1781 Japanese Temmei 1 Manuscript Map of Taiwan and the Ryukyu Dominion
Description: This extraordinary discovery is a previously unknown 1781 (Temmei 1 ) manuscript map of Taiwan and the Satsuma Daimyo. This rare map covers from the southern shores of Kyushu south along the Ryukyu Islands (including Okinawa) to Taiwan and the coastline of mainland China. The powerful Satsuma Daimyo, which flourished and enjoyed special privileges under the Tokugawa Shoguns, controlled much of the territory shown here. What is most remarkable about this piece is that knowledge of this region would have been very rare and restricted information during under the Tokugawa era Kaikin system of national isolation. Despite the isolationist policy, limited trade and information exchange did exist. One of the unique privileges associated with Satsuma control of the Ryukyu Islands was greater independence and freedom of foreign trade than most of Edo period daimyo were permitted. Consequently Satsuma trading vessels regularly traveled to Taiwan and mainland China thus acting as one of isolationist Japan’s few links to the outside world. This chart can be best understood in this context – as a rare glimpse of Satsuma's nautical trade routes between Kyushu, Taiwan, and mainland China. Later in the Meiji period, the wealth, power, and international sophistication of the Satsuma Daimyo would have a significant influence on the Meiji Ishin or Meiji Restoration. A once in a lifetime find.
Date: 1781 (dated)
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. Even so, Japan's isolationist policy kept most western maps from reaching Japan so even 19th century maps appear extremely out of date. The early Japanese maps copy the great 1602 Chinese world map of the friar Matto Ricci. After Shiba Kokan's 1792 map, most Japanese cartographers used Covens and Mortier's 1730 copy of Jaillot's 1689 double hemisphere work as their base world-view. In 1862 Seiyo Sato based a new world map on Dutch sources dating to 1857, thus introducing the Mercator projection to Japan. By the late Meiji Era, western maps became far more common in Asia and Japanese maps began to follow modern conventions.Click here for a list of Japanese maps.
Size: Printed area measures 30 in height x 18.5 inches in width (76.2 x 46.99 centimeters)
Condition: Very good. Original folds. Extremely minor wormholing.
Code: TaiwanRyukyu-unknown-1781 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)
© Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Kevin Brown, 7/5/2015