Japanese Maps : Bunken Edo ōezu

Japanese Maps

<p style='text-align: justify;'> Map of Edo, in Japanese. The title is reported in a mounted cover label. The colophon reports Bunkyū 1 (1861) as publication date, and Suharaya Mohē (Edo) as publisher. The map is oriented with north to the right. It is a woodcut print, in colour, with relief shown pictorially, a single sheet folded into original covers with mounted cover title. 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 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. </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 map is a late adaptation of Ishikawa’s model, marked by its extensive use of colour. The group of plates in the lower left section of the map includes: a legend, explaining the use of family crests to identify the mansions of the most powerful warrior families, and illustrating the symbols associated with the mansions of lesser families; a chart of routes and distances from Nihonbashi (a central area of Edo and the starting point of the Tōkaidō highway) to several temples and shrines; a list of the districts in the Musashi province (where Edo was located); a chart of distances from Nihonbashi to other provinces; a shiotoki (a chart for the measure of time), listing information such as favourable and unfavourable days, and a flower bloom calendar; a list of the 33 temples of the Kannon pilgrimage in Edo. The map was probably meant to be updated at least annually, and to be used as a guide to sightseeing in the city. Cover description: pale blue embossed paper with flexible cover board; in the front, mounted cover title, in Japanese, text black on label and title and white label (with Library's call no.: Japanese 98); in the back, mounted bookplate of Biblioteca Lindesiana (at the base of the bookplate in pencil is the notation: "5/F"). </p>

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