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Maps of Japan

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Blaeu Japan
Martini/Joan Blaeu. "Iaponia Regnum." Amsterdam, 1655+. 16 1/2 x 22 1/4. Engraving. Touches of hand color. Excellent condition. Walter, 38. Denver.

Martino Martini assembled information about Japan while he was in China. This map exhibits a combination of derivation from both the Jesuit Blancus/Moriera type and the Dudley/Jannson. Joan Blaeu would have been familiar with both these sources and also probably added the many Dutch names found here through his work with the Dutch East Indies Company. Prior to publishing his Atlas Major, Blaeu published a separate atlas of the orient entitled Atlas Sinensis in 1655. Most of the maps contained beautiful ornamentation, but this one is decidedly plain and straight forward. Following information from Robert Dudley, this is one of the earliest maps to show Korea as a peninsula rather than an island. The confused depiction of "Eso" that was found in other contemporary maps is not broached here because so little of the land mass is shown. $3,200

Japan and Korea
John Thomson. "Corea and Japan." From A New General Atlas. Edinburgh: J. Thomson, 1821. Engraving. 19 1/2 x 24 1/2. Full original hand color. Very good condition.

A beautifully crafted map of Japan and Korea from an interesting period in the history of the countrie. The map shows population centers, waterways and topography using the hatchuring method to illustrate elevations. Interior information is well represented, with precise engraving. The delicate coloring highlights the information given, making the map both easier to read and pleasing to look at. Altogether, a fine example of early 19th-century British cartography. $525

"Empire of Japan." London: SDUK & Baldwin & Gradock, 1835. 15 1/2 x 12 3/4. Engraved by J. & C. Walker. Original hand color. Two light, brown stains in map area. Otherwise, very good condition.

A detailed and precisely drawn map of Japan by the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (SDUK). This wonderful English enterprise was devoted to the spreading of up-to-date information and the enhancing of understanding. The Society's maps are known for their accuracy and copious detail. A detail of Nagasaki Harbor is included in the upper left of the page. Of particular interest is the added listing of both the homes of the Koubo (Secular Emperor ), at Yedo, and the Dairi (Spiritual Emperor ), at Meaco. Japan was in the midst of several years of turmoil and political upheaval regarding foreign trade. The Koubo regarded open trade as a economic necessity, whilst a growing anti foreign movement supported an Imperial restoration. After years of shifting powers, the borders were finally opened under the new Imperial realm known as the Meiji Period in 1868. Along with trade, came the abolishment of military rule and feudalism and the formation of a strong, central government. It was this time that the new, official capitol of Yedo was renamed Tokyo. A very fine example of the quality of the SDUK maps and their usefulness in the nineteenth century. $90

"Japan. Nippon, Kiusiu, Sikok, Yesso and the Japanese Kuriles." New York: J.H. Colton & Co., 1855. 12 1/2 x 15 1/2. Lithograph. Original outline color. A few short tears (repaired) in bottom & right margins, not affecting image; light stains in top and bottom margins. Else very good condition.

In the mid-nineteenth century, the center of map publishing in America moved from Philadelphia to New York. The J.H. Colton publishing firm played a large role in this shift. This map of Japan with its fine detail, is a strong example of their successful work. The map shows from the Sisters south of Kiusiu to the southern tip of Yesso. Two insets appear in opposite corners, one of Yesso and the Kuriles and the other of the Bay of Nagasaki. The pastel hand color make the aesthetic appearance of the map equal the historic interest. $125

"Johnson's Japan. Nippon, Kiusiu, Sikok, Yesso and the Japanese Kuriles." New York: Johnson & Ward, 1864. 12 1/2 x 15 1/2. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition. Denver.

Another, later version of the "Johnson's Japan," by the one of the leading map publishers of the mid-nineteenth century, Johnson & Ward. Typical of their work, the region is shown with much information neatly presented. A different, decorative border is used as well as a stronger palette of color. $125


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