[KOREAN ATLAS] Kakkuk chi to ('Maps of various countries'). [Korea: 'Kyemi' year, probably 1823].
315 x 321mm, Korean manuscript atlas, 10 leaves, including 12 maps, black and blue ink and colours on paper, title Kakkuk chi to on front and back covers, five pages of Chinese/Korean text (including poetry in calligraphy, and giving date according to Chinese 60-year cycle and name of official (Hwang-?) for whom the atlas was made). The maps show stylised mountains, rivers, islands and other features, the sea decorated with wave patterns, with place-names in differently coloured cartouches, while routes are shown in red and distances are marked in the margins. Waxed paper covers (rubbed and frayed).
This atlas, based on the traditional Sino-Korean world view, is of a type produced well into the 19th century, despite the availability of Western geographical knowledge. The use of colour and especially the inclusion of foreign countries suggest that it was made for official purposes, since such information was carefully restricted by the government. (The atlas was evidently well used by its owner). The atlas comprises (reading from the back) the ch'onhado ('map of all under heaven'), the traditional Korean world map, or 'wheel map', including numerous fictitious or mythical countries surrounding an inner continent with China, the 'middle kingdom', at its centre; China, showing the Great Wall, with the old Ming provinces; the Ryukyu islands; Japan; (map of Kyonggi province removed); Ch'ungch'ong province; Cholla province; Kyongsang province (including Pusan); Hwanghae province; P'yong'an province (including P'yong'yang); Kangwon province; Hangyong province, with Tumen river; Korea, showing historical kingdoms and capitals. See G. Ledyard 'Cartography in Korea', in J.B. Harley and D. Woodward (eds.) The History of Cartography, volume 2, book 2: Cartography in the Traditional East and Southeast Asian Societies (pp 235-345).