TITLE: Asian Religious Mappaemundi
DESCRIPTION: Only one major component of the overall picture remains
to be described, namely, the existence of a tradition of religious cosmography
in East Asia. This was not recognized by former sinologists but has been
established in recent researches, especially by Professor Hirosi Nakamura.
Essentially, this type of "world" map is centred on the legendary
mountain in Central Asia or the north of Tibet, Mt Khun-Lun (a.k.a.
Mt Meru, Mt Sineru); west of which are unknown regions, while to
the east Korea, China, Indo-China and India form a series of promontory-continents
extending into the eastern oceans. Around these outer seas there is a ring-continent,
itself surrounded by further ocean. They are particularly common in Korea,
where they occur as woodcuts, manuscripts and paintings on screens. Though
they undoubtedly represent archaic tradition, paradoxically most of them
are of late date (17th and 18th centuries). Nakamura showed, however, that
many legendary names of countries taken from the Shan Hai Ching appear on
them (110 out of 145), while others come from the Yü Kung chapter of
the Shu Ching, the Mu Thien Tzu Chuan, Lieh Tzu, etc. Often there
are annotations in the corners copied straight out of Huai Nan Tzu.
No place-name later than the11th century has been seen on any of them.
There can be no reason for doubting that the Koreans received this tradition
from China, though it seems never to have been so popular there. Herrmann
reproduces a Chinese map of exactly this type dating from 1607 by Jên-ch'ao.
There is another in the Thu Shu Pien [On Maps and Books] of 1562
by Chang Huang, entitled Ssu Hai Hua I Tsung T'u [Complete Map of
China and the Barbarian Lands within the Four Seas]. This again has Mt
Khun-Lun in the center. It also includes Ming place-names, however,
as well as earlier ones which come mostly from the Ta Than Hsi Yu Chi
of Hsüan-Chuang. The compiler says:
This map is copied from a Buddhist work. It represents Jambu-dvipa
within the four oceans of the universe. . . Although this map, taken from
the Fo-tsu-t'ung-ki, does not clearly represent the shape of the
world, I give it here. Such Buddhist attempts are not as a rule convincing.
This note is of much interest, since it indicates the Buddhist-Taoist nature
of the tradition, and the low value in which it was held by scholars who
knew the scientific tradition of P'ei Hsiu. The Fo-tsu-t'ung-ki [Records
of the Lineage of Buddha and the Patriarchs] still exists in the Tripitaka;
it is due to a monk Chih-Phan and dates from 1270. Its cosmographical content
seems to go back, through 7th century intermediates of which only the names
are known, to the Ssu Hai Pai Chhüan Shui Yuan Chi [Record of
the Sources of the Four Seas, and the Hundred Rivers] with maps, prepared
by another monk, Tao-An, in 347. It is just about this time that we have
a text which is perhaps the principal literary reference to this wheel-map
tradition. It occurs in the Han Wu Ti Nei Chuan [Inside Story of
the Emperor Han Wu Ti], a Taoist work of the Chin period attributed to Ko
Hung. The emperor is on a visit to the legendary goddess of the West,
Hsi Wang Mu.
On this occasion the emperor also saw certain baskets in which there were
small books bound in purple silk. He asked whether these contained the techniques
of the holy immortals, and if he could be allowed to glance at them. Hsi
Wang Mu took them out, and showed one of them to him, saying, ' This is
the Wu Yo Chen Hsing T'u [Map of the True Topography of the Five Sacred
Mountains]. Only yesterday all the immortals from Chhing-Chhêng Mountain
came to me asking for it, so I shall have to give it to them. It was made
by San-Thien Thai-Shang Tao-Chun [The Highly Exalted Taoist Adept of the
Three Heavens, the second person of the Taoist trinity] and it is extremely
secret and important. How could so gross a person as you be fit to carry
it ? I will bestow upon you instead the Mysteriously Shining Scripture of
Life [Ling Kuang Sêng Ching] so that you may communicate with the
spirits and strengthen your will [to immortality].'
But the emperor, prostrating himself, insisted on having the map. Hsi Wang
Mu then said: ' Formerly, in the first year of the Shang-Huang Chhing-Hsu
reign-period, San-Thien Thai-Shang Tao-Chün went down to see the wide
world, and investigated the differences of lengths and breadths among the
rivers and seas. He also observed the differences of height among the hills
and mountains. Then he established the (position of the) Pillar of Heaven
[Thien Chu]* and arranged the geographical features in their positions all
around it. Then he placed (on the map) the five mountains (in a manner)
imitated from the method of concentric zones (i.e. taking one as central
and disposing the others symmetrically). The position of honor (the central
position) was given to Mt Khun-Lun, where the dwellings of the immortals
were depicted. An important position was also given to the island mountain
of Phêng-Lai where the halls of the spirits were shown. The Water
of An [the moon ?] was written in as very holy and sublime, since it is
the origin of the extreme Yin influence. The Thai Ti [Great Emperor, i.e.
the sun ?] was similarly placed in the wilderness where the Fu-Sang tree
is. A little hill no bigger than ten feet square can be the place where
human fates are decided. A small island in the stormy sea has enough room
for the Nine Sages. Each continent has its proper name... AII of them are
located in an orderly marmer in the huge environing ocean with its tremendous
waves. The rivers are also seen flowing (on the map), some green and some
black. The assembly of spirits is depicted cradled on the waves; all the
immortals and jade girls are gathered there. Some of their names are hardly
known, but their real features are distinctly displayed. Thus by the use
of the compass and the square the rivers and their upper reaches were measured,
and the mountains drawn with circularly curving lines. The mountain ranges
bend back upon themselves and the smaller hills wander back and forth. The
height of the mountains and the extent of their slopes are shown by lines
turning and curving. Indeed, they look like written characters. Thus the
written names of the mountains were determined by their respective natural
shapes, and the reality of the mountains is enshrined in symbols. The diagrams
of the shapes (of the mountains) were kept secret in Yuan-Thai, but nhen
they were taken out they served as charms and talismans among the immortals.
By their aid,Taoists can pass safely over all mountains and rivers. The
hundred gods and the assembly of unmortals showed the greatest respect for
this map and acclaimed it. Although you are not their equal, you have often
visited mountains and marshes, you have the heart of an eager seeker after
truth, and you have not lost sight of the Tao. I rejoice that this is so,
and now therefore I will give you the map. Keep it, I enjoin you, with as
much care as men show to their lords and their parents. For if the secrets
of it should leak out to ordinary people, evil fortune will overtake you.'
* Another 4th century A.D. work, the Shen I Ching [Book of the Spiritual
and the Strange] says (para. 9, Chung Huang Ching): 'On Mt Khun-Lun there
is a bronze pillar which goes high up to the heavens. This is calledThien
Ch. It has a circumference of 3000 li, as round and smooth as
if cut with a knife. At the base of it are the dwellings of the immortals.'
Again, the Shui Ching opens with the statement that Mt Khun-Lun
There can thus be no doubt that we are dealing with a mixed Buddhist-Taoist
tradition of religious cosmography, analogous to that of Europe, but with
Mt Khun-Lun as orbocentric instead of Jerusalem.
The cosmography of Tsou Yen in the 4th century B.C. had an environing ocean,
though not a central mountain. So also did that of the Kai Thien astronomical
theorists. When Yung Hêng, therefore, in the Sung, says in
his Sou Tshai I Wên Lu [Collection of Strange Things Heard]
that 'in the east, north and south there are seas with different names,
but actually it is all one sea', he was not necessarily influenced by the
wheel-map tradition, though this may be a reference to it. However, the
Ho Thu Wei Kua Ti Hsiang (one of the apocryphal or weft classics) says
that Mt Khun-Lun is in the center of the earth, corresponding to
heaven, and that the eighty regions are scattered all around it. China is
in the southeast and occupies only one of these regions. If this was written
towards the end of the later Han, one can perhaps see in it the combination
of the indigenous world-picture deriving from Tsou Yen with that which came
Obviously everything points to an Indian origin of these wheel-maps; and
perhaps of all wheel-maps have a Babylonian origin. The current research
work on the cosmography of the Indians shows that in ancient Buddhist and
Jain ideas there were four continents centering upon Mt Meru:Uttarakuru
in the north, Purvavideha in the east, Jambu-dvipa in the
south, and Aparagoyana in the west. Brahmanic tradition also has
the ring-continent, modified by what were perhaps echoes of Greek 'climates'.
The classical literary exposition of this cosmography is that of the Abhidharma--kosa
probably composed about 370 and crystallized in stone by the Khmer people,
builders of the (9th century) Phnom Bakhen between Angkor Vat and Angkor
Thom, and still one of the wonders of the world. One can hardly doubt that
this cosmographic tradition came into China with Buddhism, perhaps joining
earlier indigenous conceptions of Mt Khun-Lun as central. But never
did it triumph over the tradition of scientific cartography there, as its
analogue did in Europe.
Our habitable world, according to the Buddhist cosmographical view, is a
continent called Jambu-dvipa lying to the south of Mt. Meru (Mt Khun-Lun
or Sineru), which is commonly identified either with the Pamir Mountains
of Central Asia or with the sacred Mount Kailasa (Kailas) in Tebet. Jambu-dvipa,
or "southern continent", is derived from Sanskrit and was a term
used to describe India, and by extension, the entire world, in ancient Indian
cosmology. The continent is said to be wide in the north and pointed in
south, having in its center Lake Anavatapta from which flow four large rivers.
