The English translation of the catalogue notes on this 700 year
old map are reproduced below (thanks to James Fletcher for translating) ......
"Originating in Korea in the mid
1300s, this map is based on two works, one of which gives the
pronunciation of the place names, the other gives the distances.
In 1368 these two maps were
brought to Korea, where in 1402 they were combined into a single map.
How the map got to Japan is unknown.
There are only two examples of
this combined map in existence. The one in this exhibition was
'discovered' in 1988 in the Honko-ji Temple on the peninsula of Shimbara.
It's the later of the two, probably from 1470ish.
The map shows
the massive territory of the Mongolian empire and also the region of
economic influence beyond its borders. In the centre is China as the
heart of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty.
Because of the
provenance of the map, Korea and Japan are fairly exactly represented,
as are Iran and Central Asia. Europe is difficult to identify
because the Mediterranean is not coloured in.
On the outer
left border/edge the cities of Marseille and Seville can be identified.
The information contained in this map about the Islamic regions and the
Mediterranean was not available in East Asia before the Mongols.
representation of the outline of the coast of Africa also represents an
unusually early knowledge of this continent - this map is also the first
representation of the Cape of Good Hope.
are of great significance because they contradict the Eurocentric view
that the world was discovered by Europeans. The map also shows that the
Empire of the Mongols was the first international society in human
history, a 'borderless culture'."