General Atlas of Xinjiang


This work is a hand-painted atlas of Xinjiang. The atlas is small, with frames of different sizes. There are no prefaces or postscripts, and the identity of the map maker is unknown. The atlas is executed in the traditional landscape-painting style and does not provide degrees of longitude and latitude, nor scales. Towns, rivers, lakes, and mountains are all depicted in their approximate locations. Each map covers one double-page spread. The four directions from the east to the north are marked, but the boundary lines of cities and towns are not drawn. At the front is an overview map of Xinjiang, which is followed by a map of Anxi Zhou, an area bordering present-day southern Gansu, southeastern Qinghai, and northwestern Sichuan. Anxi Zhou is the western half of the historical Hexi Corridor route, which crosses Xingxing Xia (The Gorge of the Stars) to enter Xinjiang. The third map depicts Hami, and is followed by maps of Balikun, Qitai, Dihua, Yili, Pizhan and Turfan, Harsar, Kuche, Salim and Baicheng, Aksuo, Yongning, Ye’erqiang, Hetian, and Kashgar. In all there are 16 maps in the atlas. There are no textual explanations, except for a note on the introductory map describing the route from Suzhou to Hami and listing 27 post stages on the route and their distances, and a note at the head of the Anxi map describing 12 post stages and the distances between them. The map of Yili clearly depicts the borders with present-day Kazakhstan, reaching far north of Lake Zaysan and Lake Balkhash. The entire area of Yili River is shown as located within the territory of China, which indicates that the atlas was probably printed during the Qianlong and Jiaqing reigns of the Qing dynasty (1736–1820).

Last updated: January 3, 2018