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1927 Muller Map of the Hai River, Tianjin (Tiantsin), China

Hai Ho Conservancy Commission.  Plan of Hai-Ho from Tientsin City to the Sea. January 1927. - Main View

1927 Muller Map of the Hai River, Tianjin (Tiantsin), China


Only known example of the official 1927 plan to dredge the Hai River in order to turn Tianjin into a modern shipping port.



Hai Ho Conservancy Commission. Plan of Hai-Ho from Tientsin City to the Sea. January 1927.
  1927 (dated)     23 x 90 in (58.42 x 228.6 cm)     1 : 30000


An extremely rare and important 1927 map by Poul E. Müller and the Hai Ho Conservancy Commission illustrating the course of the Hai River between Tianjin and the Bohai Sea. The map illustrates official plan and work of the Commission in expanding, dredging, and widening the Hai River. The Hai Ho Conservancy Commission was a Sino-foreign advisory body under the Qing Chinese government active from 1897 to 1936. The job of the commission was to transform the Hai River between Tianjin (Tiantsin) and the Bohai Sea (Pechihli, Bo Sea) into a modern navigable river way. The commission hired foreign engineers, most notably for this map the Dane Poul E. Muller, to widen and dredge the river sufficiently to turn Tianjin into a modern port city capable of receiving large oceangoing cargo ships. The map identifies various points where the river was in the process of being modified as well as the many towns and cities along its shores. A history of the work to 1926 appears in a note in the upper left. An inset in the lower right details the River Bed Profile as of October 1926.

This map was drawn by Poul E. Müller and published in Shanghai by the Commercial Press. It is, as stated, extremely rare. We have been able to locate no other examples of this edition and, as a working chart, necessarily must have been printed only in the smallest quantities. The only other known example in any edition is Library of Congress copy issued in 1921.


Commercial Press (1897 – Present) (商务印书馆) is a publisher active in China from the late 19th century to present. It is considered to be China's first modern publisher, and was the largest publishing house in modern China, at the forefront of educational, scholarly, and literary development from 1900 to the 1950s. The Shanghai based press was founded in 1897 by Xia Ruifang who received venture capital from a Japanese firm. The firm immediately started amassing a collection of rare books which it republished using modern presses. It also introduced numerous periodicals ranging form the Eastern Miscellany (東方雜誌) to Youth Magazine (少年雜誌). It proved quite successful and, in 1914, Xia Ruifang attempted to buy out his Japanese investors. This resulted in his assassination shortly afterward. Nonetheless the press became a wholly Chinese organization under the reformer Zhang Yuanji (Yüan-chi Chang; 張元濟; 1867 - 1959), who succeeded Xia Ruifang in running the press. During World War II, during the January 28th Incident, the press and its collection of rare books was destroyed by Japanese bombers. Even so, by this time the press had expanded to multiple offices, including branches in Singapore, and was able to continue operating. During the Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1976), the Commercial Press was relocated to Beijing, and ceased all mapping operations. The press remains in operation today and has become a large international concern focused on the publication of Academic works. They now publish under the imprint Commercial Press International Limited. Learn More...


Good. Left most panel toned more than other panels. A couple of minor tears. Backed on original linen.


OCLC 261183715. Library of Congress, Map Department, G7822.H31 1921 .M8. Wang, Ai, City of the River: The Hai River and the Construction of Tianjin, 1897 – 1948, (Washington State University), August 2014.