Japanese Maps : Daimyō kōji ezu

Japanese Maps

<p style='text-align: justify;'> Wood-block printed, commercial map of Daimyō kōji, the central warrior district of the city of Edo, in Japanese, one sheet, folded, oriented with west to the top. The title is reported in the upper section of the map, within the Edo castle area, with the subtitle "Okuruwauchi" (御曲輪内 Inside the castle walls), and on the surviving envelope, with the subtitle "Kaei shinkoku" (嘉永新刻 Newly engraved in the Kaei era). The envelope also reports that the map was published in Tōto ("Eastern capital", i.e. Edo). A colophon in the lower right section reports the date of publication, Kaei 2 (1849; Kornicki [1993] reports, however, that the map is different from existing maps dated 1849 and bearing the same title), the date of revision, Keiō 1 (1865), and the name of the publisher, Owariya Seishichi. The map was part of the series Ōedo kiriezu (大江戸切絵図, Sectional pictorial map of Great Edo). </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. As was customary, family crests appear on daimyō (lords') mansions, and the central castle area is left blank, marked with the text "Oshiro" 御城 (castle) and "Nishiomaru" 西御丸 (western compound). In some maps, the crest of the Tokugawa family appears on the blank space of the castle, but here the picture of a turtle and a crane (both associated with longevity) appear instead.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>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 loses 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. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'> 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. 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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