Nansenbushu bankoku shoka no zu [Visualized Map of All the Countries in Jambudvipa]. SOSHUN, or HOTAN or ZUDA NANIWASHI or ZUDA ROSKASHI.

Nansenbushu bankoku shoka no zu [Visualized Map of All the Countries in Jambudvipa].

Woodcut wall-map (1170 x 1420 mm.) folded into orig. gray wrappers, block-printed title label on upper cover (wrappers rather rubbed & a little wormed). Text in Chinese with Japanese reading marks. Kyoto: Bundaiken Uhei, 1710.

First edition, in a fine dark impression, of the first Japanese printed map to depict the world, including Europe and North and South America, from the Buddhist cosmographical perspective. On this map, the world is seen through Buddhist eyes, based on Buddhist sources, with Mount Sumeru, the central axis of the universe in Buddhist cosmology, in the center. Lake Anavatapta, the source of the four holy rivers of India and the place where Queen Maya first envisioned her son the Buddha, is also centrally located, just south of the snowy Himalayan range. Southern China, the Himalayan region, India (Jambudvipa), and Japan occupy most of the map’s surface. Korea is also shown. But the map also includes Europe (as a group of islands and including Iceland, England, Holland, Scandinavia, Poland, Hungary, and Turkey). South America is placed in the lower right, as an island just south of Japan. A small portion of what one assumes to be Alaska is connected to Asia by an Aleutian land bridge.

The map depicts the lands Xuanzang (600/02-64), Chinese monk, pilgrim, and patriarch of the Chinese Yagara tradition, travelled through on his famous pilgrimage to India. He spent the years 629-43 there, visiting many of the Buddhist sacred sites, collecting manuscripts of Buddhist materials as yet untranslated into Chinese, and studying Sanskrit texts with various eminent teachers.

Our map was drawn by the scholarly Japanese Buddhist monk Hotan (or Soshun or Zuda Naniwashi; 1654-1738), of the Kegon sect. He founded the Kegonji Temple in Kyoto. The top left corner contains a list of works Hotan used to prepare this map. Our map was quite influential in Japan and became the model on which all future Japanese Buddhist world maps were drawn well into the 19th century.

A fine and dark impression of this important map. There is some worming, which has been, for the most part, carefully repaired on the verso.

❧ Kazutaka Unno, “Cartography in Japan,” in Harley & Woodward, eds., History of Cartography, Vol. II, Book 2, pp. 428-29.

Price: $12,500.00

Item ID: 7695