1800s Edo period Setsuyoushu Map of Japan and other Countries.

1800s Edo period Setsuyoushu Map of Japan and other Countries.

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By: Unknown

Date: 1800-1868 (circa) Japan

Dimension: 9.5 x 13.5 inches (16.5 x 34.3 cm)

A small, delicate map depicting, Joseon Korea, the pre-Meiji provinces of Japan, Ezo (the pre-Meiji name for Hokkaido before it was annexed), and a small nub of Northern China labeled with the Chinese character's for Jurchen country. The Liaodong Penisula which is described as the "Eastern edge of the Qing" that features a portion of the Great Wall of China.

Next to Korea there is an explanation of the word Joseon Korea and its status as tributary state to China. Despite the Jurchen renaming themselves the Manchus and founding the Qing dynasty this map has put small characters next to Jurchen that spell "Uriankhai" a word that generally denotes forest dwelling nomads in Japanese.

The focus of the map is not on politics or resources, rather there's explanations of what words like Joseon denote, and the origin of the name of Japan. The writing style is also simple and didactic "Ezo is the ancient home of the Emishi" for example is what you
might expect from modern day dictionaries. The illustration of the Chinese junk with the word for Chinese ship right next to it is another example of the map's dictionary-like-ness.

The map appears to have originated  from a Setsuyou-shu, a genre of dictionary that firstappeared during the middle of the Muromachi period (1336 - 1573). Such works began to be replaced by western style format dictionaries in the Meiji period (1868 - 1912) before finally going away for good in the Showa era (1926 - 1989). At first these dictionaries would only include characters with phonetic Japanese readings next to them, but in Edo period, particularly the Genroku era (1688 - 1704) theybegan adding maps, and illustrations to Setsuyou-shu. The content seems to align with this genre. Setsuyou-shu from this period often feature semi-cursive and printed forms, which this map includes.

Non-literal translation of large text box 
This section runs through the history of the name of Japan. First it was called Kuwashi Hoko Chidaru no Kuni, or the land of many beautiful spears. Then it comes to be called Yamato before being called Nihon, or the land of the rising sun, as well as Fussou no Kuni or the land East of China.

Condition: This map is in C+ condition with some staining, fading, and areas of thinned paper that has been reinforced on the verso. Most of the ware to this map is apparent along the edges and corners.

Inventory #11726

1932 S. Halsted St. #200 Chicago, IL 60608 | P: (312) 496 - 3622 

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