October 16, 2012

View of Entire Suruga Region

This map of Suruga Province, located in the area of today’s Shizuoka Prefecture, presents an elevation view of Mount Fuji, with the surrounding area mapped on a horizontal surface with relief shown pictorially. This style does not provide accurate geographical information, but it was typical of the mid-19th century. The mountain is drawn disproportionately large, suggesting the impression it made on the mapmaker and the significance it held for the populace. The map notes the names of towns and roads; temples and shrines; and ancient castles, forts, and battlefields; as well as the names of the peaks on Mount Fuji. Suruga was one of the most frequently mapped provinces in early modern Japan, no doubt due to the popular attraction of the mountain and its significance as a sacred pilgrimage site.

Pictorial Map of Yamashiro Province

The kuni ezu are standardized provincial maps compiled by order of the Tokugawa shogunate in Edo (present-day Tokyo). The first order came in 1606, three years after the shogunate was established, and was followed by orders for revisions in 1636, 1649, 1702, and 1838. The daimyō (territorial nobles who ruled over vast private land holdings and large numbers of vassals) were to survey areas under their administrative control and submit maps to the government along with rice-yield registers. These official maps eventually became widely available to the public, and a large number of copies were published from the 18th century. Hand-drawn maps, such as this manuscript depiction in watercolor and ink, were less available to the general populace than printed copies. This map depicts the Yamashiro Province, in Kyoto Prefecture, where the imperial capital had been located, with north oriented to the left. The yellow area in the center marks the area of the imperial palace and the surrounding main streets. Village names are written in oval labels color coded by district. Roads that lead beyond the province are marked as well.

Pictorial Map of Abe-kawa River Region

This pictorial map depicts the Abe-kawa River region of Japan, located in what is now Shizuoka Prefecture. The steepness and rapid flow of the Abe-kawa has caused numerous floods in the delta region, and open levees have been built since the Edo period (1603–1868) in order to protect the crop fields and villages. Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616), founder of the Edo shogunate, implemented a major flood-control project and ordered an embankment to be built along the Abe-kawa in 1606, determining the current route of the river. This map is a draft manuscript for an official map, and several symbols and village names are crossed out or written over. The map is color coded according to the landscape and notes important graves, ponds with abundant fish, and sporadic measurements of distance and koku (the volume of rice that the region can yield). The castle of Suruga Province is located in the yellow section at the upper right, and the Ōya kuzure (landslide), origin of the river and site of one of the three largest landslides in Japan, is noted in brown markings on the center of the left edge of the map. The map is oriented with north to the upper left.

Map of the City and Bay of Cartagena de las Indias

This hand-colored pen-and-ink manuscript map was drawn by Antonio de Ulloa (1716–95) in 1735, based on an earlier map by Juan de Herrera dating from around 1721. It shows in great detail the bay of Cartagena de Indias and the adjacent coastal area of the present-day city of Cartagena, Colombia. The territory was then part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the Spanish Empire. The map is oriented by a compass rose with north pointing to the left. Longitude is set in relation to the Royal Astronomical Observatory at Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Soundings and fathom lines indicate the depth of the sea bottom for navigation. Also shown are roads and forests. The title, author, and scale of the map are given in the upper right, on a pedestal flanked by figures of Indians. Ulloa was a Spanish naval officer, who in 1735 was appointed a member of the scientific expedition to Peru organized by the French Academy of Sciences. He spent nearly a decade in South America with the expedition. Ulloa was en route back to Spain in 1745 when the ship on which he was traveling was captured by the British. He was taken as a prisoner to England, where he spent a number of years. He gained the respect and friendship of many leading English scientists and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in London. He eventually was allowed to return to Spain and in 1784 published Relación histórica del viaje á la América Meridional, a detailed account of the people, geography, and natural history of South America based on his research on the continent. This map may have been the original of the one that appears in Ulloa’s Relación. The noted Spanish cartographer Tomás López (1730–1802) also used Ulloa’s map for his later chart of the bay and city of Cartagena.

Upper View of the Castillo del Morro Situated at the Mouth of the Bay of Havana

This 18th-century manuscript map shows the plan of Morro Castle, located at the entrance of Havana Bay, Cuba. The fortress was built by the Spaniards, starting in 1585. The Italian military engineer Battista Antonelli (1547–1616) was commissioned to design the fortifications. The structure originally was conceived as a small fort surrounded by a dry moat, but it was expanded and rebuilt on several occasions and became a major fortress of great strategic importance for the island. The map is oriented with north to the left and tilted up at an acute angle. On the right side are the title and an “Explanation” that indicates, through a numeric code, the fort’s bastions, bridges, cisterns, and batteries, with brief descriptions of some of these features. The map is drawn in pen on paper, with scale drawings in black ink and background in gray, pink, green, and orange sepia.

A Hydrographical and Chorographical Chart of the Philippine Islands

This magnificent map of the Philippine archipelago, drawn by the Jesuit Father Pedro Murillo Velarde (1696–1753) and published in Manila in 1734, is the first and most important scientific map of the Philippines. The Philippines were at that time a vital part of the Spanish Empire, and the map shows the maritime routes from Manila to Spain and to New Spain (Mexico and other Spanish territory in the New World), with captions. In the upper margin stands a great cartouche with the title of the map, crowned by the Spanish royal coat of arms flanked each side by an angel with a trumpet, from which an inscription unfurls. The map is not only of great interest from the geographic point of view, but also as an ethnographic document. It is flanked by twelve engravings, six on each side, eight of which depict different ethnic groups living in the archipelago and four of which are cartographic descriptions of particular cities or islands. According to the labels, the engravings on the left show: Sangleyes (Chinese Philippinos) or Chinese;  Kaffirs (a derogatory term for non-Muslims), a Camarin (from the Manila area), and a Lascar (from the Indian subcontinent, a British Raj term); mestizos, a Mardica (of Portuguese extraction), and a Japanese; and two local maps—one of Samboagan (a city on Mindanao), and the other of the port of Cavite. On the right side are: various people in typical dress; three men seated, an Armenian, a Mughal, and a Malabar (from an Indian textile city); an urban scene with various peoples; a rural scene with representations of domestic and wild animals; a map of the island of Guajan (meaning Guam); and a map of Manila.