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1900 Japanese Bi-lingual Woodblock Map of Peking (Beijing), China (Boxer Rebellion)

Map of Peking.

1900 Japanese Bi-lingual Woodblock Map of Peking (Beijing), China (Boxer Rebellion)


Rare Japanese woodblock map of Beijing.



Map of Peking.
  1900 (undated)    25 x 22 in (63.5 x 55.88 cm)     1 : 17000


This is an important and rare 1900 Japanese woodblock map of Beijing or Peking. Centered on the Forbidden City, the map depicts the city following the multinational suppression of the Boxer Rebellion (Yihetuan Movement) of 1900. The map was issued to illustrate the areas of occupation associated with each of the powers in the Eight-Nation Alliance.

The Boxer Rebellion or Yihetuan Movement was an anti-foreign anti-imperialist uprising marked by proto-nationalism in northeastern China. The rebellion was largely a response to Christian missionary activity in China and was initially supported by the Qing Empress Dowager Cixi. In June of 1900 the quasi-spiritual Boxers, convinced they were immune to foreign weapons, attacked the Chinese Christians and foreigners living in Beijing's Legation Quarter. Although many killings ensued the legations were able to prepare a tenuous defense and found themselves besieged. Relief came quickly in the form of the Eight-National Alliance, which, with an army of some 20,000, defeated the Boxers and occupied Beijing, as well as a number of other northern Chinese cities. The atrocities and looting that ensued, particularly at the hands of Russian and Japanese forces, are well documented and horrifying.

Cartographically this map is based upon a similar map issued by the Qing c. 1867 for administrative purposes (Jingch�ng n�iw�i shou sh�n qu�n t� / 'Premier Full Map of the Capital City's Interior and Exterior' / ????????). The plates were sized by the Japanese during the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion and subsequently printed, then overprinted, with additional historical details, including flags and territory demarcations, associated with the subsequent occupation of the city by the Alliance. The result is this map. Variants appear in French, German, Japanese, and, as with the present example, English. Presumably a Russian variant may also exist, but we have not seen it. Most text is in Chinese with some Japanese and English. This is a rare and significant map of great historical importance.


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. Overall spotting and toning at several places. Original fold lines show wear, with minor rips and holes are intersections. Foxing throughout.
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