1924 City Plan of Tianjin (Tientsin), China

天津最新詳細地圖 / [Latest Detailed Map of Tianjin]. - Main View

1924 City Plan of Tianjin (Tientsin), China


Treaty Port Tianjin.


天津最新詳細地圖 / [Latest Detailed Map of Tianjin].
  1924 (undated)     19.75 x 13.5 in (50.165 x 34.29 cm)     1 : 22500


An unrecorded map of Tianjin (Tientsin), China, printed in 1924 by an unknown creator. It depicts the city at the height of the treaty port era (1842 - 1943), when foreign concessions divided the city into separate administrative zones.
A Closer Look
Color-shading is used throughout the map to designate Tianjin's foreign concessions and the function of buildings, creating a kaleidoscopic effect. Though the color coding is not entirely consistent, generally speaking, temples, government offices, and factories are shaded red, schools are shaded yellow, and parks, businesses, hutongs, and cemeteries are shaded green. The Japanese, Italian (written as 義租界 in the table but as the homophonic 意租界 on the map), French, Belgian, and British Concessions are denoted, as are 'special administrative zones' which replaced the former Russian, German, and Austo-Hungarian concessions following World War I (1914 - 1818) and the dissolution of those empires. The former American Concession of Tianjin, which was never formalized in diplomatic documents, was absorbed into the British Concession in 1902 in the wake of the Boxer Uprising, an arrangement similar to the International Concession in Shanghai, though the American presence in Tianjin was considerably smaller. A legend at top-right explains symbols used throughout, providing information on the city's waterways and terrain, as well as roads, railroads, streetcars, canals, dikes, military garrisons, police stations, and so on.

Statistics are provided in a table at bottom-left on each concession with the population of foreigners and Chinese noted, with the latter number always being larger. The Japanese boasted the largest foreign population, over 1,800 residents, while Belgium managed only 34.

The 'Chinese city' at left had undergone dramatic changes in the preceding years, growing rapidly as the main gateway to Beijing and an outlet for foreign interaction for all of northern China. One stipulation of the foreign occupation of Tianjin at the end of the Boxer Uprising was the demolition of the city's walls, which by the time of this map's publication were replaced by a streetcar line. The northern part of the city was developed as a pet project of Yuan Shikai, who sought to implement the latest methods of urban planning and bureaucratic administration developed in the West.
Tianjin as Gateway to Beijing and Northern China
Tianjin's location at the intersection of the Grand Canal and the Hai River, also known (including here) as the Baihe (白河, Peiho River in Western sources), connecting Beijing and Bohai Bay, made it one of the most important ports in China. Grain shipments from southern China had to travel up the canal and through Tianjin to reach the capital (Dadu or Khanbaliq under the Mongol Yuan Dynasty and Beijing under their successors, the Ming and Qing).

Before the 19th century, the Qing restricted European trade because of fears that such activity would upset order in the empire. After the Second Opium War (1856 - 1860), with the Treaty of Tianjin (1858) and Convention of Beijing (1860), the Qing dynasty was forced to open Tianjin as a treaty port, as had already happened to several ports further south. The first concessions in Tianjin were granted to the British and the French, and the others followed quickly at the turn of the 20th century. Tianjin was the site of fighting during the Boxer Uprising in the summer of 1900, when the rebels briefly seized most of the city and cut off its connections with Beijing before being driven out by a multinational force known as the Eight Nation Alliance.

Some of the countries with concessions in Tianjin (Austria-Hungary, Italy, Belgium) did not have concessions elsewhere in China, a relic of Austria-Hungary's rather paltry contribution to the Eight Nation Alliance and the indemnities granted to Belgium and Italy for violence against Catholic missionaries following the Boxer Uprising. As occurred in other treaty ports, competition between Western nations was acted out on the local scene, often at the expense of China's beleaguered government. For instance, in the early 1910s, upset by an earlier expansion of the British Concession, the French Consulate and French Catholic missionaries conspired to enlarge the French Concession to Laoxikai (老西開), seen here. The naked land grab was opposed by nearly everyone, including Chinese Catholics and the Holy See, and numerous rallies and a press campaign against the expansion drew considerable attention, but the presence of French police and military forces rendered it a fait accompli (although the present map maintains the Chinese position by refusing to acknowledge the neighborhood as part of the French Concession).

In the late Qing and Republican periods, foreign trade and investment led to Tianjin growing rapidly into one of China's most advanced and wealthiest cities. Chinese reformers of the Self-Strengthening Movement had put hopes in several projects at Tianjin in the late 19th century, including a military academy and a Western-style university (Peiyang University). Following the suppression of the Boxers, new projects could be launched more easily, notably Yuan Shikai's (1859 - 1916) plan for a new urban district in Tianjin to the north of the walled city. Yuan controlled the most modern and competent army in China, stationed nearby in Shandong, and built a grand European-style mansion in the Austro-Hungarian Concession in the early 20th century. Other leading Chinese political and intellectual figures also called the city home, including Liang Qichao, Puyi (the last Qing Emperor), and Ying Lianzhi, while notable foreign residents included Paul Claudel (French Consul before becoming a famous poet and playwright), the Jesuit archaeologist Emile Licent, and Herbert Hoover, who survived the Boxer Uprising while working in the mining industry. Due to Tianjin's special status as a Treaty Port, it avoided much of the violence associated with the Chinese Civil War (1927 - 1949) and various 'incidents' with Japan, though its proximity to Japan and northeastern China, over which Japan had gained control by the early 1930s, brought it squarely into the Japanese orbit. The tenuous immunity began to fall apart on July 30, 1938, when Tianjin fell to Japan during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 - 1945), and the concessions were ultimately abolished during the war.
Publication History and Census
This map was printed in 'the middle of October' 1924 (Minguo 13), with no other publication information noted. It is not known to exist in any institutional collections or have any history on the market. Although some maps with the same title exist from different years in institutional collections, their size and appearance do not resemble the present map.


Very good. Light wear along original folds.