Painting by Ahn Gyeon (안견/安堅), Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land (몽유도원도/夢遊桃源圖), 1447.


Mapping (on) the 60th Anniversary of the PRC

Continuing to post a few morsels on China -- a rather seemly activity on this day, the birthday of the People's Republic --, I discovered this 1607 Chinese mappa mundi, called 山海輿地全 (pinyin: shānhǎiyúdìquántú) or "Complete Terrestrial Map".
The image includes a translation of the legends.

On the subject of maps, below is a very interesting and informative one of the Late Qing Empire.
Directly ruled domains are in yellow; the ring of tributary states, protectorates and spheres of influence are in pink. In the latter colour too are the lands of Outer Manchuria, ceded to the Russians in 1860.
Notice the dates of conquest, loss or cession of territory, establishment and cessation of tributary relations, and signing of border (with Russia) and 'Unequal' (with the Treaty System Powers) treaties.
Such dates record the gradual expansion, apogee and contraction of the territory held 'Under Heaven' by the Manchu dynasty.
The last date to appear is 1910 and refers to the formal colonization of Korea by Japan, in the aftermath of the First Sino-Japanese War (another consequence of which was the Japanese annexation of Taiwan in 1895).

Next is a map of the Republic of China and surrounding countries (all of Asia, actually) in 1914:

A forgotten curio: the Government of Taiwan -- the self-styled Republic of China (ROC) of the post-1949 period -- officially maintains extensive territorial claims on behalf of the whole of China, as indicated in the map below (the language of the legends is in bizarre ROC 'legalese', which I'm sure nobody in Taiwan actually employs anymore).
Note that the entirety of (Outer) Mongolia and of the Republic of Tuva in the Russian Federation are still deemed by Taipei to be de jure sovereign ROC territory, together with parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Myanmar.
Incredible, isn't it?!
This map is a veritable dusty relic from the archeology of political history...

For a comparison between reality (the PRC) and fiction (Taiwan as the ROC), see the following map:

To enlarge the maps above, just select and double-click.
Finally, please come to this atlas for more maps of China.

1 comment: