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1856 Japanese Edo Period Woodblock Map of Musashi Kuni (Tokyo or Edo Province)

Musashi Kuni. - Main View

1856 Japanese Edo Period Woodblock Map of Musashi Kuni (Tokyo or Edo Province)


Tokagawa period map covering the ancient Musashu Kuni province around Tokyo.


Musashi Kuni.
  1856 (dated)     44 x 51 in (111.76 x 129.54 cm)


A breathtaking large format Edo Period Japanese woodblock map of Musashi Kuni dating to 1858. Musashi (???, Musashi no kuni?) was a province of Japan, which today comprises Tokyo Prefecture, most of Saitama Prefecture and part of Kanagawa Prefecture, mainly Kawasaki and Yokohama. Musashi bordered on Kai, Kozuke, Sagami, Shimosa, and Shimotsuke Provinces. Musashi was the largest province in the Kanto region. It had its ancient capital in modern Fuchu, Tokyo and its provincial temple in what is now Kokubunji, Tokyo. By the Sengoku period, the main city was Edo, which became the dominant city of eastern Japan. Edo Castle was the headquarters of Tokugawa Ieyasu before the Battle of Sekigahara and became the dominant city of Japan during the Edo period, being renamed Tokyo during the Meiji Restoration. Printed in the traditional Japanese style popular during the Edo Period, with topograpy shown in profile, no firm directional orientation, and map titles in cartouches. A rare opportunity to own an extraordinary item.


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. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Minor wear on original fold lines.