Japanese Maps : Oedo ōezu

Japanese Maps

<p style='text-align: justify;'> Map of Edo, in Japanese. The title is reported in a mounted cover label, with the subtitle "Bunkyū kaisei" (Revised in the Bunkyū era, 1861-1864). The colophon mentions that the map was first published in Tenpō 14 (1843), but that this copy was printed from blocks revised in Bunkyū 1 (1861). It also reports the name of the cartographer, Takai Ranzan (1762-1868), and the name of the publishers, Izumoji Manjirō and Okadaya Kashichi. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The map is oriented with north to the right. It is a colour woodblock print, with relief shown pictorially, a single sheet folded into original covers. It represents the whole city area, including Honjo, with roads highlighted in yellow, and major temple and shrine areas within the city and in its outskirts represented pictorially. It is highly detailed, with place-names associated to a number of elements on the maps, including Edo castle and its different compounds, warrior mansions, governmental offices, city blocks, roads, major bridges, villages, temples and shrines, lakes, ponds and rivers. Red circles with the characters associated to zodiac animals are distributed around the map. Family crests appear on the mansions of major warrior families. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The map follows the structural tradition established by Ochikochi Dōin, the author of the set of Edo maps known as "Kanbun go-mai zu" (Five-page map from the Kanbun era, 1661-1673), the first printed and published maps of Edo based on surveying. With the permission of Tokugawa authorities, the set was subsequently scaled down into a single sheet map of Edo with Edo castle at its centre, "Shinpan Edo ōezu" (Newly published large map of Edo, 1676; also recurring in different editions as "Bunken Edo ōezu", Measured large map of Edo). It also resulted in other adaptations, and particularly Ishikawa Tomonobu’s "Edo zukan kōmoku" (Outline map of Edo, 1689), which, in iconographical terms, departed significantly from the original model. While Edo’s last significant structural change was brought about by the so-called Meireki fire of 1657, in fact, the social composition of the city changed significantly in the two following centuries (particularly with the growth of an urban consumer class, composed of both commoners and warriors), in a way that was reflected in the growing iconographical complexity of maps. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> This map is a late adaptation of Ishikawa’s model, marked by an extensive use of colour. In the bottom left section of the map, a plate titled "Edo hōgaku dōhō" (Edo roads in the four cardinal directions) lists distances to places of interest around Edo. Below it, a second plate titled "Edo nenchū gyōji" (Edo annual events) lists Edo festivals and events by month and day. The map was probably meant as a guide to sightseeing in the city. Cover description: dark red floral pattern on paper, flexible cover board; in the front, mounted cover title in Japanese, text black on white and beige labels (one with Library's call no.: Japanese 95); in the back, mounted bookplate of Biblioteca Lindesiana (at the base of the bookplate in pencil is the notation: "17/D"). </p>

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