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[Chinese Year of the Ox]

From the Special Collection of the
Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Library

China in Maps: 16th - 19th Century
(Gallery - part 1)


  1. Map Thumbnail IMPORTANT DETAILED MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE COASTS OF SOUTH EASTERN CHINA & THE STRAITS OF FORMOSA WITH AMOY & QUEMOY, THE PESCADORE ISLANDS, & COASTS OF FORMOSA ITSELF

    ZHILIAN, Zhan
    245x143cm Colored

    Spectacular large scale manuscript map of the region, probably produced for administrative & military purposes. The map is much larger than the typical coastal scroll maps that typify Indigenous Chinese cartography of the late 18th & early 19th Century. The map also includes a degree of detail & artistic embellishment that is quite exceptional when compared to other Chinese maps of the genre. The principal administrative divisions are shown & color coded, the main cities, settlements & principal garrisons & fortifications are identified along the coastlines on both sides of the Straits of Formosa. Red lines denote the principal sea lanes & sailing routes whilst the charming detail shows an array of Chinese junks & sampans in sail at anchor across the map. In the hinterland the mountains & cloud-covered hilltop fortifications are also identified with superb artistic detail. Inspite of some damage to the lower right corner of the map, this is an exceptional rare survival of the 19th Century Chinese cartography especially unusual for its West European provenance. Manuscript with rich and fresh washes.



  2. Map Thumbnail CHINAE, OLIM SINARUM REGIONIS, NOVA DESCRIPTIO (1584),1602

    ORTELIUS, Abraham
    47x37cm Colored

    The first Western Map of China based upon the reports of the portuguese mapmaker Luis de Barbuda and first published in Ortelius "Theatrum" 1584. The map includes one of Ortelius' many outlines for Japan.


  3. Map Thumbnail TARTARIAE SIVE MAGNI CHAMI REGNI TYPUS (1570),c1598

    ORTELIUS, Abraham
    47x35cm Colored

    A most influential and important foundation map, first published in 1570 in Ortelius's World Atlas. It is the first map to draw the relationship between Asia and America and to foster the idea of a Northwest passage via Arctic Europe to Japan via the Straits of Anian. Japan is shown in an increasingly recognizable form. The map is also important in being the first to identify California and to give the name California to the Baja Peninsula.


  4. Map Thumbnail INDIAE ORIENTALIS, INSVLARVMQVE ADIACENTIVM TYPVS c1575

    ORTELIUS, Abraham
    50x35cm Colored

    A strikingly handsome early map of South East Asia first published in 1570 in Ortelius' World Atlas "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum." Derived from the Mercator 1569 World map, it extends from Portuguese India to the North West coasts of America and is particularly notable for the roundel-sha ped Japan. Decorative features include a galleon battling against shipwreck by two spouting seamonsters and vain mermaids admiring themselves in mirrors. This map is also notable for the detail given to new Guinea.


  5. Map Thumbnail ASIAE NOVA DESCRIPTIO c1580

    ORTELIUS, Abraham
    48.5x37cm Colored

    A fine general map of the Continent of Asia from Ortelius' important World Atlas "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum". Includes Japan in an almost recognizably modern 3-island form, but not include Korea.


  6. Map Thumbnail ASIA (1598), c1602

    Quad Matthaus
    29.5x21cm Colored

    Attractive and uncommon small map of the Asian Continent, engraved and published in a number of Atlases by the Cologne school of mapmakers at the turn of the 17th century. Modelled on the outlines of de Jode and Ortelius and notable for the strange cresent-shaped Japan. Finely colored example.


  7. Map Thumbnail DE-SCRIPTIO CHORO-GRAPHICA REG-NI CHI-NAE 1628

    DE BRY, Theodore
    34x29cm Colored

    Theodore de Bry's rare & most uncommon map of China published in part XII of his "Petits Voyages" in 1628. Apparently based directly on Chinese sources with the title lettering duplicated in Chinese script, the map includes portraits of the famous Jesuit father, Matteo Ricci and two costumed figures of a Chinese man and woman. The map is copied from one that appeared in Samuel Purchas' collection of Voyages "Purchas his Pilgrimes" published in London in 1625. The words in the title are divided by Chinese characters.


  8. Map Thumbnail THE KINGDOME OF CHINA (1627), 1676

    SPEED, John
    51x39cm Line colored

    A most sought-after early map of China by English mapmaker, John Speed, published in editions of Speed's World Atlas "A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World" 1627-1676, the first World Atlas by an Englishman.The maps from the Atlas took as their model the Dutch carte-a-figures of the period and included, as here, decorative border vignettes including views of the cities of Quinzay and Macao along the top border with the wheeled wind machines and persecution of Christians in Japan. The view of Macao is a fine bird's eye view copied from De Bry. The side borders illustrate the inhabitants of China and Japan, the Japanese samurai or mercenaries, possibly the first representation of a Japanese on an European map. The map includes Korea as an elongated island and Japan on the Ortelius-Texeira model. A fine example of the last issue of 1676 with the imprint of Bassett and Chiswell. The map was engraved in 1626, but it was first published in 1627.


  9. Map Thumbnail ASIA NOVITER DELINEATA (1618-1630), c1650

    BLAEU, Johannes
    55.5x41cm Colored

    One of the most famous 17th century depictions of the Continent of Asia. Willem Blaeu's map first appeared in 1618 and was reissued by the family firm for the next 55 years. This is a striking originally colored example of Blaeu's fine map of the Continent. Included are detailed town plans of the major European trading ports and settlements in the region and with finely engraved costumed figures of natives along the side borders. Japan is shown unusually accurately with Korea as an elongated Island on the Ortelius-Texeira model.


  10. Map Thumbnail DESCRIPCION DE LAS INDIAS DEL PONIENTE 14 (1601), 1622

    HERRERA, Antonio de
    29x21cm Uncolored

    Uncommon & unusual early 17th Century Spanish map of South East Asia & the coasts of China & Japan first published in 1601 & here from the Dutch edition of 1622. Herrera forms an important figure in early 17th Century Europe, being the 1st official historian of Spain & his maps are particularly interesting in drawing up the lines of demarcation both in America & Asia between the rival Iberian powers of Spain & Portugal. The outline of the region shows the tentative uncertain cartography of perhaps 50 or 60 years earlier. Spanish expeditions' discoveries along the northern coasts of New Guinea & in the Solomon Islands under Mendana are well delineated although Spanish occupation of the Philippines in the 1560's is represented by one of the 1st representations & use of the names of all of the Islands in the archipelago, although still exceedingly distorted. The coast of China are clearly based on Portuguese & native Chinese sources, unusually the coastline is shown on a north-east/south-west axis with the principal ports & offshore Islands shown, including Sancian & the islands of the outer Pearl River Estuary, here called the River Ganges, based on Gerard Mercator's erroneous belief that one tributary of the Ganges flowed from the foothills of India eastwards to China. Japan is shown with a strange principal Island & 9 smaller Islands to the south possibly representing Kyushu (meaning 9 Islands). A key also identifies the islands in the Mariana archipielago & the Moluccas. The line of Spanish-Portuguese demarcation is shown north-south just to the East of Malacca. In practice this demarcation proved unworkable with the Portuguese settlement of Macao & the Spanish colonisation of the Philippines in the middle years of the 16th Century. Herrera's maps are based upon the manuscripts of Juan Lopez de Velasco whose original works are to be found in the provincial library at Toledo.




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last rev. 17 November 1997
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