1933 Postal Atlas of China Map Index Map

輿圖總目及航空郵路 / Index Map, also showing air mail lines. - Main View

1933 Postal Atlas of China Map Index Map


Guide to one of the most important atlases of modern China.


輿圖總目及航空郵路 / Index Map, also showing air mail lines.
  1933 (undated)     23.75 x 29.25 in (60.325 x 74.295 cm)     1 : 7500000


This is the index map for the 1933 edition of The Postal Atlas of China (中華郵政輿圖), compiled by Charles Jacot-Guillarmod. It is a comprehensive map of China depicting air mail routes between major cities and to interior regions that were difficult to reach by other means.
A Closer Look
Mail routes illustrated here connect major cities in eastern China and up the Yangzi River. Lines extending into Sichuan (Szechwan) Province and out to Xinjiang (Sinkiang) would have been necessary due to the difficulty and time of traveling over land. The numbers written in red in each province correspond to their order in the series of maps in the atlas.

Unsurprisingly, as this map was published by a branch of the Chinese government, it does not recognize the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, established the previous year, nor the Mongolian People's Republic. Instead, it reflects the rather ambitious territorial claims of the Chinese Republic that roughly corresponded to those of the Qing Dynasty at its greatest extent. In reality, China was subdivided into fiefdoms ruled by rival warlords, even after a national reunification campaign completed in 1928. However, the postal service was one of several threads that held together the aspiration of a unified China.

Like earlier dynasties, the new national government in Nanjing aimed to rename cities and other territories to project their authority and ideology. Most conspicuously, Beijing ('northern capital') was renamed Beiping (here Peiping). Other name changes were unpopular and temporary or were only used for official purposes. Additionally, many cities had multiple names due to their long history. These points are illustrated by the original owner's annotations for Lanzhou (Kaolan), Chongqing (Pahsien), and other cities.
The Postal Atlas of China (中華郵政輿圖)
Compiled by Charles Jacot-Guillarmod, this atlas contains maps covering all of China in considerable detail. Most were derived from regional working postal maps. The legends on the maps are written in English, Chinese, and French. The history of the The Postal Atlas of China is closely related to attempts to Romanize placenames in the Chinese Postal System. The first atlas followed the 1906 Shanghai Imperial Postal Joint-Session Conference to develop a system of Romanization following Herbert Giles' 'Nanking Syllabary.' The Giles 'Nanking syllabary' was popular with the French-dominated Chinese Postal Service, which considered the earlier Beijing based system developed by Thomas Francis Wade as too Anglophone. As was the case for other bureaucratic offices at this time, foreign advisors were often brought in as consultants or even government officials.

The second edition of the Postal Atlas was issued in 1919 following a Ministry of Education system to standardize the Beijing dialect in all elementary schools throughout China. This led to a resurgence of the Wade system. Nonetheless, in 1931, the French postal co-director Henri Picard-Destelain ordered a return to the Nanking Syllabary. The Chinese Postal System remained under French management until 1943 when the Japanese invaders ousted A. M. Chapelain, the last French head of the China Post.
Publication History and Census
There are four known editions of this atlas: 1907-08 (Shanghai, replacing the 1903 postal wall map, 21 maps plus index map), 1919 (Beijing, 47 maps), 1933 (Nanjing), and 1936 (Nanjing). The atlas was compiled by the French topographical engineer Charles Jacot-Guillarmod and published by the Directorate General of Posts (郵政總局). This edition is held by a handful of university libraries and research institutions in North America and Europe, as well as institutions in mainland China and Taiwan.


Charles Jacot-Guillarmod (1868 – August 14, 1925) was a Swiss topographical engineer active in the late 19th and early 20th century. Charles was born in Le Chaux-de-Fonds, in the Canton of Neuchatel, Switzerland. He attended the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETHZ), where he acquired a degree in Topographical Engineering. After graduating served the Swiss Federal Topographical Bureau from 1890 – 1914, contributed significantly to the Topographical Atlas of Switzerland. He was dismissed from his government topographical posted in 1914. Independent of a paid post he turned his attentions to his interested in high alpine cartography, producing two topographical sketches of Himalayan peaks (K2 and Kanchenjunga) based upon photographs taken by his cousin, the famed mountaineer Jules Jacot-Guillarmod. From 1916 to 1922 he relocated to Beijing where he taught geodesy and topography at the Chinese Army Survey School. There, he was also contracted to compile the 1919 second edition of the China Postal Atlas. When the Chinese government could no longer pay him, he returned to Switzerland in 1923 where he compiled a large scale topographic map of Mount Olympus. His final work was a large scale map of Mount Everest commissioned by the Royal Geographical Society, London, based upon the surveying achievements of a British expedition. Learn More...


China. You zheng zong ju, Zhonghua min guo you zheng yu tu, (Nanking: Directorate General of Post) 1933.    


Good. Dampstaining along central fold line and toward top-center. Light dampstaining towards bottom and bottom-right.


OCLC 5371414, 17468267.