Rare Dezauche edition of the D'Anville's map of China -- The Finest Printed Map of the Middle Kingdom published in Europe during the 18th Century.
This attractive and geographically progressive depiction of China and Korea represents Jean-Claude Dezauche's edition of the J.B.B. d'Anville's groundbreaking map of the Middle Kingdom. While the map extends from the Caspian Sea to Sakhalin on the Pacific, it is focused on the Chinese Empire which, colored in Pink, is exceedingly well defined, and shows that during the time China extended only as far north as the Great Wall and as far east as Szechuan. Innumerable towns are noted and provincial boundaries are river systems are delineated. The regions further to the west, Tibet and Kashgar, are depicted but were not yet a part of China. The areas to the north of China include Mongolia with the Great Gobi Desert and Manchuria (the ancestral home of China's ruling Qing Dynasty).
The Qing Emperor Kangxi commissioned a ground of Jesuit surveyors to chart his kingdom from 1708 to 1716. The resulting maps were published as the Kangxi Atlas (1718-19), and the information contained on its woodcut maps would not be superseded for well over a century.
The leading French cartographer Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon D'Anville (1697-1782) acquired copies of the Kangxi maps and devised his own interpretations, first printed in Jean-Baptiste Du Halde's Description Geographique … de la Chine (Paris, 1735).
Importantly, this map features the first broadly accurate depiction of Korea on a Western map. As Westerners had long been forbidden to visit Korea, the peninsula remained an enigma to Europeans. Around the time that the Kangxi surveys were being undertaken, Chinese agents travelled to Seoul and returned with detailed maps and geographical descriptions of Korea. This intelligence was given to the Jesuit Jean-Baptiste de Regis who fashioned the information into a geodetic framework that accorded with Kangxi maps of China.
The fine allegorical cartouche in the lower left shows Emperor Kangxi presiding over the surveying parties, while two Jesuit priests, with an armed mounted escort, are investigating an agrarian settlement, with its lodgings and cattle. The scale cartouche, in the lower right, is bordered by a pair of wolf hunters.
The present edition of the map was issued by Jean-Claude Dezauche (1745-1824), who maintained France's longest lasting cartographic dynasty. The dynasty was founded by Guillaume De L'Isle (1675-1726), the Geographer Royal to the King. De L'Isle's business was inherited by his son-in-law Philippe Buache (1700-73), who himself worked for the Depôt de la Marine and followed his uncle to become the "premier géographe du roi", in 1729. Upon Philippe's death in 1773, the firm was taken over by his nephew, Jean Nicholas Buache de la Neuville. In 1780 Jean-Claude Dezauche bought the firm, along with a series of maps and plates made by Buache, De L'Isle, Jaillot and D'Anville, amongst others. The present map was issued very shortly after Dezauche assumed ownership of the enterprise. Upon Dezauche's death, in 1824, the firm was continued by his son, Jean-André Dezauche.
The present map is an essential piece for any collection of the cartography of China and Korea. It is also apparently very rare, as we were unable to locate another example of this edition of the map in either published auction or dealer catalog records (this is the second example of the map we have ever offered).