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Mapping maritime power and control: a study of the late eighteenth century Qisheng yanhai tu (a coastal map of the seven provinces)

Po, Ronald C. (2016) Mapping maritime power and control: a study of the late eighteenth century Qisheng yanhai tu (a coastal map of the seven provinces). Late Imperial China, 37 (2). pp. 93-136. ISSN 0884-3236

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Identification Number: 10.1353/late.2016.0012

Abstract

This article surveys a Chinese coastal map (haitu), similar to the sea charts used in the west. The map was produced in the late eighteenth century under the official supervision of the Qing court. Titled Qisheng yanhai tu (A coastal map of the seven provinces), this was one of very few maps made before the First Opium War that charted the contours of coastal regions and the immediate sea space under the control of the Qing Empire. It is also notable for the detailed paratextual information printed on the map touching upon various issues, such as the importance of coastal defense, the significance of the Bohai Sea, the dividing logic between inner and outer sea spaces, as well as the topographies of strategic islands off the China coast. In line with cartographic depictions, these paratextual materials indicate the way that the Manchu Empire conceptualized the maritime frontier in a deliberate and preventive manner. Through careful analysis of this coastal map, we can reexamine the overriding, conventional conception of the Qing Empire as strictly a land-based, continental power that cared little about the ocean before the arrival of western gunboats in the mid-nineteenth century

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://muse.jhu.edu/journal/114
Additional Information: © 2016 Society for Qing Studies and Johns Hopkins University Press
Divisions: International History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D890 Eastern Hemisphere
D History General and Old World > DS Asia
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GA Mathematical geography. Cartography
Sets: Departments > International History
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2017 15:41
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2017 13:44
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/68820

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