Coastal Map of China


This coastal map of China is one of several such maps in the Library of Congress. The map is similar, in content and format, to the six maps in Chen Luntong’s Hai quo wen jian lu (Eyewitness accounts of the coastal regions), made in 1730. The wording of several place-names and other details suggest that this map dates from 1787–1820. An introductory text states that it was compiled in the interest of coastal defense. The scroll map contains hundreds of place-names and is intended to be read from right to left. Interspersed at irregular intervals are notes on sea routes and sailing directions. Distances are given in li, a measure that has changed length over time. The quality of the calligraphy and the cartography suggest that the map was made for the emperor. Shown here is the mouth of the Zhu Jiang (Pearl River) and the Macau area. The text reads: “The coastal region of Xing Hui and Hu Men in Canton Province consists of an important strategic point, which should be given sufficient defense attention. This region is heavily infested with inner river bandits and sea pirates who can sail in and out freely. It also shares a border with Macau, where foreign boats and ships visit frequently. Those foreign vessels are always to be guarded against.” The oldest permanent European settlement in Asia, Macau was established in 1557 by the Portuguese, who at that time dominated European trade with Asia.

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Physical Description

1 manuscript map : color ; on scroll 29 x 543 centimeters


  • Also known as: Wan li hai fang tu
  • Oriented with north to the right.
  • Insets: Huan hai quan tu -- Qi sheng yan hai quan tu -- Qiongzhou tu -- Penghu tu -- Taiwan tu -- Taiwan hou shan tu.

Last updated: September 25, 2015