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Mongols

Ghengis to Kublai Khan - The Maps

 

Link to Insight Page "The Mongol Warlords"

 

Link to other maps in Paradoxplace

If you were lucky enough to be in Munich in October 2005, there was a great exhibition of Ghengis stuff.  The maps on this page come from its catalogue.

 

 

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.

 

The 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.

 

These things 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'."

 

 

 

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