#368.1 China/Japan/Tibet

Title: China/Japan/ Tibet

Date: 1522/35

Author: L. Fries/M. Waldseemüller

Description: Often calledThe First Printed Map of the Far East”, however, obviously the Chinese had printed maps of this area since at least the 12th century. A very attractive, dark-impressioned example of the first printed Western map to focus on China and Japan. Albeit in rudimentary form, the map shows all of China, Tartary, Japan and much of Southeast Asia, including Cambodia (Bocat) and Tibet. The latter is both shown and named in the very center of the map. Some provincial divisions are indicated for China, and Japan appears as a single, large, north-south-oriented island. The first issue of this engraving with minor titular amendments appeared in the 1522 Strasbourg edition of Ptolemy’s Geography with subsequent editions in 1525, 1535 and 1541. The map draws from information derived from Marco Polo including Tibet, Cianba, Bangal (Bengal), Mangi (Manchu) Tangut and Cathai (Cathay) shown in present-day Manchuria. A  conical-shaped Japan taken from the earlier outlines of Contarini (#308) and Waldseemüller (#310) appears off the coasts of China, a note indicating that its people  are idolatrous and totally independent, not playing  the customary tributes to the Chinese Emperor. There is a woodcut of the Great Khan seated before a thick cluster of tents reminding the reader that while the East may contain riches, it was also the source of the infamous Tartar hordes.

Although the map was based on the 1507 Waldseemüller world map (#310), as a separate work of this region, its first appearance was in the Fries edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia; there is no direct analogue to this map in Waldseemüller’s 1513 edition of the same work.

Reference:  Suarez, T., Southeast Asia, pp. 118-119.

Size: 11 ½ x 18 inches

Last Updated: 12 December 2015


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