Reexamining the Sinosphere: Cover art of Korean manuscript map shows Indian-, Chinese-, and Western-influenced cartographic genre

Professors Nanxiu Qian, Richard J. Smith, and Bowei Zhang, editors of Reexamining the Sinosphere: Transmissions and Transformations in East Asia, on the image on the front cover of their book.

Reexamining Sinosphere Front Cover

The cover image for this volume is an anonymous Korean manuscript map of the world (Ch’ŏnhado 天下圖), c. 1820. This Indian-, Chinese-, and Western-influenced cartographic genre, which developed in Korea during the seventeenth century, reflects a distinctly Korean world view that persisted well into the nineteenth century. This particular map highlights China, Japan, Korea and the Ryukyu Islands in red. Vietnam is also represented by characters on the map, but is not highlighted––presumably an indication of Korea’s bias toward more proximal states in the Sinosphere. For details on the Ch’ŏnhado genre, see Sang-Hak Oh, “Circular World Maps of the Joseon Dynasty,” Korea Journal 48.1 (Spring 2008): 9–44. We are grateful to Götzfried Antique Maps,, for permission to reproduce our cover image.

See also Rethinking the Sinosphere: Poetics, Aesthetics, and Identity Formation by the same professors.

This book is part of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, headed by Professor Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania).

Professors, make going remote easy by assigning this book for readings through the Cambria Book Cloud, which allows for affordable semester-long 24/7 access to multiple books (even the entire Cambria Sinophone World Series) anywhere through web browser. Students are able to read titles on their phone, tables, laptops, or desktops.

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