This is to be considered as a topographical reflection of the Indian peninsula,
Lake Anavatapta symbolizing Lake Manasarovar in the Himalayas and the four
rivers representing the Ganges, the Indus, the Oxus and the Tarim. Together
with Buddhism, this geographical conception of the world was introduced
into China and Korea and thence into Japan, where it found expression in
various types of Buddhist maps. These maps, therefore, have some characteristics
analogous to the Christian world maps of the Middle Ages, for they both
express their religious view of the world rather than a scientific, empirical
view of the earth. But while the latter gradually went out of use in Europe
from the beginning of the Renaissance, the former claimed, with popular
support, a right to existence until the middle of the l9th century, in opposition
to the newer world maps of European origin which had been gradually gaining
ground from the 16th century. This may be contributed largely to the extraordinary
circumstances of Japan during her national isolation from 1639 until 1854.
KOREA: In old Korea, geographical atlases in the form of ordinary
books, stitched with leather, were comparatively rare, but, in another form,
mounted on screens, were very much in everyday use. Such an atlas was certainly
very convenient, yet it was not commonly found among either the Chinese
or the Japanese.
The most surprising thing about these old Korean atlases is that, except
for very modern examples of the 19th century which show how very completely
foreign knowledge had at last invaded the country, they invariably contain
the same material, as if they were indifferent to the progress of geographical
knowledge. They usually include the following maps, and in the order given:
mappamundi [world map], China, Japan, Liu-Kiu, Korea and the
eight provinces of Korea (one map to each province). Occasionally, however,
the order is slightly modified, Japan and the Liu-Kiu, or the mappamundi,
being put at the end of the atlas. These atlases have survived from ancient
times, either as wood-cuts or as manuscripts. They reveal very great differences
in size, in technical skill displayed, in color and even in title, but none
in their basic content.
To begin with one is struck by the quaintness of the mappamundi at
the beginning of the volume. As illustrated here, this style of mappamundi
could be described as the medallion portrait of the right profile of a man,
with carefully dressed hair and with his mouth open. The head forms the
"central world continent", in which the Celestial Empire
occupies almost the middle of the face. The front, or eastern part, of the
coiffure represents Korea, the chin and neck, to the south, Annam and India;
the back or western part of the coiffure the Western countries. This central
continent is surrounded by a great ocean, in which there are numerous islands.
Outside the ocean is a second continent in the form of a ring, which, in
its turn, is surrounded by an immense and "endless ocean". In
the latter are two islands, one to the east and the other to the west. In
some manuscripts there is a third island to the south. According to Hulbert,
the map is considered "complete", that is, nothing is conceded
as being unknown, it was considered unwise to allow the public to suspect
that the cartographer did not know of the existence of any land. Reproduced
on the following page from the British Museum manuscript Atlas is an example
of the more usual form that this type of map takes, although, as will be
shown throughout this monograph, there were slight variations in the renderings
of these world maps.
According to Hulbert, the central continent represents Asia alone, India
being at the southwest corner. The only rivers definitely given are the
Yellow River (#122), the Yang-tse (#129), and the Mekong (#130), all of
which are represented fairly well. The general course of these rivers is
only approximated here. It is interesting to note that China proper is represented
as lying between the Yellow River and the Yang-tse, which, as history proves,
was the real birthplace of the Chinese people. Korea (#119) and the Yellow
Sea are also well represented, but when we go farther afield than this we
find confusion. Annam (#132) is not far out of the way; but the land to
the west of it, which must represent Siam [Thailand] and Burma, is highly
fanciful. The water to the east of India must be the Bay of Bengal, and
the two forks at the head of it may represent the Irrawaddi and Salween
Rivers. If this is so, the Kwen-lun Mountains (#123) are not far enough
out of their proper place to call for severe criticism. Using a liberal
imagination, the unnamed lake to the north of these mountains may represent
the Caspian Sea. The name of the map is placed at the two upper corners
(#146 & #147) and means Under the Heavens and The Whole Map.
Around the edge are arranged some statements of a general nature, namely,
that the distance around the world is some 30 million miles; that the world
contains 84,000 different countries; that it is surrounded by a limitless
ocean; that the stars vary in width from 12 to 30 miles; that the sun and
moon are 900 miles wide; and that the heavens and the earth are separated
by a distance of 120,000,600 miles [English].
In the far north Hulbert notes the that the area labeled as the Covered
Lake (#4) might well refer to the great ice-covered Arctic Ocean; and
the Land Without Sunshine (#6) is not a bad description of the sub-arctic
winter. The Land Where Political Divisions Were First Made (#8) demonstrates
the ego-centric view of the Chinese cartographer.
One of the most important of these names is that of Pusang (#17),
to the extreme right of the map. In Korean and Chinese legend this land
lay 70,000 li, [or 21,000 miles] to the east of China. In that country
grew enormous trees, 400 feet in height. Some scholars think that this area
refers to America, which, of course matches the description and location.
The distance is exaggerated, but the fact that it lies far to the east,
and that it grows such phenomenal trees, would indicate that the land mentionwed
is the Pacific coast of America.; but it should be noted also there there
are two other places named Pusang as well (#67 & #76), so that it appears
that the Chinese were somewhat unsure of its location (or the interpretation
of the term Pusang needs to be clarified). Hulbert continues the
interpretation of place-names on this map by noting somewhat north of Pusang
lies Heaven Balance Mountains (#10), which reminds him of the tale
of Atlas. He also speculates that the Land of Superior Men (#22)
could refer to the Aztec civilization, which was experiencing its zenith
at the time this map was made. In the Land of Women (#24) Hulbert
finds a counterpart to the Amazons of Western mythology. To the south there
is the Land Where People Do Not Die (#33), evidently Sheol, Happy
Hunting-grounds, Valhalla of the West. The Land Where People Have
Animal's Heads (#35) and the Land of Giants (#9) are a Brobdingnagian
conceit. In the far west we find the Cloud-governed Land (#46) which
may be a reference to the British Isles.
Passing to the northeast, again we find the Land of Hairy People
(#62) which may be a refernce to the Ainus. If #64 represents the southern
island of Japan, Kyshu, and #68 the middle island, Honshu, then #62 might
easily represent the northern island of Japan, Hokkaido, where the Ainus
live. The land numbered #65 is right beside Japan, and is called Land
of Asking Trousers by Hulbert, an example of the often "forced
translations". Glass Bead Land, or Loo-choo Islands (#72)
seems to lie too far away from Japan; and no determination has been made
as to the identification of the large island containing #68, #69, and #70,
which seems to lie partly between Japan and Loo-choo. Siam [Thialand]
(#74) is mistakenly made out to be an island, and is placed north of Annam.
The Land Where Wood is Eaten (#82) may refer to the fact that so
many of the people of Polynesia live on fruits almost exclusively. The Land
of Fire-haters (#89) lying near the Equator is well-named, though it
is hard to recognize it as any specific place. Passing toward the west,
we find the four contiguous peoples called respectively, Extraordinary
Land, Land of Good Agriculture, Land of Musical People, and Land
of Vain People. These are located approximately where Europe ought to
be, given the relative scheme of the map. Norway might be the area called
the Deep Sun Land (#106), as the sun does not rise high in the heavens
even in summer.
In reality it is nearly impossible today to accurately identify more than
a few of the place-names on these mappaemundi. All of these people
and places, however, are mentioned in one place or another in Chinese and
Korean folklore and literature. When seen for the first time these Korean
atlases appear to be very old, for the dominating idea in the mappaemundi
is comparable to the mediaeval cosmographical conceptions of Cosmas Indicopleustes
(Slide #202) and the imago mundi. The very beautiful, solid
paper, sometimes waxed, upon which they are drawn is like old parchment.
When badly preserved, as so often happens, they appear still more ancient.
In 1895 Professor Maurice Courant, of Lyons, reproduced one of these 18th
century manuscript Korean mappaemundi in the second volume of his Korean
Bibliography, though without giving any explanation of its origin or
any description of it. In the following year M. Henri Cordier published
a faithful and costly heliogravure reproduction of an 18th century manuscript
atlas found in the Map Room in the British Museum. It is an atlas of the
Kingdom of Korea and its provinces, with some other maps, the whole in Chinese
characters, bought by the Museum in the previous year from an American traveller.
Cordier has, in his collection, transcribed these Chinese characters, but
he does not speak of the origin, source or date of this mappamundi,
which he believes to be certainly of very great age. In this he was probably
influenced by the opinion of Yi Ik-Seup, who says in his memoirs that the
Korean mappaemundi existed from time immemorial. Yi Ik-Seup also
says that, after long and patient search, he succeeded in finding two old
Korean manuscripts, the one of purely Korean origin and the other from a
Chinese source, containing Europe, Asia, Africa and even America. The former
is referred to above and the latter, about which he makes no definite statement
is possibly one of the maps made by the Jesuits in China and very badly
copied by the Koreans (an example of this kind of map, Ye-chi-zien-do
[Ancient World], was published in: "Chosön, the land of the morning
calm. A sketch of Korea" by Percival Lowell, Boston 1886. The heliogravure
reproduction of the map is entitled: "Korean map of the world, reduced
to about one-fifth the area of the original. In the original the mountains
are a vivid green and the sea a lilac"). Reproductions by Yi Ik-Seup,
Courant and Cordier are all of manuscript maps, and no reproduction of a
Korean woodcut mappamundi was made until that by H. B. Hulbert in
1904. In 1905 Carlo Rosetti also reproduced a manuscript mappamundi,
translating its topographic names in the same way as previous editors, without
giving any further description or information about them.
