royaume de Kau-Li ou Coree.
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Title:    Carte de la Province de Quan-tong ou Lyau-tong et du Royaume de Kau-Li ou Coree.

Description:    An uncommon c. 1748 map of Korea by Jacques Nicholas Bellin. Centered on the west coast of Korea (Corea), this map covers all of peninsular Korea as well as adjacent parts of Manchuria and China. Korea, as presented here takes on a trapezoidal form with a wide flat base. The map names numerous cities and provinces through Korea as well as noting coastal island and ports. Cartographically Bellin derived this map from an earlier though less specific 1735 map by J. B. B. D'Anville. The detail presented through the the interior makes it clear that D'Anville drew his map based upon Korean sources - a first for a European cartographer. The map changed little under Bellin.

The sea between Japan and Korea, whose name, either the 'Sea of Korea', 'East Sea', or the 'Sea of Japan,' is here identified in favor of Korea (Mer de Coree). 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 seventeenth 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.

This is actually one of three maps that Bellin drew of Korea - the other two of which cover a much larger area. Bellin prepared this map for Antoine-Francois Prevost's Historie General des voyages


Date:    1748 (undated)

Source:    Provost, A., L'Histoire Generale des Voyages, (Paris) 1748.    

References:    University of Bern, Central Library, Ryhiner Collection, ZB Ryh 8401 : 9 B DSV0705415.

Cartographer:    Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - 1772) was one of the most important cartographers of the 18th century. With a career spanning some 50 years, Bellin is best understood as geographe de cabinet and transitional mapmaker spanning the gap between 18th and early 19th century cartographic styles. His long career as Hydrographer and Ingénieur Hydrographe at the French Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine resulted in hundreds of high quality nautical charts of practically everywhere in the world. A true child of the Enlightenment Era, Bellin's work focuses on function and accuracy tending in the process to be less decorative than the earlier 17th and 18th century cartographic work. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bellin was always careful to cite his references and his scholarly corpus consists of over 1400 articles on geography prepared for Diderot's Encyclopedie. Bellin, despite his extraordinary success, may not have enjoyed his work, which is described as "long, unpleasant, and hard." In addition to numerous maps and charts published during his lifetime, many of Bellin's maps were updated (or not) and published posthumously. He was succeeded as Ingénieur Hydrographe by his student, also a prolific and influential cartographer, Rigobert Bonne. Click here for a list of rare maps by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin.

Size:   Printed area measures 9 x 11 inches (22.86 x 27.94 centimeters)

Scale:    1 : 5100000

Condition:    Very good. Original platemark visible. Minor wear along original fold lines. Blank on verso.

Code:   Korea-bellin-1748 (to order by phone call: 646-483-0487)

Tags:    Bellin , Korea , Sea of Korea

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