Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Look familiar?

Yes, it's one of the earliest extant - and genuine - maps of China, known as 'The Selden Map', named after John Selden, a 17th century London lawyer who was an avid collector of Oriental curiosities, and much of whose estate passed into the possession of Oxford University's Bodleian Library. (More images here.)

The possible historical value of the map has only been realised in the last few years (it is now reckoned to contain a lot of information about the trade funnelling through the coastal province of Fujian in the 1620s), and a major restoration and conservation project has recently been begun on it.

[I offer an especially grateful doff of my hat to my best drinking buddy The Dissolute Choirboy for sending me a link about this a few weeks ago.]

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