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Kun-yu ch'uan-t'u

Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688)

Published by China, probably Canton, 1856
Condition: Very Good No Binding
From Arader Galleries San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)

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Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688) Kun-yü ch’üan-t’u Twelve-sheet map, with vertical sections joined to form six larger sheets Woodcut Overall size: 6 feet 1 1/4 inches high x 11 feet 6 inches wide; Each sheet 6 feet 1 1/4 inches high x 2 feet wide China, probably Canton, ca. 1856 Literature: Exhib. Cat. Chinese and Japanese Maps (British Library, 1974) C11; Hartmut Walravens, “Father Verbiest’s Chinese World Map (1674),” Imago Mundi 43: 31-47 * Please contact Arader Galleries @ for photographs of the full set of 6 panels In 1647 Ferdinand Verbiest produced one of the largest double-hemisphere maps of the world to date. It was made for the second Qing Emperor of China, K’ang-hsi (1662-1722) and was part of a larger geographical work called K’un-yü t’u-shuo [Illustrated Discussion of the Geography of the World]. Approximately eight copies survive of the original map and this particular example is thought to be one of only two 1856 reprints. Another version was printed in Seoul in 1860, by order of the King of Korea, and only one example of this exists. Verbiest’s unique map was primarily made for Chinese use and designed to open China’s eyes to the rest of the world. It incorporates Chinese text with European cartographic knowledge of the globe at that time. In keeping with Chinese tastes and their belief that Peking was the cultural and political center of the world, China is placed at the center of the map with the rest of the world flanking it. The map is drawn using Mercator’s projection and each hemisphere is surrounded by two circles: the inner one giving the latitudes; the outer one giving the duration of the longest days for 18 different zones, from the equator to the pole. Descriptive cartouches explain geographic details and peculiarities of countries and oceans, as well as describing natural phenomena such as eclipses and earthquakes. Columbus’ discovery of America is also discussed. In total 23 different animals, believed to be unknown or little-known in China, decorate the margins. Among these can be seen the bird of paradise, the unicorn, the rhinoceros, the chameleon, the tarantula and the giraffe. The illustrations were derived from Konrad Gessner’s Historia animalium (1551) and this part of the map became most influential - the illustrations and their descriptions were copied into the imperial encyclopedia T’u-shu chi-ch’eng of 1723 and the transliterated names included in Chinese and Manchu dictionaries. Bookseller Inventory # sf002772432fra

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Kun-yu ch'uan-t'u

Publisher: China, probably Canton

Publication Date: 1856

Binding: No Binding

Book Condition:Very Good

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