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date: 24 November 2020

Maps of the World in Early Modern Japanlocked

  • Radu LecaRadu LecaInstitute of East Asian Art History, Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg University

Summary

Since the world in its entirety cannot be grasped through direct experience, world maps are mental constructs that serve as a radiography of a given culture’s attitudes towards its environment. Early modern Japan offers an intriguing study case for the assimilation of a variety of world map typologies in terms of pre-existing traditions of thought. Rather than topography, these maps stress topological connections between “myriad countries” and therefore embody the various mental maps of cultural agents in Japan. The maps’ materiality and embeddedness in social networks reveal connections to other areas of visual and intellectual culture of the period.

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