1696 Genroku 9 (early Edo) Japanese Map of Kyoto, Japan
Description: A rare and extraordinary 1696 Japanese woodblock map of Kyoto, Japan. Made in the early Edo period during the 9th year of the reign of the Emperor Genroku. Covers the city of Kyoto and its immediate vicinity. Like most early Japanese maps, this map does not have a firm directional orientation, rather all text radiates out from the center. Labels streets, waterways, mountains and important buildings. Though this map is dated 1696, we believe, based upon the paper used, that it may be a c. 1860 reissue.
Date: 1696 (dated: Genroku 9, early Edo)
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 60 in height x 45 inches in width (152.4 x 114.3 centimeters)
Condition: Very good condition. Original folds.
Code: Kyoto-genroku9-1696 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)
© Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Kevin Brown, 7/3/2014