Polyglot Map of Peiping for Travellers or as Memo. / Polyglot Map of Tientsin.
1945 (dated) 15.5 x 21.5 in (39.37 x 54.61 cm)
A remarkable idiosyncratic multi-lingual discovery, this is a rare 1945 multi-colored broadsheet mimeograph map of Beijing (Peiping) and Tianjin (Tientsin), China. The map comprises of our maps printed back to back on a single sheet. The upper map, or recto, in the image above, in purple ink, features the central part of Tianjin (left) and various parts of Beijing (right). The lower map, or verso, in green ink, offers a general view of Tianjin and a magnified map of central Beijing centered on the Forbidden city and the immediate surroundings.
The map promotes the Polyglot Society of Y. P. Hu, apparently a language school, foreign language, bookseller, and translation service widely specializing in English, Chinese, French, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese (Portugish), Japanese, Esperanto (Esperando). The map is densely annotated not merely concerning not just the geography, but also on grammar and pronunciation of presumably important words in various languages. The bulk of the content is nonetheless in English.
The Polyglot society arose during the brief period between the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War, marked by the liberation of Beijing and Tianjin (1945) and the Communist takeover (1949). This map was issued in October of 1945, just a few months after Imperial Japanese forces were driven out of both cities. It embodies a moment of hope and optimism that China would soon join the international community. Instead, China was quickly drawn into a terrible Civil War that lasted until 1949 when the smaller but more fanatical Communist army, led by Mao Zedong, displaced the Kuomintang government of Chiang Kai-shek. In the subsequent years, most foreigners and foreign investment fled China, leading to a period of increased isolationism and ultimately, to the Cultural Revolution.
This is the only known example of this wonderful, charming, map. The map was printed in October of 1945 in China by Y. P. Hu. We have found no further reference to Mr. Hu or the Polyglot Society.
Very good. Slight toning. Wear on original folds. Image represents both sides of a single peace of paper.