East Asian mapmakers began rendering their corner of the globe centuries before they considered the wider world. “Cartographic Traditions in East Asian Maps” examines these geographical depictions made by the artisans and bureaucrats of China, Korea and Japan.
The maps featured are primarily from the 18th and 19th centuries. Such a narrow, if storied, sliver of history would seem arbitrary unless the stated goal of the author was to explore the shared experience of East Asians during that period — namely, the opening of the global frontier and the foreign influences that accompanied it. However, the maps of feudal Japan are so downsized that much of the artistry that Pegg writes of so lovingly is unintelligible. The Chinese maps, while legible, lack captions for those of us unversed in Manchu.