1840 Ryukei Tajima Japanese Map of the World
Description: An extraordinary Japanese woodblock map of the world dating to 1840 by Ryukei Tajima. A brief overview of this remarkable map reveals just how isolated Japan really was prior to the arrival of Commodore Perry in 1850. Though printed in 1840, the cartography exhibited suggests an early 17th century European perspective of the world. California is represented as an island, the mythical Terre Australis stretches across the southern latitudes, Australia is connected to both New Guinea and Terre Australis, and mysterious suggestive landmasses fill the Pacific. The text surrounding the map itself, as well as several smaller diagrams, describe a heliocentric theory of climate and show eclipses of the Sun and Moon from this perspective. Visually the whole is beautifully if vaguely drafted using a combination of European and Edo period Japanese mapping techniques. The map is presented in a European style double hemisphere projection and the cartography is wholly European in conception. However, the detail work and the style of the engraving itself is entirely that of Edo Japan. This is a traditional Japanese woodblock map engraving on rice paper with mountains are shown in low profile, rivers are represented as open waterways, and regions identified by title cartouches. A important acquisition for any serious collection of Japanese cartography.
Date: 1840 (dated)
References: University of California, Berkley, East Asian Library, Japanese Historical Maps, A5.
Size: Printed area measures 17 in height x 27 inches in width (43.18 x 68.58 centimeters)
Condition: Very good. Minor repaired worm-holing. Original fold lines.
Code: World-TajimaRyukei-1840 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)
© Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, Kevin Brown, 8/3/2014