Caution is warranted in reading the works of Yi and Hulbert for they attempt
to identify topographical names by the literal and often forced translation
of the Chinese characters with names in use today (see examples on previous
pages). When they did not know how to properly interpret them, they simply
transcribed the pronunciation. The literal translation of proper names into
place-names has, of course, no meaning, for every Chinese character can
have, at the same time, many significations and, moreover, Chinese characters
are symbolic as well as phonetic. Still other difficulties are encountered
in place-names, for they change from era to era and from one chronicler
to another. Yi says in one place that the mappamundi dates from time
immemorial, and in another he is trying to identify America in the "ring"
continent! Hulbert does not go so far, but, tired by a long and singularly
forced interpretation, he says, "Human nature is the same all the world
over. The conceptions shown in the Chinese and Korean mappaemundi are
evidence of this, for they differ only in degree from the imago mundi
of the Middle Ages." The Korean mappamundi has no value whatever
from the geographical point of view, though it has a certain interest from
that of folklore, for all place-names recorded in one or another example,
and found here and there in Chinese literature, will one day be identified.
Before discussing the Korean mappaemundi from the point of view of
ancient cartography, existing materials and their dates must be examined.
There are two groups of materials, woodcuts and manuscripts. The latter,
though incomparably more numerous than the former, are no more authentic,
rather the contrary. Circumstances in Korea and Europe were not the same.
In China and Korea prints from wood blocks were costly and limited to a
small number, therefore printed books were often copied by hand. While this
procedure often gave rise to unexpected mistakes, it was a simple and primitive
method of reproduction which was practised until quite recently in the Far
East. Remembering this we must focus our attention upon the printed atlases
which, without exception, bear no date at all or only that of the copy.
For this reason the examination of different editions is of supreme importance.
Twelve different editions will be described here which were examined by
I. (a) Tchien-ha-tchong-do [Mappamundi], anonymous (this map is anonymous,
but bears a pseudonym
"Bu-un-muk-kaik," meaning "Penman Floating Cloud," often
used to denote a Buddhist monk, one of
whom must therefore have been the copyist. It is little different from the
others in the explanatory notice
above the drawing. This seems to me to be made at random and without bibliographical
The third continent, outside the Great Desert, (below the main drawing),
and its nine place-names, are
worth no more than this reference.), no place of publication, undated.
(b) Cho-sen-chi-do [Maps of Korea], anonymous, no place of publication,
Library of the Imperial University of Keijo
(c) Without title, anonymous, no place of publication, undated.
(d) Tchien-ha-chi-do [Mappamundi], anonymous no place of publication,
undated. All these atlases
are of the same edition, with no definite title. They are large quarto volumes,
about 32 X 43 cm.,
containing ten maps, as follows: Mappamundi, China and the eight provinces
of Korea. The
mappamundi measures 43 X 63 cm., with a printed surface of 42.5 X 50.5 cm.
The sea and the
rivers are engraved in black and the land in white. The technique of the
wood-engraving is primitive
but attractive. The last two of the four Chinese characters showing the
title are enclosed in a rectangle.
II. (a) Without title, anonymous, no place of publication, undated.
Atlas, the Mappamundi of which is reproduced by H. B. Hulbert.
(b) Cho-sen-chi-do [Maps of Korea], anonymous no place of publication,
Library of the Imperial University of Keijo, Ancient 4709/38.
This Atlas contains 13 maps, as follows: Mappamundi, China, Japan,
Liu-Kiu, Korea and its eight provinces.
The wood engraving is like that of the preceding examples. Format, large
octavo, 13.5 X 33 cm.
The mappamundi measures - paper, 37 X 33 cm., printed surface, 31.5
X 31.5 cm.. The four characters
showing the title are enclosed two by two in rectangles. In Mr. Leo Bagrow's
collection there is a MS. copy
of this atlas entitled Tchien-ha-tchang-do [mappamundi].
III. (a) Tchien-ha-tchong-do, or Tchien-ha-do [Mappamundi],
anonymous, no place of publication,
undated. Ecole des Langues Orientales Vivantes, Paris, D. 7989.
(b) Chio-do-bo [Map Treasures], anonymous, no place of publication,
Mr. Hidetaka Nakamura's collection.
(c) Without title, anon., no place of publication, undated.
Contains 13 maps: Mappamundi, China, Japan, Liu-Kiu, Korea and its
eight provinces. Engraved in a
fashion rather different from that of preceding atlases. Sea-coast and river-banks
shown by fine
lines. Mappamundi bears title Tchien-ha-do [Mappamundi], in
top right-hand corner of map and
measures - paper, 38 X 35 cm., engraved surface 31.7 X 36.5 cm. In the copy
in L'Ecole des
Langues Orientales there is no map of the province of Keishodo.
IV. Without title, anonymous, no place of publication, undated.
Contains same 13 maps as III, which it greatly resembles, but is easily
recognized as a separate edition
by, for example, the shape of the trees in the mappamundi.
V. Ye-chi-do [Geographical Atlas], by Kum-hos-an-in (Ai-kieng-chai),
no place of publication,
zodical date, year of the old earth and of the cock.
Library of Baron Mitsui.
Library of the Imperial University of Keiyo, Ancient 4709/58.
VI. (a) Ye-chi-do [Geographical Atlas], by Kum-ho-san-in (Lo-on-gun
at Honan), zodical date, year of the
old earth and of the cock. Professor T. Okudaera's collection.
(b) Tong-kuk-ye-chi-do [Korean Atlas, title printed on cover], by
Kum-ho-san-in (Lo-on-gun at
Honan), zodical date, year of the old earth and of the cock.
VII. Chi-do-pien [Geographical Atlas, MS. title], by Lo-on-gun at
Honan, zodical date, year of the
old earth and of the cock.
These three atlases, Nos. V, VI and VII, are different editions of the same
original. They contain 13 maps: Mappamundi, China, Korea, Liu-Kiu, Japan
and the eight Korean provinces. The technique of the engraving is like II
above, but touch and design are quite different. Format, largo octavo, 20
X 31 cm., printed surface of mappamundi, 32.5 X 27 cm., bearing title
VIII. Chi-do [Geographical Maps], anonymous, no place of publication,
This resembles No. IV, but is of quite a different edition. The map of Japan,
for example, in
No. IV bears no legend, but this one does, taken from the Hai-dong-tsu-kuk-ki,
1471. Format, large octavo, 18 X 30 cm. The mappamundi measures,
paper, c. 37 X 30 cm.,
engraved surface, 32 X 27 cm.
IX. Chi-kwal [Summary of Geography], anonymous, no place of publication,
Very much like the preceding, but clearly of a different edition. Shows
fortresses, posting houses, military posts and so on, in legend at the top
of the map of each
of the eight provinces (wanting in No. VIII). Differences also in design.
Format, large octavo,
20 X 34.5 cm. Mappamundi measures, paper 39 X 34.5 cm., engraved
surface, 32 X 27 cm.
Contains 13 maps, Mappamundi, China, Korea and its eight provinces,
Liu-Kiu and Japan.
X Ye-chi-do [Geographical Atlas], anonymous, no place of publication,
Library of the Imperial University of Keijo, Ancient 4709/37.
Contains only 10 maps: Mappamundi, China and the eight provinces
of Korea. Japan, Liu-Kiu
and the general map of Korea missing. Except China, which is clearly different,
the maps are
the same as those in No. IX.
XI. Chi-do [Geographical Maps] anonymous, no place of publication,
Very like Nos. II and V in general appearance. Sea and rivers engraved in
black, land in
white. Design is coarse. Format, large Mappamundi, China, Japan;
Liu-Kiu, Korea and its
mappamundi measures - paper 40 X33 cm, engraved surface 35.5 X 30
cm., bearing title Tchien-ha-do.
Contents archaic, yet it shows latitudes and longitudes, an extraordinary
anachronism due to the
influence of the maps drawn by the Jesuits in China.
XII. Without title, anonymous, no place of publication, undated.
Contains only mappamundi. Paper, 38.5 X 35 cm, engraved surface elliptical
in form major axis,
31.5, minor, 28.5 cm. The paper is folded in 4 X 7 cm. On the verso and
in the center are two small
pieces of thick paper decorated with vignettes in low relief, forming the
The mappamundi itself does not differ from others in essential features,
but it shows the sea in wave-form,
and has many more place-names than usual in its western parts.
It is difficult to understand the adoption of so small an atlas format for
such a mappamundi has no practical advantage. Nevertheless manuscript
maps thus folded are often found, and this one has therefore no special
significance; it is simply a question of habit and taste. Hulbert believes
that two or three other different editions are in existence, but cannot
be described here before having more carefully examined them. As to the
manuscript atlases, they are so numerous that one can not venture to describe
them all. However, it must be emphasized that the printed examples are more
authentic than the manuscript, considering that the latter are invariably
copied from the former.
Manuscript copies are of all sizes, according to the whim of the copyist.
Ordinarily they were needed when there was a great expanse of paper had
to be covered with decorative colored material, with writing or lettering
to hide the empty spaces. They are mostly copies of one or other of the
atlases listed above. Nevertheless we meet from time to time a particular
type which does not occur in a printed form. It is not mounted on a screen
but is stitched like an ordinary book. Its maps are small, drawn with great
care and pleasantly colored. This is a six-volume atlas, with, as usual,
no special title containing very many maps.
