The Nation has a long article by Paula Findlen on the Selden Map, a Chinese watercolour map acquired by the 17th-century jurist and scholar John Selden and bequeathed to the Bodleian Library in 1659. Findlen recounts the origins of the map and its rediscovery in the Bodleian’s vaults in 2008, and describes it in intricate detail. [via]
The map’s rediscovery has set off a flurry of interest and publications (see book list below). Findlen also looks at the scholarly debates about the map.Brook and Batchelor have both written books about the Selden map, and each scholar takes a somewhat different approach to framing the story and to interpreting a reconstruction of the document’s origins. Yet they concur that this is a Chinese maritime map and a product of late-Ming ambitions, enterprise, and mobility,” she writes.
The Bodleian has a website dedicated to the Selden Map, which includes an online viewer (Flash required). See also Robert Batchelor’s page.
Books About the Selden Map:
- London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689 by Robert K. Batchelor (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
Amazon (Canada, U.K.) | iBooks
- Mr. Selden’s Map of China: Decoding the Secrets of a Vanished Cartographer by Timothy Brook (Bloomsbury [U.S.], House of Anansi [Canada], Profile [U.K.], 2013).
Amazon (Canada, U.K.) | iBooks (Canada, U.K.)
- The Selden Map of China: A New Understanding of the Ming Dynasty by Hongping Annie Nie (Bodleian Libraries, 2014).
Available as a PDF in English and Chinese.
Previously: More Map Books; Two More Map Books.
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