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Map Showing Disputed Island
琉球三省并三十六嶋之圖. [Ryūkyū Sanshō narabi Sanjūroku-tō no zu].
[Map of Thirty-Six Islands and Three Provinces of Ryūkyū].
Colour watercolour and ink manuscript map on washi. This manuscript was drawn on two separate sheets of paper which have now been professionally laid down on washi. A few holes and some worming in the central area of the map not affecting text, lightly creased in places, with more visible creases along folds. 55 x 76cm. An attractive copy of a scarce map depicting one of the disputed islands of the East China Sea. No date. [Late Edo]
This Japanese map, frequently cited by scholars for its geographical claims, plays a significant role in the controversy surrounding the disputed island of Diaoyu as it indicates in three different ways China's claim to the island. Three primary colours indicate territories and their ownership: green for the Ryukyu chain, yellow for Taiwan, and pink for China. Of particular importance is the use of the name "Dioyutai" (釣魚臺), also known today as the Senkaku Islands (尖閣諸島) or Diaoyu Islands (钓鱼岛). Thirdly the island of Diaoyu shown on this Japanese map on the sea-route to Qing China, is not counted as one of the Ryukyu's thirty-six islands - it is instead coloured pink - which is the same colour used to indicate the Chinese sovereignity on the Chinese mainland.
The earliest records of the Diaoyu islands date back to 15th century Ming texts. Historically the islands were uninhabited, and instead used as nautical markers by sailors. Hayashi Shihei 林子平 in his Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu (三国通覧図説, An Illustrated Description of Three Countries) is one of the first Japanese texts to mention the islands. In it, he refers to the islands by their Chinese name, following contemporary Edo convention. It was not until the victory of the Japanese in the first Sino-Japanese war that the islands were annexed by Meiji Japan. The treaty of Shimonoseki signed at the end of the war gave the sovereignty of Taiwan, the Liaodong Peninsula, and the Penghu islands to Japan, however the Diaoyu Islands were not mentioned.
This map is a manuscript copy of one of the five maps which accompanied Hayashi Shihei's controversial work Sangoku Tsūran Zusetsu (三国通覧図説, An Illustrated Description of Three Countries). Published in 1785 this book describes the geography and customs of three countries - Kankoku (Korea), Yezo or Ezo (present day Hokkaido), and Ryükyü (present day Okinawa). As Hayashi Shihei's book was banned shortly after publication and the original wood-blocks destroyed, manuscript copies were made and passed secretly among the educated Japanese public who were interested in, but not privy to, the "illegal" information contained on these maps.
Controversy surrounds this map to this day due to the continuing dispute over the sovereignity of the Diaoyu Islands. The strong feelings felt about who should have sovereignity over these islands by China, Japan and Taiwan were further exacerbated in 1968 by the discovery of potential underwater oil reserves in the waters that surround them. The Diaoyu Islands are known in China as the 钓鱼岛及其附属岛屿 or 钓鱼岛 the Diaoyutai Islands, 釣魚台列嶼 in Taiwan, the Senkaku Islands 尖閣諸島 in Japanese and also as the Pinnacle Islands. Taiwan and the coast of mainland China (Guangdong Province 廣東省, Fujiang Province 福建省, Zhejiang Province 浙江省, Nanjing Province 南京省, Shandong Province 山東省) are also named on the map.
AU$10,000 (Appoximately US$7800.00)
[Stock number 159423]