I. Ye-chi-do [Geographical Atlas], anonymous, no place of compilation,
Library of His Highness Prince Yi, Historical Division, Geographical Section,
II. Ye-do [Geographical Atlas], anonymous, no place of compilation,
Museum of the Central Government of Korea.
III. Chi-do [Geographical Maps], anonymous, no place of compilation,
Museum of the Central Government of Korea, Cho, 61/27
These are copies made one from the other. The contents of the mappamundi
in this atlas, as well as the manuscript copies, large and small, are
always the same. Unfortunately they are almost all anonymous and undated.
Atlases I and II contain maps of different epochs; for example, the general
map of Korea, which has probably been copied from the "Treatise on
Korean Geography", compiled in 1481 by the King of Korea; that of Japan,
copied from a very old map which must have been introduced into Korea in
the 15th century; that of the Liu-Kiu, semi-imaginary, produced before the
Yuen Dynasty; and that of China, according to some maps of the Ming Dynasty.
These atlases are, in fact, a compilation of anachronistic maps. The maps
of the Korean provinces, however, contain information more recent than that
in the royal treatise. The names of certain garrison towns, for example,
make it clear that this form of atlas was not originally compiled before
the latter half of the 15th century.
At the end of the preface in Atlases V and VI is the date, "The year
of the oldest earth and of the cock," but this does not enable us to
fix the zodiacal cycle for that year. In the preface also the author calls
China "Great Ming." Can we therefore find the year in question
in the Ming Dynasty? Unfortunately not, for in the geographical description
at the end of Atlas VI, a description not found in Atlas V, there is a passage
about the thermal spring Onyo, which says, "His Majesty King Hyen-zong
and King Shuk-zong visited it and the temporary royal villa is there also."
The later king occupied the throne between 1675 and 1720, and the Ming Dynasty
came to an end in 1661.
Atlas V bears the names of the compiler Kum-ho-san-in and Ai-kieng-chai,
Atlas VI the name of Kum-ho-san-in and Lo-on-gun, while Atlas VII, with
a preface modified and shortened from that of previous editions, bears only
the name of Lo-on-gun, and the date no longer appears in the preface, but
at the end of the volume, where we read "To Zo-lieng, newly edited
in the year of the young earth and of the cock, in the fourth cycle after
the foundation of the new era of Tchoung-tcheng" (1628) which corresponds
to 1849 in the Christian era. Are we then, according to this, to consider
Atlas V the oldest, VII the most recent, and Kum-ho-san-in the first compiler?
The explanatory notice on the map of Japan says that after the new treaty
between the authorities and the chief of the island of Tusima, Japanese
merchants were authorized to trade in Korea. This treaty between the clan
So of Tusima and Korea having been concluded in 1609, it is possible that
this work may have been compiled in that year, and if we look for a scribe
with nom-de-plume Kum-ho- san-in we can name Liu-hieng-su, who had
been condemned to death in 1547, accused of plotting against the royal family.
The notice on the map of the province of Kankyo-do in Atlases VIII and IX
gives the names of the Kings Se-jong, Soung-jong and Jung-jong. The last-named
occupied the throne from 1506 to 1544, which shows that these atlases are
later than this date, and very probably before the end of the Ming Dynasty,
1661. All enquiries by Nakamura, therefore, lead him to give the date of
the compilation of these printed atlases as not before the 16th century,
while the dates of their successive editions will probably be still later.
It is curious that we do not meet this form of mappamundi in Japan,
for it is incredible that a map form so widespread in Korea should not have
been introduced there at all. The bibliography of the subject mentions at
least one Japanese who alludes to a similar mappamundi. He is named
Yosino Zingoemon, an officer in the army of the Daimyo of Matura. This man,
in the introduction to his "Story of War", written on a war-vessel
in the port of Fusan, at the time of the invasion of Korea by Hideyosi,
reflects, while looking at a mappamundi, on the extent of the world. His
story refers, apparently, to a mappamundi of the type Tchien-ha-tchong-do.
One example of this Korean form of mappamundi published in Japan
(map measuring 31.5 X 23.5 cm/paper - 48.2 X 33 cm) was once in the collection
of Mr. T. Magami and is now owned by Mr. H. Ikenaga. It is an undated print,
made at Nagasaki by Kassai-do, and has a manuscript geographical description
around the mappamundi. It is entitled Sekai San-koku-ki ["three
kingdoms", that is "Description of the Whole World" - India,
China and Japan, which passed for the whole world] and though much altered,
is easily recognizable as having the essential configuration of the Korean
mappamundi, by the shape of the central continent, the numerous ocean
islands, and the second ring-shaped continent, which has here an indented,
rectangular form. It is, in its content, a real catastrophe in geographical
knowledge, for it contains every kind of anachronism. To the northeast of
the central continent Yezo takes on the form of Kamchatka, embodying Japanese
knowledge as it existed at the end of the 18th century; there is a sandbank,
curiously drawn in double-stippled lines, a method often adopted in Japanese
portolans of the 16th and 17th centuries; three islands in black in the
north, found only in Japanese editions of the mappamundi of Father
M. Ricci, and so on. This map has a special interest in that it shows the
transition from the Tchien-ha-tchong-do type of mappamundi
to the more modern type to be considered later.
With regards to the content of the mappamundi, taking as example
Atlas III or IV, which are those now most often seen. Among the 145 names
marked are 40 mountains, 5 rivers, 4 lakes, 3 trees, 2 large regions and
91 names of countries or peoples, counting separately five names, each of
which is used twice in different localities. Hardly a quarter of them can
be accurately identified in the central continent and the adjacent islands.
The remainder are considered by scholars as fictitious and fantastic, most
of them legendary names from the Chan-hai-king, one of the oldest
books of Chinese geography. No less than 110 are from the canons Hai-wei,
Hai-nei and Ta-fang, the most fabulous parts of that book. In
his enumeration, Nakamura has introduced some perceived corrections into
the reading of 12 mutilated names among the 110, probable mistakes presumably
made by the copyist of the map. The few other mythical names come from such
other works as the chapter on Yu-kong in the Chang-chou, the
Mou-hien-tseu-tchouan, Lie-tseu, Hoi-nan-tseu, Hai-nei-chih-tcheou-ki
and so on, all works of different periods before the Hans. Some of these
names have appeared in one book after another ever since that time, others
appear only in more recent works.
Both the historical and geographical value, and the date of the Chan-hai-king
have been long discussed. Modern Chinese scholars are agreed that it
was not the compilation of a single person, but that heterogeneous materials
were added from time to time to the initial collection. The scholar Lacouperie
believes that the oldest and most authentic part of it is the Canon of
the Five Chan-king, put together in the Tcheou Dynasty from very
old sources, and that the canons Hai-wei-king and Hai-nei-kin,compilations
of the Tcheou Dynasty, were added by Lou-hsiang between 80 and 89 years
before our era, and finally that the the canon Ta-houang was added
by Liu-siu, who died in 57 A.D. Mr. T. Ogawa believes that the second addition
was made during the Ts'in and Han Dynasties, but in any case before the
The identifiable geographical names are found in official chronicles from
the Han Dynasty to that of the Thang. Nine are in the Han-chou (1st century),
three in the Soui-chou (7th century), one in the Thong-tien
(9th century), and also in the Sin-thang-chou (11th century), one
in the Thang-chou (10th century). The solitary 11th century name
marks the upward limit of the date of the geographical names in this mappamundi
. Thus its content is made up of materials of very mixed date, gathered
together through a long period of time, from the second or third century
before the Christian era up to the 11th century A.D.
Certain atlases, as, for example, VIII and IX, have a notice in the right-hand
margin of the mappamundi. "The distance across the Universe
from the eastern extremity to the western is 223,500 li and 72 paces,
the distance of the two extremities, from east to west, is 28,000 li."
Another note in the left-hand margin reads, "the distance from the
northern extremity of the Universe to the southern is 203,500 li 75 paces,
the distance of the two extremities, from north to south, is 26,000 li."
This is a quotation from a chapter of the Hoai-nan-tseu [Lecture
on Geography], which says "The distance across the earth, this side
from east to west is 28,000 li, and from north to south 26,000
li . . . Yi made Ta-chang walk from east to west and reckoned the distance
across as 233,500 li and 75 paces. He then made Chou-hai walk from
north to south and reckoned the distance as 233,500 li and 75 paces."
Thus in the Hoai-nan-tseu distances are equal, while in the mappamundi
they are slightly different. This must be due to a copyist's error, for
in a manuscript Atlas (Nakamura's collection, No. 416), there is a phrase
taken from the Hoai-nan-tseu, which begins "Yi made Tac-hang
walk." These figures are also found in the Chan-hai-king at
the end of the Tchong-chang-king chapter. The copyist of this mappamundi
therefore found materials not only in the Chan-hai-king but in other
There is a group of Korean mappaemundi which differ somewhat from
those of the atlases enumerated in terms of the number of place-names in
the western regions. They are all, in other respects, exactly alike. Examples
of this group are to be found in: Atlas XII, described here ; MS. Atlas,
reproduced by H. Cordier; mappamundi reproduced by M. Courant; MS. Atlas,
Nakamura's collection, No.416; MS. Atlas, Library of the Imperial University
of Keijo, Ancient 4709/1, and others. These mappaemundi contain 51
names more in the western regions than do others, but four of these are
common to both groups so that in reality there are only 47 more. Of the
latter 14 come from the Chan-hai-king, the remainder from the
Han-chou. Only one is found in both documents.
