皇朝一统舆地全图 Huang chao yi tong yu di quan tu
LI (Zhaoluo), compiled by. DONG (Fangli), drawn by. 皇朝一統 輿地全圖 Huang chao yi tong yu di quan tu. [Complete Map of the Unified Realm of the Imperial Provinces]. Large map of China consisting of 47 woodblock printed plates (complete, each measuring 44,2x30cm, 3 supplied from another copy; these laid down on the original spare blank sheets). Provincial boundaries coloured in outline, some manuscript annotations (names of provinces in Chinese characters (but in a Western hand), the rest in French). Title, separate pattern-chart for assembling the sheets, and two leaves of text. Each plate backed onto patterned silk, some minor marginal fraying and surface wear, but overall a very good set preserved in a later 19th century French slipcase. Yanghu [now Changzhou], Bian Zhi Shu Shu [Privately Printed], dated: Daoguang 12 [i.e. 1832].
The present map in 8 rows was compiled by Li Zhaoluo (1769-1841) and drawn by Dong Fangli (also known as Dong Youcheng, 1791-1823) and it represents an amalgamation of the first two maps together with updated information, recording in particular the changing course of rivers and canals. The important innovation however was the use of two sets of grid systems, namely the old square Chinese grid (計裡畫方) where each square represents a distance of 200li (ca. 100km), as well as the western system of parallels and meridians shown in stippled lines. The text explains that meridians converge towards the north pole and that this information facilitated more accurate astronomical observations. The map was apparently printed from woodblock plates with the permission of the Imperial Secretariat (內府) and this represents the first time that the previously confidential Jesuit surveys were made public in China. It covers the area from Sachalin in the east to the Pamirs in the west, from Siberia in the north to the South China Sea. It should not be confused with the 1842 (Daoguang 22) edition, printed in an atlas format with meridians printed in red.
Dong Fangli and Li Zhaoluo were both from Yanghu (now Changzhou, Jiangsu Province) and both were mathematicians as well as geographers. Dong was a maths genius from the youngest age, he passed the Juren degree in 1818, and played a major role in the development of linear algebra. Li obtained the Jinshi degree in 1805. He published several works on geography, history, and mathematics. Both were influenced by Western mathematical trends that had been introduced by the Jesuits. The present map is the first one to make the Jesuit surveys publicly available and due to the inclusion of a grid map system it was very influential into the 20th century. Extremely rare.