9.25 x 22.5 in (23.495 x 57.15 cm)
An unusual c. 1890 Meiji Era Japanese map illustrating a steamship voyage between the port of Muroran on Hokkaido, to Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagasaki, and ultimately Shanghai. The map is oriented to the northeast and covers from the Japanese Kuril Islands to Hong Kong (which is labeled), Taiwan, and the northern tip of Luzon, Philippines. While the map is undated, the primitive mapping of Formosa/Taiwan suggests that it must predate the 1895 Japanese invasion of Taiwan and postdate the development of commercial steamship routes between Japan and Shanghai in the mid 1860s and the adoption of lithographic printing in Japan, c. 1880. We have therefore tentatively dated it to 1890.
Lithography in JapanJapan's first encounters with lithography followed the 1851 opening of Japan, but widespread lithographic printing was not adopted until years later. The earliest instances of lithography in Japan can be traced to Raphael Schoyer (1800 - 1865) and his wife Anna, who published a short-lived English language newspaper, The Japan Herald in the Yokohama concession. During this period, the early 1860s, the Schoyers taught Japanese artists basic lithographic techniques leading to a new Yokohama school of art. In the early 1870s the Japanese government established a printing office that used a lithographic press for official publications. Nonetheless, it was not until about 1881 that commercial lithography became more widespread. In 1885, 96 publishers united to form the Tokyo Lithograph Union (Tokyo Sekihan Insatsugyo Kumiai). Three years later there were more than 100 lithographers active in Tokyo alone. Chromolithography was introduced into Japan around 1887 and became instantly popular.
Publication History and CensusPrinted by lithograph, probably in Tokyo, c. 1890. We have not been able to trace any other examples, suggesting this may be a one of a kind piece.
Average. Map exhibits toning, worm loss to right panel, and at least three layers of restoration.