This increase in the number of place-names cannot indicate a later addition,
seeing that none of them are earlier than the first century. They ought
rather to be considered as purposely omitted in the one group, because of
lack of space. The following phrases are, in fact, often found in the commentaries:
"These are not the whole of the names of countries," "the
rest of the countries," "innumerable countries", indicating
omissions. That these are intentional is the more clear when we read such
phrases as, "twelve countries in the regions to the south and west,"
"numerous countries in the west" and so on.
The topographical names on the Korean mappamundi, therefore, were
current in widely separated epochs. This might tempt us to doubt the authenticity
of the map, or to suspect that it was drawn by amateurs, comparatively recently,
in accordance with ancient writings, and that therefore it cannot be considered
otherwise than as a kind of historical map. But if it were the product of
such a caprice there should be many inconsistencies among the place-names,
at least in some among the many editions, and above all, in some manuscript
atlases made at different periods by different hands. Not only, however,
are there no such inconsistencies, but, on the contrary, the same mistakes
are slavishly repeated. This fact makes it the more certain that the mappamundi
is the traditional reproduction of the original, and not a modern creation.
NOTE: Yi or li today means 100 millions, but not in
the classics. Toan Yu-tshai (1735-1815), in his Commentaries compiled
under the Hans, says that yi means 10,000 in all the canonical books.
If this is so, the second figure in 223,500 must be redundant. However,
it is possible that the word meaning 20,000, in Chinese two-10,000,
was put into the text in the course of repeated copying. This would appear
to be logical if we compare the figures for the distance across the universe
from east to west with those from north to south, 203,500, which
would then read 23,500. In Buddhist books yi may mean either 100
millions or 100 thousand.
Since place-names of the period from the 6th to the 11th century are few
and sporadic in these Korean mappaemundi they must be considered
as later additions. The great body of names are taken from the Chan-hai-king
and the Han-chou, but above all from the former. This assumption
is made the more convincing by the fact that overseas countries [Hai-wei],
and those of the Great Desert [Ta-houang] are distinguished by colors
according to the orientation of the Chan-hai-king. The colors of
the four cardinal points and the center are in accordance with the philosophical
idea of the five elements: in the east, blue; the west, white; the north,
black (a very dark indigo, almost black); the south, red; and in the center,
the Celestial Empire, yellow. The idea of the five elements wood,
fire, earth, metal and water, is a dominating one in China. All natural
and moral phenomena are interpreted by its principles. An explanation of
the connection between the five elements and colors is found in the Sou-oen.
Now the Chan-hai-king, with the exception of the first five chapters,
originally had accompanying pictures, and the text existed only to explain
them. The original pictures were lost in a far-distant age, and those we
see today, representing fantastic monsters, were remade in the 6th century
in accordance with the ancient text. Many have therefore believed that the
Korean mappamundi, or another very like it, must have been part of
the Chan-hai-king as an explanatory picture of its cosmography.
Any supposition is feasible, but without solid foundation it remains only
supposition. This hypothesis, that the Korean mappamundi had its
origin in the Chan-hai-ing, must be admitted only with the greatest
reserve. It may be very old, but it need not be as old as that. It cannot
have taken on its peculiar form, nor have been given its traditional content,
before the 11th century. None of the research scholars allow us to fix its
date earlier than the 16th century. Most of the examples are of the 17th
and 18th centuries. On the other hand, the closest examination of its content
will not allow scholars to put its date any later than the 11th century.
To soften this contradiction appropriate material must be found to bridge
the gap between these two epochs. Such material will come, it is to be hoped,
from Chinese sources rather than Korean, for this mappamundi is purely
Chinese. It bears no trace of anything specially Korean, which is understandable
when we consider that the sciences and the arts of Korea were almost always
slavishly modelled upon those of China. In the following section we shall
consider a group of mappaemundi which link the two epochs mentioned
in this paragraph.
In the Museum of the Central Korean Government there is an eight-leaved
screen bearing the number 9734 made up of maps of the world, China, Japan,
Korea and other regions. It contains two mappaemundi, one of the
Tchien-ha-tchong-do type, described above, the other of quite a different
kind, entitled Ssu-hai-hoa-i-tsung-t'u-chi- hyong [The Complete Map
of China and Barbarian Lands within the Four Seas], which measures 44 X
43 cm. The fact that it was mounted in screen-form shows that this type
also must have been well known in Korea.
It is obvious that this map bears a close relationship to both the Korean
mappamundi and the Go Tenjiku Zu, though only the central
portion of the latter is shown, i.e, the central continent, with the neighboring
islands of the surrounding ocean. A part of the second ring-continent is
just visible in the east and south. These maps should also be compared with
the Sakei San-koku Ki, mentioned above, to appreciate the transition
from one form to another.
This type of mappamundi, like the others, must be of Chinese origin.
There is, in fact, one exactly like it in a well-known work, the Thou-chou-pien
(26.5 X 20.7 cm), an illustrated encyclopedia compiled by Tchang Hoang (1527-1608),
where it appears in the 27th volume, entitled Ssu-hai-hoa-i-tsung-t'u,the
same title as that of the screen map, but without the last two characters,
-chi-hyong, meaning "shape of." The two maps are exactly
alike in form and content, though they differ in color and dimensions
There is a third example of the same kind in Leo Bagrow's collection, entitled
Tchien-chi-nam-tchem-bu-chu- chi- heung, and forming the first part
of a Korean atlas, Tchien-chi-nam-tchem-chi-do, containing 29 maps.
It is a copy, not very faithful, of the Thou-chou-pien map, with
changed title, and altered also by the addition of explanatory phrases in
the margin and on the map of Japan, in the shape of the islands, especially
those of the west, and in other ways Its very existence leads us to believe
that this form of mappamundi was common enough in Korea.
As to the dates of these three specimens, the two Korean examples are undated,
so that we know only that of the Thou-chou-pien map, whose compilation
was begun in 1562 and finished in 1577. But the map itself is not of this
period, in spite of the addition of 13 names of the provinces of the Ming
Empire. The date of the encyclopedia is only the date of the reproduction
of this mappamundi, for the compiler himself twice clearly says that
he has copied it from a Buddhist work, once in a note above and to the right
of the map: "This map is found in a Buddhist work. It represents Jambud-vipa
[the habitable world] within the four oceans of the Universe,"
and again in the text: "Since the map of the book Fo-sou-t'ong-ki
does not represent clearly the shape of the world, I show here the world
according to a Buddhist work, although Buddhist attempts are not as a rule
convincing." The original map is therefore much older than the Thou-chou-pien,
but unfortunately the compiler nowhere gives any clue as to the source from
which he obtained it.
The two Korean maps must have been copied from the Thou-chou-pien
map, and, since most of the Korean maps met with today are productions of
the 17th and 18th centuries, these also are very probably of the same period.
The compiler of the encyclopedia quotes "the map of the western regions
and of the five Indies," from the Fo-tsou-t'ong-ki [Records
of the Lineage of Buddha and the Patriarchs], 1269, by Tche-p'an, itself
doubtless taken from the Si-yü-ki, as is stated in the text,
and as we can see from the place-names on the map. Chavannes states that
"This map has no geographical value, and is little more than a list
of the countries given by Hiuen tchoang in the Si-yü-ki. These
three maps, although later than those reproduced here from the prints made
by Pei-lin, are, however, earlier than that of the Mongolian epoch which
Bretschneider (Mediaeval Researches, vol. 2, pp. 45) believed to
be the oldest Chinese map surviving to our days. The last-named map came
from the King-che-ta-tien, edited in 1329, not 1331, as Bretschneider
wrongly states. The map of the King-che-tat-ien does not represent
the cartography of the Mongolian epoch, as Bretschneider says, nor does
that of the Tche-p'an, as suggested by Chavannes. There is a well-authenticated
manuscript Chinese atlas of the Mongolian epoch, the Kuang Yü T'u,
the work of Chu Ssu-Pen compiled by Lo Hung-hsien under the Mings, in the
library of the Imperial Cabinet of Tokyo (Slide #227). It is quite
different from the two mentioned above and, according to Nakamura, was misunderstood
by both Bretschneider and Chavannes.
The content of mappaemundi of this group is very different from those
of the Tchien-ha-tchong-do (Slides #262I/J) type. The names of the
13 provinces of the Ming Dynasty are given, but for China as well as other
countries there are topographic names of all periods. Most of these names
are from the Si-yü-ki of Hiuen- tchoang, 602-664, a famous Chinese
Buddhist traveller who went to India in the first half of the 7th century.
