1783 Janvier Map of China, Korea, and Japan

L'Empire de la Chine d'apres l'Atlas Chinois, Avec les Isles du Japon. - Main View

1783 Janvier Map of China, Korea, and Japan




L'Empire de la Chine d'apres l'Atlas Chinois, Avec les Isles du Japon.
  1783 (undated)     13 x 18.5 in (33.02 x 46.99 cm)


A fine example of Rigobert Bonne's c. 1783 map of China, Korea (Coree), Japan, and Taiwan (Formose). The map covers from the Gobi Desert southwards as far as Hainan and eastwards, to include Formosa, Korea, and Japan. Apparently based on a Chinese atlas, this map divides China into its various provinces, identifying countless cities throughout. Korea and Japan are not divided according to provinces, but numerous cities are noted. Formosa or Taiwan is divided along its central mountainous axis with areas in red on the west coast suggesting Chinese influences while the green tinted east coast hints at Japanese influence. Kesho (Tonquin's capital) and Hean (modern day Hanoi) are identified in Tonquin (North Vietnam). A decorative cartouche in the lower right quadrant depicts a Chinaman smoking opium and admiring a bird perched in his index finger while relaxing under an umbrella amongst bucolic surroundings. Drawn by R. Bonne in 1783 for issue as plate no. 27 in Jean Lattre's 1783 issue of the Atlas Moderne.


Rigobert Bonne (October 6, 1727 - September 2, 1794) was one of the most important French cartographers of the late 18th century. Bonne was born in Ardennes à Raucourt, France. He taught himself mathematics and by eighteen was a working engineer. During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 - 1748) he served as a military engineer at Berg-op-Zoom. It the subsequent years Bonne became one of the most respected masters of mathematics, physics, and geography in Paris. In 1773, Bonne succeeded Jacques-Nicolas Bellin as Royal Cartographer to France in the office of the Hydrographer at the Depôt de la Marine. Working in his official capacity, Bonne compiled some of the most detailed and accurate maps of the period - most on an equal-area projection known erroneously as the 'Bonne Projection.' Bonne's work represents an important step in the evolution of the cartographic ideology away from the decorative work of the 17th and early 18th century towards a more scientific and practical aesthetic. While mostly focusing on coastal regions, the work of Bonne is highly regarded for its detail, historical importance, and overall aesthetic appeal. Bonne died of edema in 1794, but his son Charles-Marie Rigobert Bonne continued to publish his work well after his death.

Jean Lattre (fl. 1743 - 1793) was a Paris based bookseller, engraver, and map publisher active in the mid to late 18th century. Lattre published a large corpus of maps, globes, and atlases in conjunction with a number of other important French cartographic figures, including Janvier, Zannoni, Bonne and Delamarche. He is also known to have worked with other European cartographers such as William Faden of London and the Italian cartographer Santini. Map piracy and copyright violations were common in 18th century France. Paris court records indicate that Lattre brought charges against several other period map publishers, including fellow Frenchman Desnos and the Italian map engraver Zannoni, both of whom he accused of copying his work. Lattre's offices and bookshop were located at 20 rue St. Jaques, Paris, France.


Lattre, Jean, Atlas Moderne ou Collection de Cartes sur Toutes les Parties du Globe Terrestre, c. 1783.    


Very good condition. Original centerfold. Blank on verso. Platemark visible. Minor foxing.


Rumsey 2612.058. Phillips (Atlases) 664. National Maritime Museum, 215; British Library. World, col. 384-385 (1762-1785 eds.)