Map of Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands

This map is a panoramic view of the island of Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands, with relief shown pictorially as if viewed from east to west so that the mountain peaks shown converge from opposite directions along the north–south axial line. The map is oriented with north to the right. The coastline of Taiwan is remarkably accurate. The map shows two prefect cities, Taiwan and Taipei, and 12 county seats with text describing distances between important settlements, the general geography of the islands, and proposed measures for effective defense. The map was designed and drawn by Li Liankun, a prefect of Fujian Province, as a memorandum for administrative referral to the governor of the province. Taipei, as a prefecture city, and four counties that were established in the first year of the rule of Emperor Guangxu (1875) appear, but Pulishe subprefecture does not appear, suggesting that the map probably was drawn after the eighth year of Guangxu’s rule (1882). The map was purchased by Arthur William Hummel (1884–1975), an American missionary to China and sinologist, who from 1928 to 1954 was the first head of the Oriental Division (predecessor to the Asian Division) at the Library of Congress.

Annotations to Maps

The original inscription of this work reads: “Compiled by Li Rihua of Jiahe; supplemented by Lu Zhongmin of Qianjiang; and edited by Qian Weiqi of Gulin.” Si ku quan shu zong mu (The general catalog for the complete collection of the four treasuries) records three of Li Rihua’s works, but not this title, which leads to the conclusion that Li may not have been its author. However, the prefaces of several other reference works claim that Li Rihua was the author of this work and that it was edited and supplemented by Lu Zhongmin and Qian Weiqi. One such preface was written by Li Zhaoheng, son of Li Rihua. According to a biography of Li Rihua in Ming shi (Ming history), during the Wanli (1573-1620) and Tianqi (1621-1627) periods, Li Rihua’s name rivaled those of Wang Weijian and Dong Qichang, two men of encyclopedic knowledge. As the literary men of the Ming dynasty were inclined to be vain, Li’s son may have agreed to attribute this work to his father to bolster the reputations of Lu Zhongmin and Qian Weiqi, who may have been its real authors. The book’s contents are similar to those in Pan Guangzu’s Yu tu bei kao (Reference notes to maps) and Wu Xueyan’s Di tu zong yao (Summaries to maps), the former very detailed, and the latter containing a multitude of material but written in simple language. This work, however, possibly using Yu tu bei kao as a blueprint, provides little information in a very long text.

A Complete Study of the Chinese Zither

This book includes both research on Chinese music and detailed and complete marginalia. Although the book has been damaged, it remains valuable. The prefatory note on the use of the book records its contents, including detailed research into the origins of notes and pitches; complete standards for the construction of a floor zither (qin); a compilation of the theories of musicologists; a compilation of digests of fingering techniques; a strict comparison of tunes that have been handed down or recovered, with detailed collation of measures and lines; edited essays of specialists; and documentation of sources.

Nanking Illustrated

This book was compiled by Zhu Zhifan of the Ming dynasty. Down through the ages, the famous sites of Jinling (Nanjing) have been called “Eight Views” or “Sixteen Views.” Zhifan broadened this list to make 40 scenes, which he had Lu Shoubai paint (the 40th scene has a colophon by Lu Shoubai). Zhifan assembled the scenes with poems and accounts of changes that the sites had undergone, written in his own hand, and printed the entire compilation. At the end are poems by Du Shiquan that harmonize with the poems on the paintings; these poems are also in Zhifan's hand. There are two supplements: Jinling gujin tu kao (Inquiries into illustrations of Jinling in ancient and modern times), by Chen Yi, and Jinling yayou bian (Elegant excursions in Jinling), with poetic colophons by Yu Menglin and poems by Jiao Hong and Zhu Zhifan. These are also in the hand of Zhifan and carved at his behest. Zhifan retired to a secluded life in Jinling and devoted himself to enjoying the mountains, rivers, literary gatherings, and parties, and to exchanging poems with Jiao Hong, Gu Qiyuan, and others.

A Physician Wearing a Seventeenth Century Plague Preventive Costume

This watercolor painting depicts the costume worn by physicians attending plague patients in the 17th century. The costume was described by Jean Jacques Manget (1652-1742) in his Traité de la peste (Treatise on the plague), published in Geneva in 1721. The costume’s gown was made of morocco leather, underneath which was worn a skirt, breeches, and boots, all of leather and fitting into one another. The long beak-like nose piece was fitted with aromatic substances and the eyeholes were covered with glass. The plague is an infectious disease, caused by bacteria, which ravaged large parts of Europe in the 14th and the 17th centuries.