JAPANESE MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE WORLD. Koyano, Yoshiharu. 1756-1812. Bankoku Ichiran Zu. [Visualized Map of the World]. [Japan, Kurashiki, Bittchu Province: c. 1800].

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Lot 294
JAPANESE MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE WORLD.
Koyano, Yoshiharu. 1756-1812.
Bankoku Ichiran Zu. [Visualized Map of the World]. [Japan, Kurashiki, Bittchu Province: c. 1800].

US$ 25,000 - 35,000
£ 19,000 - 26,000
JAPANESE MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE WORLD.
Koyano, Yoshiharu. 1756-1812. Bankoku Ichiran Zu. [Visualized Map of the World]. [Japan, Kurashiki, Bittchu Province: c. 1800].
Manuscript map of the world, ink and mineral colors on c. 48 sheets of Japanese paper, joined. Overall size 172 x 172 cm. The map centered on China and Japan showing an unusual view of the world, Asia clearly and accurately defined, the Americas squeezed in and running down the eastern margin, Africa to the west and Europe to the northwest, with numerous names of countries, provinces and towns, some in blocked squares, also showing Mount Fuji, the Great Wall of China and a gilded star titled "North Pole," the regional zones filled in with color, the seas in blue, the colder lands (Arctic and Ezo or Hokkaido) in white; at lower left a detailed explanation panel describing the continents; the map laid on paper, mounted as a two-panel folding screen, with silk brocade borders, probably Kyoto, early 20th century, and set in a 20th-century wooden frame, the verso of the screen papered with Japanese account sheets from the mid-1920s; with some abrasion and rubbing of the painted surface, and some darkening of the colors.

A RARE AND UNRECORDED JAPANESE MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE WORLD, constructed around 1800 at a time when knowledge of the world outside Japan was constrained by the authorities.

Koyano Yoshiharu, a Confucian from Kurashiki with a serious interest in world geography, established a private school called Kozanro in the late eighteenth century; this map of the world appears to be a larger manuscript version of the much smaller woodblock-printed world map that Koyano issued in Osaka in the sixth month of 1809. In his printed brochure to the latter, Koyano noted that since his pupils were having difficulty understanding double hemispherical world maps he had constructed his own, drawing on a wide variety of sources. These range from European versions introduced to China by the Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) to an outline of India taken from a Buddhist map by the Japanese scholar-priest Hotan (1710), while for China and Japan Koyano also borrowed from Nagakubo Sekisui (1717-1801), a Japanese cartographer influenced by Ricci. Such sources allowed Koyano to create a tolerably faithful image of Asia, but his depiction of the Americas, Africa and Europe is drawn with less accuracy. For the Americas, he records California as an island and adds about ten place names—in Chinese characters alongside a Japanese phonetic version—to North America, while in Asia the Kamchatka peninsula is depicted almost north of Japan, there is a clear Bering Strait, and Russia has a large series of named places; in Europe, Scotland, England and Ireland are also named. Curiously the Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia is shown as a frigid zone. The lettering on the explanation varies from the 1809 woodblock-printed version in the number of columns and also records an extra continent (name erased), probably the Arctic regions. Both the printed version and this lot state that they were not intended for public sale (as this might have provoked an intervention by the authorities) and were only prepared for use by Koyano's disciples in their study of geography. We know that Koyano had them copy the map out so that they would learn about the world; such a copy, by a student named Ueki Naoki, is in the Nanba collection in Kobe City Museum.

The 1809 woodblock map and its companion guide printed the following year have been widely studied in Japanese cartographic circles as they present a uniquely Japanese view of the world at that time, combining Confucian, Buddhist and Western concepts. Another large manuscript world map, in the University of British Columbia, entitled Bankoku no zue [Map of All the Nations], 109 x 161 cm, is also ascribed to the hand of Koyano; in that map the Americas are drawn as a series of small islands running north to south.

Cf.Nanba, Muroga and Unno Old Maps in Japan (Osaka: 1973), plate 15 (the smaller woodblock-printed world map).
Contacts
JAPANESE MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE WORLD. Koyano, Yoshiharu. 1756-1812. Bankoku Ichiran Zu. [Visualized Map of the World]. [Japan, Kurashiki, Bittchu Province: c. 1800].
JAPANESE MANUSCRIPT MAP OF THE WORLD. Koyano, Yoshiharu. 1756-1812. Bankoku Ichiran Zu. [Visualized Map of the World]. [Japan, Kurashiki, Bittchu Province: c. 1800].
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