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Chinese Literature
Guangyutu 廣輿圖

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Guangyutu 廣輿圖 is China's earliest printed provincial atlas. It consists of 2 juan "scrolls" and was produced on the base of the Song period 宋 (960-1279) map Yuditu 輿地圖 that had been created by Zhu Siben 朱思本. The Guangyutu was produced by Luo Hongxian 羅洪先 around 1541 with the help of a grid pattern indicating absolute distances. It includes a general map, 16 maps of provinces, 11 maps of border regions, five maps of selected areas in the west, 3 maps of the Yellow River, 3 maps on the Grand Canal, 2 maps on sea transport, as well as maps of the foreign countries Korea, the Gobi desert, Annam, the Western Territories, and various islands in the East China and South China seas. In a revised edition published by Hu Song 胡松 Japan and the Liuqiu/Ryūkyū Islands were added. The maps are designed according to a fix scale that differs from map to map. The proportions of the geographical regions shown in the particular maps are therefore very reliable. Mountain ranges are indicated by shading, rivers are drawn as parallel lines, and lakes are designed with a wave pattern. Cities and spots are indicated by different symbols, either circles, squares of rhombs, depending on the administrative hierarchy. There are in total 24 different symbols used in the atlas. Maps are accompanied by legends.
The Guangyutu is a well-structured complete atlas of Ming period 明 (1368-1644) China and its surroundings.

Source: Zheng Xihuang 鄭錫煌 (1992), "Guangyutu 廣輿圖", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Dilixue 地理學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), p. 177.

August 15, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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