Complete Atlas of Taiwan


The book label on the cover of this work reads: Taiwan yu tu bing shuo (Atlas of Taiwan with explanations). The title page title reads: Quan Tai yu tu (Complete atlas of Taiwan). The script on the upper right reads: “Printed in the fifth month of the sixth year (1880) of the Guangxu reign.” The script on the lower left reads: “The printing blocks are in the custody of the Taiwan Provincial Administration, Fujian.” The central column of each page bears the title and the subtitle, with leaf number in the V-shaped single “fish tail” in the lower portion. The script on the verso reads: “Engraving began in the autumn of the fifth year (1879) of Guangxu reign.” The copy has 54 leaves, including the text and the maps. The extent of the atlas is not large, but the contents are rich. They detail the coastlines, rivers and streams, roads, government offices, military installations, streets, villages, tribal sites, and ordinary geographical names of Taiwan, and thus are a good source for the study of Taiwan’s history and geography. At the front is the 1879 postscript of Zhou Maoqi (1836−96) of Jixi, the designated prefect of Taiwan Prefecture, Fujian Province, followed by the preface by Xia Xianlun (died 1879), Military Commander of the Military Defense Circuit and the Provincial Surveillance Commission. In his preface, Xia provides some details relating to the compilation of this atlas. Xia was appointed the administrator of Taiwan Dao in 1873. A script in smaller characters states that the printing was supervised by Yu Chong, an official rank nine, lower class, and a member of the mapping team. The atlas contains a total of 12 maps. The first map, entitled “Map of Qianshan and Houshan,” is the only one that does not have a textual explanation. The other maps depict the counties of Taiwan, Fengshan, Jiayi, Zhanghua, Xinzhu, Danshui, Yilan, Hengchun, Penghu Ting, Puli She, and Houshan. Each map has a heading. The drawing is exquisite. Even though they are executed in the traditional Chinese painting style, they provide compass directions and latitude and longitude lines. Each square represents ten square li (one li = 500 meters). At the end of each map are brief notes and route distances. The explanations for the maps of Puli She and Houshan are particularly detailed. At the time, Taiwan was not yet a province, only a prefecture under Fujian. Its administrative divisions were very different from those of the present day. Yet the atlas is simple and clear and easy to understand. It is one of the most representative and most valuable atlases of Taiwan made during the Qing dynasty, especially the Houshan map, which is one of the most important maps of eastern Taiwan. The complete work is shown here.

Author of Introduction, etc.


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Treasury of Taiwan Provincial Administration, Taiwan


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Physical Description

54 leaves, 2 volumes

Last updated: October 29, 2015