Naturally, in so small a map, the names of all the countries he described
cannot be given, 110 visited by him personally and 28 others of which he
had heard. There are, in the map, many omissions and mistakes, due to repeated
transcription from one copy to another, which shows that it was not made
directly from the text of the Si-yü-ki. A certain number of
names were drawn from other sources. The following remark, for example,
is made about an island in the southeastern ocean: "Ye-pho-ti [Java]
. . Fa-hien was thrown upon this island by a storm," and there is another
small oval island, named Ho-ling [Kalinga in Java), shown as a separate
island, described in I-tsing's voyages (635-713). Most of the topographical
names concerning the islands in the ocean surrounding the central continent,
and those on the portion of the ring-continent of the Tchien-ha-tchong-do,
are fabulous, taken from the Chan-hai-king . This map is therefore
a hybrid, made up from the Tchien-ha-tchong-do and another, probably
the work of a Buddhist and based upon the Si-yü-ki, a source
rich in details and topographical descriptions of the western regions and
The best known map of this kind is that of the Tenjiku koku [the
Indies] inserted in the third volume of the Syûgaisyô
(size of the original 34 X 25 cm.), an encyclopedia compiled about the middle
of the 14th century, and handed down to posterity in a hand copy whose content
has been augmented at different epochs. The oldest edition is of the Keicho
period, 1596-1615, but it does not contain the map of the Indies, which
must therefore have been added in a more recent edition, unless it always
existed in certain other MS. examples. There is no real proof that it existed
in the 14th century. Its central continent has almost the same shape as
that of the Thou-chou-pien map, with smooth coastal lines forming
a shield-shaped, almost geometrical figure Its content owes much to the
Si-yü-ki, as is evident not only from the place-names but also
because the draughtman continually quotes phrases from that work. Its author
was not an inhabitant of the fabulous world of the Tchien-ha-tchong-do,
seeing that he calls it a map of the Indies and not a mappamundi.
There is another interesting map of this kind in the Hosyoin temple in the
Siba Park at Tokyo, reproduced as frontispiece in the second volume of the
travels of Yu-ho Den, in the collection of Buddhist books, 1917, and entitled
Sei-eki Zu [Map of the Western Regions]. It is accompanied by two
documents, also reproduced in the book. They give the source of the map
and collate and correct the inscriptions it contains.
According to these documents Hiuen-tchoang, while on his travels in the
Indies, found the original of the map, and, after having marked on it in
vermilion ink the route he had followed, he placed it in the T'sing-loung-tseu
[Blue Dragon] Temple at Tch'ang-ngan, then the capital of China. Huei-kuo
(746- 805), chief priest of the temple, presented it to Kukai (774-835),
his best Japanese disciple, when he returned to his own country. He placed
it in the Tozi Temple, which he founded at Kyoto. Much later a priest named
Komatudani presented it to the 41st chief priest of the temple Zozyozi at
Yedo. The Iatter, delighted with this wonderful Buddhist geographical treasure,
and deeming it too rare and important to keep to himself, caused another
copy of it to be made, for what he had received was only a rough sketch.
Ninkai, Ryoseki and Dyogetu drew the map, while Ryogetu, Keigi and Zyunsin
added the place-names, collating and correcting them according to the
Si-yü-ki and other works. The copy was finished in 1736.
These editors made history by quoting many Chinese books on the title of
the map, which was originally Go Tenjuku Zu [Map of the Five Indies"]
(Slide #263) and which, in their opinion, was not correct, since it dealt
not only with the Indies but with the western regions also. They called
it, therefore, the Map of Western Regions.
This information is not easy to accept, since it often confuses the copy
and the original, Moreover it is impossible that the map should have been
of Indian origin, and it is doubtful that it was constructed by Hiuen-tchoang,
seeing that it shows an area greater even than the Indies. According to
Nakamura, it was drawn by someone else, after his return, to illustrate
the story of his travels, and that the map given to Kukai by his master
was a copy, and not the original. But whatever the authorship of the map
there is no doubt that it was brought from China by a religious student,
whether Kukai or another. To decide this question other more ancient and
more authentic materials are necessary.
From the point of view of date alone the Hosyoin copy is not interesting,
for we know of many other similar specimens much older. An example of Japanese
world maps representing Buddhist cosmology can be seen in the earliest map
of this type, the Nansenbushu Bankoku Shoka no Zu [Outline Map of
All the Countries of the Jambu-dvipa] (Slide #263.4). Nansen Bushu
is a Buddhist word derived from the Sanskrit, Jambu-dvipa, or the
southern continent. In 1710 (Hoei 7th year) this large (1 m 45 cm X 1 m
15 cm) woodcut map, supplied with a detailed explanatory text in Chinese,
was published at Kyoto by a priest named Rokashi Hotan, under the pseudonym
of Zuda Rokwa Si (died in 1738 at age 85). It is not a faithful copy of
the preceding, but has many corrections and additions. The most striking
innovation is an indication of Europe to the northwest of the central continent,
and of the New World in an island to the southeast.
In the preface, in the upper margin of the sheet, are listed the titles
of no less than 102 works, Buddhist writings, Chinese annals, etc., both
religious and profane, which the author consulted when making his map. Hotan
says in the Santshai-thou-hoei, the Thou-chou-pien, the
Ming-yi-thong-tchi and others, both the situation and the extent of
countries are often false because of the lack of knowledge of Sanskrit.
After careful study of the Fo-tsou-t'ong-ki map, and of the mistakes
he had found in it, he had concluded that the draughtsman had drawn solely
upon theSi-yü-ki, and not upon other sources, such as, for example,
the Chi-kia-fang-chi and the Tshan'entchoan, for his nomenclature.
Hence the mistakes. Even in those remote times, he says, there existed manuscript
maps, named Go-Tenziku-Zu [Map of the Five Indies] (Slide #263) in
the most famous temples, but they were even worse than that of the Fo-tsou-t'ong-ki.
In spite of this author's boasting his map is, in reality, according to
Nakamura nothing but a mutilated copy of the "Map of the Five Indies,"
made up from a confusion of heterogeneous and anachronistic materials, and
including topographic names from the time of the Chan-hai-king up
to modern times, some betraying European influence. This map became the
prototype of Buddhist world maps, the Nan-en-budai Shokoku Shuran no
Zu (a world map), the date of which is still uncertain, and the Sekai
Daiso Zu (a world map), En-bu-dai-Zu (a world map), Tenjuku
Yochi Zu (a map of India), a trilogy by Sonto, a Buddhist, are derived
from Hotan's world map. The special features of these maps are the representation
of an imaginary India, where Buddha was born, and the illustration of the
religious world as expounded by Buddhists. In the Buddhist world maps or
Shumi World, the space for the regions called Nan-sen-bu and
Nan-en-budai, etc. (equivalent to the continents on the real earth)
is very small. It has been maintained that their artists could not have
closed their eyes, as far as these parts are concerned, to the objective
world maps made in Europe. But these maps treat India as the heart of their
world, and consequently we can say that they never recognized the European
world maps. In their maps the Buddhists connected the Five Continents
with the Spiritual World where the spirit of human beings must go
after death. In these maps we find confusion of the visionary world and
the real. Hotan's world map was so popular that it is not difficult to find
This map can be described as a characteristic specimen of the type of early
East Asiatic maps whose main distinctive feature is their completely unscientific
character. They are based not on objective geographical knowledge or surveys
but only on the more or less legendary statements in the Buddhist literature
and Chinese works of the most diverse types, which are moreover represented
in an anachronistic mixture. Thus, on this map we see, in addition to the
mythical Anukodatchi- pond which represents the center of the universe
and from which flow four rivers in the four cardinal directions, in the
left-hand upper corner of the map a region designated as Euroba,
around which are grouped, clockwise, the following countries: Umukari
(Hungary ?),Oranda, Barantan, Komo (Holland, the country of the
redhaired), Aruhaniya (obviously Albania), Itaryia, Suransa
(obviously France) and Inkeresu (England). Hiroshi Nakamura regarded
this map, therefore, simply a mutilated copy of the map of the five Indies
which is said to have come to Japan about 835, and a copy of which, dating
from the 14th century, is preserved in the Horyuji Temple of Nara, Japan.
The copy in question is a reprint published by the bookdealer Bundaiken
Uhei. The map has been reproduced in Mototsugu Kurita's atlas Nihon Kohan
Chizu Shusei, Tokyo and Osaka, 1932 and in color in Hugh Cortazzi's
Isle of Gold, 1992. Another, almost analogous edition of the same
map, also dated 1710, but published by Chobei Nagata in Kyoto, is reproduced
in George H. Bean's, A List of Japanese Maps of the Tokugawa Era,
Jenkintown 1951 .
From every point of view, however, the map preserved among the precious
objects in the North Pavilion of the Horyuzi Temple at Nara is the most
interesting. It is a very large map, 1.67 m. X 1.78 m., magnificently drawn,
brightly and agreeably colored, the sea in ultramarine, the mountains in
a greyish-green, and Hiuen-tchoang's itinerary in vermilion. On the verso
is the title, Go Tenjiku-Zu, but neither author's name nor date.
The inscriptions are only partly completed. That in the right-hand margin
bears an important notice, which says: "This map was made by the priest
Zyukwai, in the fifth month of the third year Teizi. It is preserved in
the convent of the Horyuzi temple. Thus this note gives us the author's
name and the date of the first map of Horyuzi. The date corresponds to the
month of May 1365.
The nomenclature of this map, as well as that of the Hosyoin map,
is taken from the Si-yü-ki . They are just the itineraries of
Hiuen-tchoang's travels. Among several maps of this kind that of Horyuzi
is certainly the oldest and the most authentic in existence, though even
it is not quite free from alterations. The others are very far from being
in their original condition. Japan and Korea, northeast of the central continent,
having no connection with the Si-yü-ki, must be later additions.
In the Horyuzi and Hoyuzi and Hosyoin maps the Japanese Archipelago is shown
by a bird's eye view, in Hotan's map and in its reduced reproduction it
is shown in plan, adopted from a modern map, and in the Syûgaisyô
map Korea has been placed in a rectangle to the northeast of the central
continent in place of Japan. Is this because the map is of peninsular origin?
All these heterogeneous elements, so different from the other parts of the
map are clearly the result of retouching at a later date, so that, in its
most authentic form, the map of Hiuen-tchong's itinerary had doubtless the
shape of a shield, with a few small, rocky islands near the south and southeast
coasts of the central continent, but without showing either Japan or Korea.
