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243
Canton (Guangzhou)—Vrooman, Daniel
MAP OF THE CITY AND ENTIRE SUBURBS OF CANTON. [CANTON], 1855
JUMP TO LOT
243
Canton (Guangzhou)—Vrooman, Daniel
MAP OF THE CITY AND ENTIRE SUBURBS OF CANTON. [CANTON], 1855
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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Canton (Guangzhou)—Vrooman, Daniel
MAP OF THE CITY AND ENTIRE SUBURBS OF CANTON. [CANTON], 1855
LARGE MAP IN PEN AND INK AND COLOURS ON NATIVE PAPER (overall 730 x 1350mm.), original hand-colouring of selected features, some in wash, some in outline, archivally framed, some wear, repairs and restoration (mostly along old folds), light browning and spotting
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Catalogue Note

A VERY RARE AND EARLY EXAMPLE OF VROOMAN'S MONUMENTAL MAP OF CANTON (GUANGZHOU), ONE OF THE EARLIEST EUROPEAN PLANS OF THE CITY. "No Western maps of the walled city existed until the middle of the nineteenth-century, since the city was off-limits to foreigners" (Garret, Heaven is High, the Emperor Far Away). Vrooman travelled to China in 1852 as a missionary from the American Presbyterian Church, and later became United States vice-consul in Canton. As foreigners were banned from the city Vrooman devised an ingenious plan to draw this map: "[Vrooman] began by taking the angles of all the conspicuous buildings therein, with the highest points in the suburbs; he then taught a native to pace the streets between them, compass in hand (noting courses and distances, which he fixed by the principal gates), until a complete plan was filled out. When the city was opened four years afterwards this map was found to need no important corrections (Williams, The Middle Kingdom).

Vrooman's map was first issued in 1855, with only one institutional copy located, in the British Library (a copy was also recorded in Marseille in its 1866 catalogue, but it is not known whether it survives). The British Library map although dated 1855 appears to be a later issue as it shows the island of Shamin which was created in 1859 for the new foreign factories (the previous ones having been destroyed in the "Arrow War" in 1856). Another example of the 1855 map was offered for sale recently in the trade; that, like other examples, was decorated and retailed by Lee Mun Une a painter in Canton City, South Street. The present example is possibly earlier than that map, as that map shows a "New Landing Place", which does not appear on this version. Cordier only records the 1860 edition of this map and we cannot trace any auction records for this earlier map.

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