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1786 Dunn Map of Korea, Manchuria, and Chinese Tartary

A Map of Chinese Tartary, with Corea. - Main View

1786 Dunn Map of Korea, Manchuria, and Chinese Tartary


Superb 18th century mapping of an area largely unknown to Europeans.


A Map of Chinese Tartary, with Corea.
  1786 (dated)     12.25 x 17.5 in (31.115 x 44.45 cm)     1 : 10000000


This is an uncommon 1786 Samuel Dunn map of Korea, Manchuria, Hokkaido, Mongolia, and Chinese Tartary. Coverage extends from Tibet and Independent Tartary to Sakhalin, Hokkaido, and Japan. It extends south roughly as far as China's eastern Shandong Province. Korea exhibits a distinctly square base, and, as with much of this map, is consistent with the innovative cartography of J. B. B. D'Anville, one of the preeminent mapmakers of the period. The sea between Japan and Korea, alternately called the Sea of Korea or the Sea of Japan, depending on the mapmaker, is here settled in favor of Korea. The great wall is noted.
The map is intensely detailed, shockingly so in areas only poorly understood by western cartographers. While not fully accurate, there is much of interest. Our eyes are drawn to the several caravan tracks across the Gobi, where individual oases are named. The map is largely drawn from Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (1697 - 1782), a significant French cartographer who proved exceptionally talented at piecing together disparate sources into a more accurate whole. In this case, d'Anville based the map on a variety of sources, among them Russian maps, missionary reports, and data collected by Jean-Fran├žois Gerbillon (1654 - 1717) and Joachim Bouvet (1656- 1730), French mathematicians and missionaries active in China in the service of the Emperor.
Sea of Korea vs. Sea of Japan
The sea between Japan and Korea, whose name, either the 'Sea of Korea,' 'East Sea,' or the 'Sea of Japan,' is here identified in favor of Korea (Mer de Coree). Historically, Korea has used the term 'East Sea' since 59 B.C., and many books published before the Japanese annexed Korea make references to the 'East Sea' or 'Sea of Korea.' Over the centuries, neighboring and western countries have identified Korea's East Sea using various different terms. The St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences referred to the East Sea as 'Koreiskoe Mope' or 'Sea of Korea' in their 1745 map of Asia. Other seventeenth and 18th century Russian maps alternate between 'Sea of Korea' and 'Eastern Ocean.' The 18th century Russian and French explorers Adam Johan von Krusenstern and La Perouse called it the 'Sea of Japan,' a term that became popular worldwide. Nonetheless, the last official map published by the Russians name the East Sea the 'Sea of Korea.' The name is currently still a matter of historical and political dispute between the countries.
Publication History and Census
This map was originally published by Samuel Dunn in 1784. The second edition, as here, was issued in 1786. Both the first and second editions were published by Robert Sayer. Subsequently the plates were sold to Laurie and Whittle, who issued their own editions into the early 19th century. Cartographically, the map is based upon D'Anville's Carte Generale de La Tartarie Choinoise issued in 1732. Uncommon.


Samuel Dunn (1723 - January 1794) was a teacher of mathematics, navigation, and astronomy, an engraver, and a publisher active in London, England, during the second half of the 18th century. Dunn was born in Crediton, Devonshire, England. He was active as a teacher of navigation, running his own school, as early as 1742, when he was just 19. In 1758 Dunn became master of an academy at Ormond House, Paradise Row, Chelsea, London. He is credited with observing the transit of a comet in January of 1760 and the thrust of Venus in 1761. Dunn was a member of the Commission for the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea. As such he was one of the few teachers appointed to issued ship masters with 'Certificates of Competence' for the Board of Longitude. Dunn was also an official teacher of navigation for the East India Company and succeeded William Herbert as the editor of the New Directory for the East Indies. He published a number of scientific and astronomical texts as well as several important maps and charts. He lived until his death at No. 1 Boar's Head Court, Fleet Street, London, England. Learn More...

Robert Sayer (1725 - January 29, 1794) was an important English map publisher and engraver active from the mid to late 18th century. Sayer was born in Sunderland, England, in 1725. He may have clerked as a young man with the Bank of England, but this is unclear. His brother, James Sayer, married Mary Overton, daughter-in-law of John Overton and widow of Philip Overton. Sayer initially worked under Mary Overton, but by December of 1748 was managing the Overton enterprise and gradually took it over, transitioning the plates to his own name. When Thomas Jefferys went bankrupt in 1766, Sayer offered financial assistance to help him stay in business and, in this way, acquired rights to many of the important Jefferys map plates as well as his unpublished research. From about 1774, he began publishing with his apprentice, John Bennett (fl. 1770 - 1784), as Sayer and Bennett, but the partnership was not formalized until 1777. Bennett retired in 1784 following a mental collapse and the imprint reverted to Robert Sayer. From 1790, Sayer added Robert Laurie and James Whittle to his enterprise, renaming the firm Robert Sayer and Company. Ultimately, Laurie and Whittle partnered to take over his firm. Sayer retired to Bath, where, after a long illness, he died. During most of his career, Sayer was based at 53 Fleet Street, London. His work is particularly significant for its publication of many British maps relating to the American Revolutionary War. Unlike many map makers of his generation, Sayer was a good businessman and left a personal fortune and great estate to his son, James Sayer, who never worked in the publishing business. Learn More...

Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville (1697 - 1782) was perhaps the most important and prolific cartographer of the 18th century. D'Anville's passion for cartography manifested during his school years when he amused himself by composing maps for Latin texts. There is a preserved manuscript dating to 1712, Graecia Vetus, which may be his earliest surviving map - he was only 15 when he drew it. He would retain an interest in the cartography of antiquity throughout his long career and published numerous atlases to focusing on the ancient world. At twenty-two D'Anville, sponsored by the Duke of Orleans, was appointed Geographer to the King of France. As both a cartographer and a geographer, he instituted a reform in the general practice of cartography. Unlike most period cartographers, D'Anville did not rely exclusively on earlier maps to inform his work, rather he based his maps on intense study and research. His maps were thus the most accurate and comprehensive of his period - truly the first modern maps. Thomas Basset and Philip Porter write: "It was because of D'Anville's resolve to depict only those features which could be proven to be true that his maps are often said to represent a scientific reformation in cartography." (The Journal of African History, Vol. 32, No. 3 (1991), pp. 367-413). In 1754, when D'Anville turned 57 and had reached the height of his career, he was elected to the Academie des Inscriptions. Later, at 76, following the death of Philippe Buache, D'Anville was appointed to both of the coveted positions Buache held: Premier Geographe du Roi, and Adjoint-Geographer of the Academie des Sciences. During his long career D'Anville published some 211 maps as well as 78 treatises on geography. D'Anville's vast reference library, consisting of over 9000 volumes, was acquired by the French government in 1779 and became the basis of the Depot Geographique - though D'Anville retained physical possession his death in 1782. Remarkably almost all of D'Anville's maps were produced by his own hand. His published maps, most of which were engraved by Guillaume de la Haye, are known to be near exact reproductions of D'Anville' manuscripts. The borders as well as the decorative cartouche work present on many of his maps were produced by his brother Hubert-Francois Bourguignon Gravelot. The work of D'Anville thus marked a transitional point in the history of cartography and opened the way to the maps of English cartographers Cary, Thomson and Pinkerton in the early 19th century. Learn More...


Dunn, S., Dunn's New Atlas or Mundane System of Geography. (London: Robert Sayer) 1786.    


Very good. Some offsetting. Minor verso reinforcement along original centerfold and to right margin.


OCLC 793032330.