The shape of the central continent is just the same as in the Korean mappamundi,
as was demonstrated also by the hybrid map.
There must certainly have been formerly in China some examples of Hiuen-tchoang's
itinerary, now long lost, while that taken from China to Japan must have
been preserved there through long centuries. This very precious geographical
relic, though it may have undergone some slight alteration, remains nevertheless
to shed much light on the development of the Korean mappamundi.
From Nakamura's examination of a many manuscript and printed Korean mappaemundi
he has come to the conclusion that they cannot in themselves be dated
earlier than the 16th century. Their content however, their nomenclature,
being for the most part that of the Han period, and taking into consideration
the periods at which the few additions to that nomenclature have been made,
is of a date not Iatter than the 11th century.
A hybrid map, forming a link between the Korean mappamundi and Hiuent-choang's
itinerary, which dates from the 8th century, causes one to seek further
the connection between these two groups of maps to establish the parentage
of the Korean mappamundi.
The first portions of this monograph conveys the results of Nakamura's researches
into the nomenclature of these maps from the historical point of view, and
into their dates, but it is absolutely necessary to carry out alongside
these examinations an investigation of their relationships in configuration,
that is to say, to study their morphology. That is what is proposed for
this final portion.
We do not know if Hiuen-tchoang's itinerary map was known from the commencement
as The Map of the Five Indies, although it may commonly have been
so called. The editors of the map preserved in the Hosyoin temple insisted
that such a title was wrong and renamed it The Map of the Western Regions.
Which is, in Nakamura's opinion, still not correct, for it contains not
only the Western Regions but India and China also, so that Terazima is right
in calling it The Map of the Western Regions and of the Indies, the
title he gives to his small reproduction of part of Hiuen-thoang's map.
But by whatever title it may be called, its content is always that of Hiuen-tchoang's
itinerary. Moreover, its central continent being always entirely surrounded
by an immense ocean, it would seem that for its draughtsman this continent
represented the whole of the then known world. This idea does not arise
simply from the imagination, for the Hindus and the Chinese, like the Greeks,
believed that an immense, unnavigable ocean entirely surrounded the habitable
world. There is the same idea in the hybrid map and in Hotan's. In putting
forward the idea that the Chinese of the 7th and 8th centuries believed
that the geographical knowledge acquired by Hiuen-tchoang in his travels
was concerned with the whole of the then known world we are saying that
their world had become smaller than that known in the Han period, which
is impossible. We shall presently see what really was the extent of geographical
and cartographical knowledge in the Thang period.
Even as far back as the Tcheou Dynasty, Chinese cartography was well established
where the court then had regular officials whose duties were concerned with
the production and preservation of maps. Nevertheless certain scholars are
doubtful about the positive knowledge of scientific cartography possessed
by the Chinese of that period. Yet in face of the number of early references
to maps it cannot be doubted that they had, under the Ts'in Dynasty, maps
sufficiently exact for their own purposes. Under the Han Dynasty maps played
a very important part in political and military affairs, and many of them
covered a vast area. The invention of paper at the beginning of the second
century, by the eunuch Ts'ai Louen, made possible a great step forward in
cartography, thanks to its handiness, and its cheapness compared with wooden
or bamboo tablets, or the linen or silk stuffs in use up to that time. At
the same time the expansion of geographical knowledge under the Han Dynasty
brought out the importance of the invention of paper. But it was not until
the middle of the 3rd century that the correct scientific principles for
the production of a good map were enunciated. It was P'ei Hsiu, 234-271,
who formulated them so that he may rightly be called the father of Chinese
cartography. Under the Thangs China had attained to a high degree of civilization,
perhaps the highest it has ever reached, and cartography then made remarkable
progress. This is the time when the famous Hai-wei-hoa-yi-thou [Map
of the Celestial Empire and the Barbarian countries within the seas] was
produced and presented to the Emperor by the celebrated cartographer Kia
Tan, 730-805. It was an exact and detailed map 33 feet high and 30 wide,
on the scale of one tsoun [a Chinese inch], to a 100 li [a
Chinese league] that is, about 1:1,500,000, taking a li as 300 pou
[a Chinese pace], and a pou as 5 tchih [a Chinese foot]. It
must have covered a vast extent, almost the whole of Asia. To our great
regret is has disappeared without any trace, but the author of the stela
map at Si-gna-fou, engraved in 1137, of which the original drawing was made
before the middle of the 11th century, said that he had consulted it, and
that it contained many hundreds of kingdoms.
Therefore, so far from the area described in Hiuen-tchoang's travels being
the whole of the world known to the Chinese at the Thang period, the world
they actually did know was very much greater. Kia Tan's map is perhaps not
a proof of this, since it no longer exists, and was always, in any case,
kept secret at the Imperial Court, and so was not easily consulted even
by those of the generation in which it was produced. But there is another
extremely important map of this period known to us and existing today. It
is of the whole of Asia, and in the Thang period would have been regarded
as a mappamundi. It was originally in scroll form and in three parts,
whose dimensions were respectively: 31.5 X 994 cm, 30.7 X 932 cm, and 29.5
X 217 cm. The first and third parts each contain two modern leaves, those
of the first part being the preface by Onson Kosugi, 1834-1910, a well-known
classicist, and those of the third a Government certificate. The document
itself is therefore a scroll about 30 cm. high and 18 meters long.
This Sino-Tibetan map, like the imago mundi of the European
Middle Ages, is simple but grotesque. A score of rectangles clumsily arranged,
represent the various countries. The names of the countries, written in
the rectangles are in Chinese and Tibetan characters. No one succeeded in
deciphering these until Professor Teramoto did so, publishing his findings
at the end of 1931 in an article entitled "Relations between Japan
and Tibet in the history of Japan" (Slide #208) .
The map covers almost the whole of Asia, from the extreme east to Persia
and the Byzantine Empire in the west, from the countries of the Uigours,
the Kirghis and the Turks in the north to the Indies in the south, an area
incomparably wider than that covered by Hiuen-tchoang's travels. It proves
finally, therefore, that Hiuen-tchoang's map does not represent the whole
of the world known to the Chinese at the time of the Thang Dynasty. Both
maps came from the same temple so that they must have been co-existent there,
and moreover, there is reason to believe that both had their origin at almost
the same period. It is not very probable that the originators of these two
maps tried deliberately to represent the world in two different ways. Moreover,
the geometrical form of the Sino-Tibetan map was foreign to China,
so that it must owe something to western influence. For it is a historical
fact that, under the Thangs, the Chinese, having conquered the eastern Turks,
annexed an immense territory, stretching from Tarbagatai in the north to
the Indus in the south, and their national prestige was then at its zenith.
They were constantly in touch diplomatically and commercially with Tibet,
Persia, Arabia, India and other countries both by land and sea.
This alone is sufficient to prove that the Chinese at this period well knew
that the Map of the Five Indies was not of the whole world, but that
it extended into the west and north beyond the areas indicated by the Si-yü-ki.
Why, then, should the area described by Hiuen-tchoang have been represented
in the form of a shield surrounded by an immense ocean? Is it due to the
influence of Buddhist or Brahmin cosmography? Did the draughtsman of this
Buddhist pilgrim's itinerary exaggerate, making these travels represent
the whole world? Could such an adaptation of the Buddhist cosmography afterwards
have become traditional? This could not have been so, for Hiuen's travels
were not always mapped in the form of a shield. There is one map of his
journeys, drawn as an itinerary, preserved in the Tongdosa Temple in the
province of Kei-shodo (south) in Korea. It is a scroll, 31 to 35.5 cm. high
and 6.37 meters long, of which 1.49 m. on the left is text and the remainder
the kind of drawing seen in Latin itineraries. The scroll begins on the
extreme right with the Touen-houang region and finishes with Ceylon. It
is dated April 1652, lunar calendar, is roughly drawn and has no special
interest from the geographical point of view, but it serves to prove that
the map of the travels of Hiuen-tchoang was not always drawn in shield form.
The fact that the Chinese represented the geographical content of the Si-yü-ki
in world form, without taking the slightest trouble to show the true
shape of countries they knew well, not even China itself shows that, at
the period of the Thang Dynasty, 7th to 8th century, they had a mappamundi
of the Tchien-ha-tchong-do (Slides #262I/J) type in common use
that they adopted it just as it was, without modifying it at all, and entered
on it the Si-yü-ki nomenclature.
Therefore it may be said that the Korean mappamundi had its beginnings at
a period rather earlier that than of the Thang Dynasty; that a map very
like it in form was introduced into Korea from China at a certain period
and, thanks to the development of printing in the 16th century.
There is no doubt that the map by Jên-ch'ao, which also represented
Jambu-dvipa as India-centric continent, utilized the Map of the Five
Indies for reference, as we can see from the method of drawing both
the boundary lines of the Five Indies and the courses of the four big rivers.
But the distinctive feature of the map is that China, which had till then
occupied a purely notional situation, was represented as a vast country
in the eastern part of the continent with place-names of the period of the
Ming Dynasty. Evidently the composition of this map owed much to the ideas
of Chih-p'an and Jên-ch'ao's book contains another map entitled Tun-chên-tan-kuo-t'u
[Map of the Eastern Region or China], which followed Chih-p'an's Topographical
Map of the Eastern Region or China. Jên-ch'ao's map of Jambu-dvipa,
however, is no mere combination of three maps in Fo-tsu-t'ung-ki.
