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1800 Chinese Manuscript Map of China


1800 Chinese Manuscript Map of China


Enigmatic early map of China from the late 18th or early 19th centuries.



  1800 (date uncertain)    50 x 36 in (127 x 91.44 cm)     1: 140950000


A very unusual an enigmatic early Chinese language grand format manuscript map of China on mulberry paper with old color. This map most likely dates from the late 18th or early 19th century and may be an Edo Era Japanese copy of an unknown Chinese source map. The map covers all of China as well as parts of Korea, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, the Ryukyu Kingdom, Japan, and the northern Philippines. Even the pearl fisheries in the South China Sea are noted. The focus of the map is strongly on mainland China, of which it offers impressive detail throughout, naming provinces, cities, and rivers. Along the northern border of China, the Great Wall of China is very much in evidence. There is also a surprisingly sophisticated rendering of Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Gulf of Thailand. There are copious annotations throughout, especially just beyond the traditional borders of China.

The map is clearly copied partially or fully from earlier works, some of which must date to the early Ming Period, c. 1356 - 1378, given the unusual identification of Nanjing as Ying Tian Fu, a term only applied to the 22 year period between 1356 and 1378. The cartography for China seems to be related to the Lu Chun-Han map of China, of which there is but one extant copy, dating to 1679 (Bodleian Library, Oxford). The source map itself is actually derived from earlier Ming sources, including maps by Cao Junyi' s 1644 Tianxia jiubian fenye renji lucheng quantu (A Complete Map of th Nine Border Towns, Alloted Fields, Human Presence, and Travel Routes of All under Heaven) and Wang Jun Fu's 1680 Daimin Kyühen Banlolu Jinseki Rotei Zenzu (Complete Map Of The Nine Borders, Human Traces, And The Travel Routes Of 10,000 Countries During The Ming Dynasty). The cartographic sources used to draw the surrounding regions, particularly Southeast Asia and Korea, are unclear.

A remarkable, beautiful, and enigmatic discovery. This manuscript map is in many ways unique and a complete study remains a work in progress. If you have insight on this rare map, we would be happy to hear from you.


Very good. A few minor worm holes. Original fold marks and creasing. Blank on verso. Old color.
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