Japanese Maps : Nihonbashi kita Uchikanda Ryōgoku Hamachō meisai ezu

Fukuzumi, Seishichi 福住, 清志知

Japanese Maps

<p style='text-align: justify;'> Wood-block printed, commercial map of the districts of Nihonbashi kita, Uchikanda, Ryōgoku and Hamachō in the city of Edo, in Japanese, one sheet, folded, oriented with north to the top. Insert in the lower right section. The title is reported in the upper right section of the map. On the surviving envelope, the title appears as "Hamachō Kanda henzu" (浜町神田辺図), with the subtitles "Nihonbashi kita Ryōgoku hen" (日本橋北両国辺) and "Ansei saihan" (安政再版 Reprinted in the Ansei era). The envelope also reports that the map was published in Tōto ("Eastern capital", i.e. Edo). A colophon in the insert reports the date of publication Kaei 3 (1850) and the date of the reprint, Ansei 6 (1859), saying that the map is revised monthly. It also reports the name of the publisher, Owariya Seishichi.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The map was part of the series Ōedo kiriezu (大江戸切絵図, Sectional pictorial map of Great Edo). A legend to the right of the colophon illustrates the icons (symbols and distinct colours) used on the map for different types of warrior mansions, roads and bridges, tradesmen's houses and shops, shrines and other topographical features. The name of the author, Fukuzumi Seishichi, and the name of the engraver, Miyata Kota, are reported near the legend. The map also includes a plate with distances from Nihonbashi to several destinations in the four directions.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The map is printed in five colours, used to differentiate elements in the city, and, as was common, uses pictorial representation to highlight elements of the cityscape, such as temples and shrines. By the late Edo or Tokugawa period (1603-1868), maps of Edo had become commonplace, and new, sectional (and therefore very detailed) maps of the city became popular. They reflected the growth of the Edo metropolis and how commoners such as wealthy merchants, with their culture and lifestyle, had gained relevance within it. In these sets, the city lose its centre (usually identified with Edo-castle and the warrior district in one-sheet maps) and every part of the city is represented with equal importance. The shogunal vassal Sena Sadao (1716-1796) first drew a set of 8 small-sheet maps, on a scale of 1 : 5000, but they still only covered the central part of Edo.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The maps were published from 1755 to 1775 by Kichimonjiya Jirobē. Later, in 1848-1855, another Edo publisher, Omiya Gohē, revised the series and enlarged it to 35 sheets, based on the map-making work of Takashiba San’yū and Murakami Goyū. In 1850, the publisher Owariya Seishichi started releasing his own set, consisting of 31 maps published in the 1850s and 1860s (all present in the Japanese 200 series, with the exception of a map of Hatchōbori), and the series became the most popular one. </p>

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