Book ID: CBB917388296

The Selden Map of China: A New Understanding of the Ming Dynasty (2019)


Nie, Hongping Annie (Author)

Bodleian Library

Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 80
Language: English

Dating from the seventeenth century at the height of the Ming Dynasty, the Selden Map of China reveals a country very different from popular conceptions of the time, looking not inward to the Asian landmass but outward to the sea. Discovered in the stacks of the Bodleian Library, this beautifully decorative map of China is, in fact, a seafaring chart showing Ming Dynasty trade routes. It is the earliest surviving example of Chinese merchant cartography and is evidence that Ming China was outward-looking, capitalistic, and vibrant. Exploring the commercial aims of the Ming Dynasty, the port city of Quanzhou and its connections with the voyages of the early traveler Zheng He, this book describes the historical background of the era in which the map was used. It also includes an analysis of the skills and techniques involved in Chinese map-making and the significance of the compass bearings, scale, and ratios found on the map, all of which combine to represent a breakthrough in cartographic techniques. The enthralling story revealed by this extraordinary artifact sheds light on the long history of China’s relationship with the sea and with the wider world.

Reviewed By

Review Robert Batchelor (2021) Review of "The Selden Map of China: A New Understanding of the Ming Dynasty". Imago Mundi: A Review of Early Cartography (pp. 106-106). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Nicolai, Roel
Lindgren, Uta
Chang, Che-chia
Sandman, Alison
Golvers, Noël
Moore, John N.
Imago Mundi: A Review of Early Cartography
The Catholic Historical Review
Renaissance Quarterly
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Bloomsbury Press
Library of Congress
Academia Sinica Digital Center
New York University Press
Maps; atlases
Nautical charts
Science and society
Travel; exploration
Martini, Martino
Adair, John
Tatton, Gabriel
Gerritsz, Hessel
Dee, John
Hakluyt, Richard
Mediterranean region
North America
United States
17th century
16th century
Ming dynasty (China, 1368-1644)
18th century
13th century
Jesuits (Society of Jesus)
Dutch East India Company
British East India Company

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