Japanese Map

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      In 1582 four Samurai were sent as envoys of the Japanese feudal lords to Pope Gregory XIII and King Philip II of Spain (who was also Philip I of Portugal). Mansho Ito, Miguel Chijiwa, Martino Hara and Julian Nakaura returned to Japan eight years later having studied and observed the culture of Italy, Spain and Portugal. They brought with them a copy of Abraham Orteliusí Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. They used the Typus Orbis Terrarum, the so-called oval projection, as a model for world maps which they painted on screens.
     The map is based on one of the oldest of the screens in the possession of the Jotoku-ji (Buddhist Temple) in Fukui, on the west coast of Honshu. the map is the same shape as Orteliusí oval projection, and follows quite closely the outlines of the continents, except in Asia where Japanese information provided a greater degree of accuracy for the coasts of China, Korea and Siberia. Japan appears much as it does in the Typus Orbis Terrarum. Below Java Ortelius replaced Terra australis nondum congnita  by a large island which is thought to represent the continent of Australia.

SCN 1508

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