Japanese Maps : Kōeki Oedo ezu

Japanese Maps

<p style='text-align: justify;'> Map of Edo, in Japanese. The title is reported in a mounted cover label, with the subtitles "Saikan kaisei" (Newly carved and revisioned) and "Kan" (complete). The colophon reports the date Tenmei 7 (1787) for this specific copy, specifying that the map was largely revised every month. The map was first published in the An’ei era (1772-1781) or in the early Tenmei era (1781-1789). The colophon also reports the names of the publishers, all from Edo: Nishimura Kōhachi, Yamada Sanshirō and Okumura Kichibē. The map is oriented with north to the right. It is a wood block print, hand coloured, with relief shown pictorially. It is a single sheet with a section at the middle that drops down and is longer than the rest of the map: at its longest points, the height of the map is 780 mm and the width is 885 mm. It folds into original burnished patterned covers. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The map represents the whole city area, with the Honjo area (excluded in earlier maps) in the drop-down section, 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 compounds, warrior mansions, governmental offices, city blocks, roads, major bridges, villages, temples and shrines, lakes, ponds and rivers. Family crests appear on the mansions of major warrior families, including the Tokugawa family crest on Edo castle and other buildings associated with the family. </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, 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 specific map seems to be derivative of Ishikawa’s model. The colophon is preceded by a postface and a legend, which illustrates the use of family crests to identify the mansions of the most powerful warrior families, and of different symbols for the mansions of lesser families. A plate lists routes and distances from Nihonbashi (a central area of Edo and the starting point of the Tōkaidō highway) to several temples and shrines. Cover description: beige burnished paper and flexible cover board; in the front, mounted cover title with black text on red label and white label (with the Library's call no.: Japanese 96) annotated (see also Notes) ‘Jedo’ in black ink and pencil, number ‘18’ in black ink; in the back, mounted bookplate of Biblioteca Lindesiana (at the base of the bookplate in pencil is the notation: "15/E"). </p>

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