Izu Seven Islands.
c. 1847 (undated) 30 x 41.5 in (76.2 x 105.41 cm)
An extraordinary find, this is a c. 1847 Tokugawa Period Japanese woodblock nautical chart of the Izu Islands (伊豆諸島 Izu-shoto). Oriented to the East, this map covers from Chiba, Kanagawa, and Sagami Bay southwards as far as Miyake and Mikurajima Islands. Traditionally referred to as the 'Izu Seven' (伊豆七島 Izu Shichito?), the Izu Islands are officially part of modern day Tokyo. Though many are uninhabited nature preserves, some of the Ize Islands host large towns and villages. This map notes the locations of various shrines, towns, rivers, temples, and identifies local production specialties. With minimal inland detail this map can best be interpreted as a traditional Japanese nautical chart. Notes nautical routes and many offshore features including dangerous reefs and shoals. Though undated the latest information on this map dates to 1847 and the whole is stylistically consistent with our advertised date of c. 1847.
Japanese cartography appears as early as the 1600s. Japanese maps are known for their exceptional beauty and high quality of workmanship. Early Japanese cartography has its own very distinctive projection and layout system. Japanese maps made prior to the appearance of Commodore Perry and the opening of Japan in the mid to late 1850s often have no firm directional orientation, incorporate views into the map proper, and tend to be hand colored woodblock prints. This era, from the 1600s to the c. 1855, which roughly coincides with the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1603-1886), some consider the Golden Age of Japanese Cartography. Most maps from this period, which followed isolationist ideology, predictably focus on Japan. The greatest cartographer of the period, whose work redefined all subsequent cartography, was Ino Tadataka (1745 -1818). Ino's maps of Japan were so detailed that, when the European cartographers arrived they had no need, even with their far more sophisticated survey equipment, to remap the region. Later Japanese maps, produced in the late Edo and throughout the Meiji period, draw heavily upon western maps as models in both their content and overall cartographic style. While many of these later maps maintain elements of traditional Japanese cartography such as the use of rice paper, woodblock printing, and delicate hand color, they also incorporate western directional orientation, projection systems, and structural norms. Even so, Japan's isolationist policy kept most western maps from reaching Japan so even 19th century maps appear extremely out of date. The early Japanese maps copy the great 1602 Chinese world map of the friar Matto Ricci. After Shiba Kokan's 1792 map, most Japanese cartographers used Covens and Mortier's 1730 copy of Jaillot's 1689 double hemisphere work as their base world-view. In 1862 Seiyo Sato based a new world map on Dutch sources dating to 1857, thus introducing the Mercator projection to Japan. By the late Meiji Era, western maps became far more common in Asia and Japanese maps began to follow modern conventions.
Very good. Some fold splits exhibit verso repairs. Folds into original paper binder.