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ANONYMOUS - Ch'onhado (Map of the world beneath the heavens)

ANONYMOUS - Ch'onhado (Map of the world beneath the heavens)
Ch'onhado (Map of the world beneath the heavens) - ANONYMOUS
Click image to zoom old map image



Title : Ch'onhado (Map of the world beneath the heavens).
Map maker : ANONYMOUS.
Date : Korea, ca 1820.
Size : 10.2 x 12.3 inches. / 26.0 x 31.3 cm.
Colouring : Uncoloured.

Description :The Ch'onhado, literally "Map of the world beneath the heavens"), or sometimes Cheonha jeondo, literally "Complete map of the world beneath the heavens), is a peculiar type of circular world map developed in Korea during the 17th century. It is based on the Korean term for map, chido, translated roughly as "land picture".

This printed Ch'onhado, or world map, is the first map in an Korean atlas and was perhaps copied from a Chinese source. The place names are derived from mythical places noted in Chinese classics and from known lands around China, which occupies the center of the map.

The map has been pasted in a mount and has an early 20 century Asian frame. Additional shipping costs if shipped with frame.

The Ch'onhado maps were made in response to the encounter with the geographical knowledge of the West, but based in content on traditional Asian sources and Asian in style. The structure of the maps consists of an internal continent with historical place names, an internal sea with place names connected to descriptions of Taoist immortality, an external continent, and an external sea.

The structure of the map is simple. A main continent, containing China, Korea, and a number of historically known countries, occupies the center of the circular map, surrounded by an enclosing sea ring, which is itself surrounded by an outer land ring. Surprisingly, the maps did not reflect the highest levels of geographic knowledge available to Koreans, but this is not likely to be intentional. Some of this was due to the nautical distance between Korea and other Southeast Asian locales affected the mapmakers perceptions of Asia. Similarly, European mapmakers of the day often treated Korea as an island.

Some scholars have attributed the development of Korean circular world maps to Western influence, such as the maps of Matteo Ricci (Kunyu Wanguo Quantu) or the maps of Giulio Aleni (Wanguo Quantu). In this case, the central landmass can be viewed as a combination of Asia, Africa, and Europe, and the external "ring" continent as North America and South America.

The central continent represents Asia alone, India being at the southwest corner. The only rivers definitely given are the Yellow River, the Yang-tse, and the Mekong, all of which are represented fairly well. The general course of these rivers is only approximated here. It is interesting to note that China proper is represented as lying between the Yellow River and the Yang-tse, which, as history proves, was the real birthplace of the Chinese people.
Korea and the Yellow Sea are also well represented, but when we go farther afield than this we find confusion. Annam is not far out of the way; but the land to the west of it, which must represent Siam [Thailand] and Burma, is highly fanciful. The water to the east of India must be the Bay of Bengal, and the two forks at the head of it may represent the Irrawaddy and Salween Rivers. If this is so, the Kwen-lun Mountains are not far enough out of their proper place to call for severe criticism.

The title is to the right corner. Such maps were produced in Korea only, and have not been found in China or Japan. The Cheonhado remained popular in Korea until the late 19th century.

Condition : Wood block printed map pasted on board and silk mount. On (8mm diameter). Some slight rubbing of image and paper. Framed - with glass removed.


ID: 34874

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