Hishu Nagasaki zu
Date of Creation:
A superb map of Nagasaki, and one of the earliest examples of printing from the city.
The upper and lower halves were each printed from two large woodblocks (one for the main map image in black including the outlines of the buildings and land; and the tint block colouring the interior of the buildings and land grey), each half on two sheets of paper pasted together before printing, with the upper and lower half pasted together after printing to form a single map. The water was hand-coloured blue-grey before the 2 halves were assembled.
Rare and beautifully produced, this Japanese woodcut map of Nagasaki and its harbour, includes the Dutch trading factory on the artificial island Desjima and the nearby Chinese trading factory, with mountains around the outskirts, and in the harbour two European ships (flying Dutch flags), numerous Japanese ships and boats, 3 Chinese junks and a Siamese ship (one boat has three dots on the sail, arranged in a triangle; another has a circle of 8 dots plus a central dot). The map is printed on four sheets of Japanese kozogami (mulberry bark) paper and gives a very detailed image of the city, streets, temples, shrines, waterways, ships and boats, gardens and fortifications. Most of these features are labelled on the map. Five rectangular text panels in the lower left corner use both book lettering (kaisho) and cursive lettering (sosho?) and include the title, publisher, date, an explanatory note and tables of distances (by land and sea) between Nagasaki and various places throughout Japan. From 1636 to 1852 the Tokugawa Shogunate largely restricted Japanese trade with the West to the Dutch at Desjima, but this map shows their very active Dutch and Asian trading as they began to relax their seclusionary restrictions on trade.