In his map we no longer see the juxtaposition of India on the west and China
on the east, for India is placed in the center and China to the northeast
of India in the eastern quarter of the continent. As may be read in the
text of the Fa-chieh-an-li-t'u, there was a theory that, with the
Pamir Plateau as its center, the world could be divided into four quarters,
viz., the country of the elephants on the south (India), that of humans
on the east (China), that of horses on the north (Mongolia, Central Asia
and other regions of the nomadic peoples), and that of treasure on the west
(Iran and other western regions). Jên-ch'ao based his map on this
theory. Originating from an ancient Indian legend, it had been introduced
into China as early as the 3rd century A.D., but it was not until the theory
came to be taken up from the 7th century in Buddhist works, such as the
Si-yü-ki, that it began to attract wide attention. Belief in this
theory may explain why the Map of the Five Indies, in its composition
of the world, arranges Chên-tan [China] on the east and
Po-szu-kuo [Iran] on the west in opposition to Central Asia and India,
though this no more than reflects their geographical position. To sum up,
taking over Chih-p'an's view of China as equal with India, and on the basis
of the theory of four divisions of the world implicit in the Map of the
Five Indies, Jên-ch'ao tried to reunify the world which had been
disintegrated into three regional maps in the Fo-tsu-t'ung-ki, and
he thus succeeded in offering an image of the whole of Jambu-dvipa
We cannot suppose, however, that Jên-ch'ao was the first to produce
a map of this type. When we note that his map is not free from errors and
omissions due to repeated transcription, and that almost contemporaneously
there were maps of closely analogous type, such as the T'u-shu-pien
map mentioned below, there is little doubt that maps of this kind had already
been produced before by somebody. Possibly one such prototype of Jên-ch'ao's
map, introduced into Japan and repeatedly copied, constituted the greatly
transfigured Syûgaisyô map. The forerunner of these maps
can therefore be traced back far beyond the end of the Ming Dynasty. Perhaps
Jên-ch'ao, too, drew his map on the basis of a map of this type, simultaneously
taking the Fo-tsou-t'ong-ki and other new maps for reference. In
this map the Han-hai [Large Sea] is represented as a desert and the
River Huang rises in Lake Oden-tala. This shows that Jên-ch'ao consulted
some new maps of the Ming period.
At the beginning of the 17th century there appeared another map of Jambu-dvipa.
This is the Ssu-hai-hua-i-tsung-t'u [Map of the Civilized World and
its Outlying Barbarous Regions within the Four Seas] contained in the T'u-shu-pien,
a Chinese encyclopedia compiled by Chang-huang and published in 1613. With
the exception of many quaint islands lying scattered in the surrounding
seas, this map has much in common with Jên-ch'ao's, the central continent
consisting of India, with the place-names from the Si-yü-ki,
and of China under the Ming Dynasty. There is no denying the close relationship
of the two. In the text of the T'u-shu-pien is found a quotation
from the prefatory note written by an unknown priest who drew this map.
According to it, the map was newly compiled on the basis three maps in the
Fo-tsu-t'ung-ki, as well as many other materials. This statement,
however, is unbelievable, since the map is full of errors. It is more probable
that, utilizing diverse information it was modelled mainly on the afore-mentioned
prototype of Jên-ch'ao's map.
The map, however, has a distinctive feature of its own, namely, the outline
of the continent in the center and a number of islands Iying scattered around
it. The continent as a whole is wide in the north and pointed in the south,
and still shows the traditional shape of Jambu-dvipa. But instead
of the geometrical figure, its coastline is drawn more realistically and
is indented. What attracts particular attention is that Fu-lin [the
Byzantine Empire], west of the continent, is represented as a peninsula
symmetrical with Korea in the east. Perhaps this indicates that people were
no longer content with geographical representations in an unrealistic form,
as the pilgrimage map of Holy India had been transformed into the map of
the world, in which the intellectual interest requires a more objective
and concrete image. And this growth of geographical consciousness led to
a fresh demand for maps to comprise the whole of the known world. Among
the islands shown on this map were Japan, Ryuku, P'u-kan [Pagan in
Burma], Ta-ts'in [the Roman Empire], Yeh-mo-t'i [Java], and
Ho-ing [Kalinga in Java], the last two recorded by Fa-hsien and I-tsing
in their accounts of travel to India. But apart from them, most of the names
given are fabulous and seem to have been taken from mystical, prophetic
works such as the Hung-fan-wu-hsing-ch'uan written by Liu-hsiang
in the period of the Han Dynasty. It may be because the Buddhist Holy Writings
referred to some islands belonging to Jambu-dvipa that the compiler
of this map arranged islands around the central continent so as to represent
the various data obtained from sources other than the Si-yü-ki
or the Fo-tsou-t'ong-ki.
Professor Nakamura treats this map in detail in his paper and states that
the T'u-chu-pien (Slide #262K) map is a hybrid between the Korean
mappamundi of Tchien-ha-tchong-do type and the map of Jambu-dvipa.
He rests this statement on the ground that a map closely resembling the
T'u-shu-pien map is to be found among the maps of the Tchien-ha-tchong-do
type which were widely circulated in Korea. But with regard to their representation
of both the central continent and outlying islands, these two maps have
very little in common and there seems to be no need to seek any particular
relation between them. It is true that among the Korean mappaemundi
may be found one almost exactly like the T'u-shuh-pien map. But this
can be explained on the supposition that the Koreans, happening to find
a map of similar form in this widely circulated encyclopedia, adopted it
as a substitute for their world map. Any close relationship, beyond this,
can hardly be imagined between the Chinese Buddhist World Map and the Korean
Tchien-ha-tchong-do. (Slides #262I/J)
But neither Jên-ch'ao's map nor thisT'u-shu-pien map could
not go beyond Asia in their representation. Even so, it cannot be denied
that a sense of a wide world is expressed in it. Certainly the map is full
of inaccurate and even false information, but it gave the Chinese people
a fresh conception of the world in contrast to their traditional view of
their own country as the center of the world both culturally and geographically.
Chang-huang, the compiler of the T'u-shu-pien, who was rather critical
of Buddhist teachings, dared to insert this map in his book saying that
"although this map is not altogether believable, it shows that this
earth of ours extends infinitely". But so long as it remains a Buddhist
map, dogmatism stands in the way of reality. In the T'u-shu-pien map
(Slide #262K) the eastern coastline of the continent is represented with
approximate accuracy, yet Fu-lin is drawn on the western side, is
a fictitious peninsula similar to Korea on the east, so as to keep the symmetrical
figure of the continent of Jambu-dvipa. As for the contents of the
map, more respect was paid to the old classical authority than to the new
geographical findings, so that many quaint, legendary place-names were mentioned
to advertise the bigoted belief that the world of Buddhist teaching included
even the farthest corners. The problem now was to introduce heterogeneous
information without conflict with the Buddhist teachings and to give the
dogma some apparent plausibility. So it was of course quite inconceivable
that the compiler of this map should utilize the newly acquired information
for the purpose of altering the dogmatic notion of the world. Therein lies
the character and limitation of the Buddhist maps. The T'u-shu-pien
map (Slide #262K)was rough and small, but as it appeared in a popular encyclopedia,
it attracted wide attention, which in time came to affect even the maps
produced in Japan.
Among the maps made by Japanese we find none which regard China as the center
of the world. Only two world maps representing Chinese thought were published
in Japan, the Daimin Kyuhen Bankoku Jinseki Rotei Zenzu [Complete
Map of the Nine Large Regions of the Greater Ming, i.e., China, and all
Countries of the World, with data on distances], a world map, date unknown;
and the Choi Ichiran (a world map) published in 1835, and these are
reprints of the Tenka Kyuhen Bankoku Jinseki Rotei Zenzu (a world
map) published in China, 1663. There are not many of these Chinese world
maps in Japan, but the remaining Daimin Kyuhen Bankoku Jinseki Rotei
Zenzu, (Slide #263.5)of various sizes, are common. In this map illustrated
on the following page, China is situated predominantly in the center, and
the other countries are arranged round it, North and South America being
drawn as separate small islands, and Europe and Africa being left uncompleted;
this expresses contemporary Chinese ideas on world geography. Countries
like Korea, Japan and Ryuku are only described in the text and are not represented
on the map. The fact that such dogmatic world maps were widely favored in
old Japan shows that some Japanese in the Age of National Isolation believed
China to be the center of the world and all the other countries to be in
subordination to her. The shhet under discussion is a reprint by the bookdealer
Yahaku Umemura in Kyoto, which is tentatively dated 1700 by Professor Kurita.
*Ayusawa, S., "The types of world map made in Japan's Age of National
Isolation", Imago Mundi #10, pp. 123-128, Figures 2 and 3.
*Bagrow, L., History of Cartography, pp. 197-205.
*Cortazzi, H., Isles of Gold, Antique Maps of Japan, pp. 6-38, Plates 48/49
*Hulbert, H.B., "An Ancient Map of the World", American Geographic
Society Bulletin, pp. 600-605.
*Muroga, N. and Unno, K., "The Buddhist world map in Japan and its
contact with European maps"
*Nakamura, H., "Old Chinese World Maps Preserved by the Koreans",
Imago Mundi #4, pp. 3-22.
*Nakamura, H., East Asia in Old Maps, p.8, Figure 1.
*Needham, J., Science and Civilization in China, vol. 3, pp. 566-568, Figure
*Raisz, E., General Cartography