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One of the Most Beautiful European Maps of Japan

Japan. SEUTTER, M. /RELAND. A [Augsburg, c. 1740]
Imperium Japonicum . . . . 19 ½ x 22 ¾ inches
Fine original wash color; fine condition.


A super, dark-impressioned example with full, period wash coloring of an important map that impressively combined both European and Japanese sources. It was, in fact, one of the first European maps to both make use of Japanese sources and include Japanese characters. The engraving’s rich imagery mingles indigenous Japanese scenes with the more traditional mythological figures, Mercury here, associated with European cartography. Both types of images combine to convey a sense of a lively and prosperous trade between the two cultures. Since that trade at the time was confined to a manmade island in Nagasaki Harbor, it is not surprising that the inset map at lower right is of Nagasaki and vicinity. Above and left in the inset are the arms of the most powerful shoguns of the area.

Walter no. 71.

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