A map of considerable importance and rarity, this is a 1900 Chinese issue woodcut map illustrating the yearlong occupation of Beijing (Peking) following the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion / Uprising. The title, roughly translated is, 'Full Map of Various Countries' Temporarily Divided Territory Boundaries within the City of Beijing.' The map uses color coding and textual annotation to identify zones of foreign occupation:
- Blue - French
- Light Green - Japanese - Large occupation in the Northern Part of Beijing.
- Pink - The Italians occupied a parcel in the northwest corner, west of the Forbidden City.
- Red - German - Large occupation in the southwest and east central zones.
- Uncolored - British occupation occurred both in the southeast quadrant and south of the French (SW of Forbidden City)
- United States and Russia - although not officially holding any land, these nations administered parts of the German and British zones (as explained in the annotation.)
Text in the upper left quadrant reads, in translation (our own additions in parenthesis):
The Imperial Palace, Zhanshi House, and Shuntian House are occupied by Japan; the Lì Ministry (the Ministry historically in charge of the appointment, dismissal, and assessment of officials), the Hù Ministry (the Ministry historically in charge of the country's land and finances), and Lǐ Ministry (the Ministry historically in charge of worship, education, and selection of officials), Songren House, Imperial Hospital, and Department of Astronomy are occupied by Russia; the Ministries of War and Industry, Luanjia Storage House (the compound historically used to store the ceremonial and musical instruments used by the Chinese emperor), and Temple of Heaven are occupied by Great Britain; the Jing Mountain is occupied by France; the Temple of Agriculture is occupied by the United States; and the Lifan Institution (historically equivalent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) is the common territory of the various countries.
The Boxer Rebellion or Yihetuan Movement was an anti-foreign anti-imperialist uprising marked by proto-nationalism in northeastern China. The rebellion was largely a response to Christian missionary activity in China and was initially supported by the Qing Empress Dowager Cixi. In June of 1900 the quasi-spiritual Boxers, convinced they were immune to foreign weapons, attacked the Chinese Christians and foreigners living in Beijing's Legation Quarter. Although many killings ensued the legations were able to prepare a tenuous defense and found themselves besieged. Relief came quickly in the form of the Eight-National Alliance, which, with an army of some 20,000, defeated the Boxers and occupied Beijing, as well as a number of other northern Chinese cities. The atrocities and looting that ensued, particularly at the hands of Russian and Japanese forces, are well documented and horrifying.
Flags of the occupying powers decorate the upper part of the map just below the title. These are, from left to right, Japan, Italy, Germany, the United States, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom. Chinese text to the left and right of the title describe terms and extant of the occupation.
In addition to illustrating the political events following the Battle of Beijing, the map is also interesting geographically, naming numerous streets and avenues as well as many Hutong - traditional alleyways associated with siheyuan or traditional courtyard residences. Many of these have vanished today, making this an exceptional record of 'Old Beijing' on the cusp of change. The events of the Boxer Rebellion significantly weakened the already muted Qing leading to their eventual overthrow in 1912 and the subsequent rise of the Republic of China.
This map is extremely rare with only two known examples outside of China, one a 'captured map' held at the Library of Congress, and the present example. There are three known example within China, one at the National Museum of China, and two in private collections. An extraordinary discovery.
Good. Backed on kozo tissue. Minor loss repaired at center.
Library of Congress G7824.B4S5 1900 .J5. http://www.chnmuseum.cn/tabid/212/Default.aspx?AntiqueLanguageID=1281