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Huangyu quantu 皇輿全圖


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Huangyu quantu 皇輿全圖 "Complete atlas of the empire" is the first large atlas of the Qing empire 清 (1644-1911). Between 1708 and 1709 a map of whole China was produced on the basis of new technologies in surveying brought to China by Jesuit missionaries like Matteo Ricci (Chinese Name Li Madou 利瑪竇, 1552-1610). The Qing emperors, like their predecessors of the Ming dynasty 明 (1368-1644), were aware of the important knowledge the Jesuit court astronomers had for the dynasty. Disciples of Adam Schall von Bell (Tang Ruowang 湯若望, 1592-1666) and Ferdinand Verbiest (Nan Huairen 南懷仁, 1623-1688) traveled through China and surveyed the whole empire. The final redaction of the map was done by the French Jesuit Joachim Bouvet (Bai Jin 白晉, 1656-1730). There is one map for the whole empire and 32 maps in detail, mostly covering provinces. The scale is 1:1,400,000. The inscriptions are very detailed and show virtually each town. The Huangyu quanlan tu 皇輿全覽圖, as the atlas was also called, was the most modern collection of maps not only in China but world-wide.
The copper plates for the printing were manufactured in Paris, and the map therefore could spread over whole Europe. In China herself, the map was reserved for the highest members of the central government. The Chinese specimen was only given access to the public from 1921 on when it was registered among the objects of the imperial palace in Mukden (Shenyang 瀋陽, Liaoning). It was reprinted and given the title Qing neifu yitong yudi mitu 清內府一統輿地秘圖 "The secret map of the whole empire from the imperial secretariat of the Qing".


Source: Chen Kewei 陳可畏 (1992), "Huangyu quantu 皇輿全圖", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 403.

September 14, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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