Antique Map of Taiwan during the Kang-Xi Period
Antique Map of Taiwan during the Kang-Xi Period
National Treasure Intro
The Antique Map of Taiwan during the Kang-Xi Period is in the National Taiwan Museum’s collection. It is the earliest and most complete map of Taiwan written in Chinese, which means it is exceptionally rare. In addition, this map bears great academic value for it provided a blueprint for the Map of Taiwan During the Yongzheng Period and the Map of Taiwan During the Qianlong Period ; the three maps together demonstrate the changes of Taiwan’s human landscape and the evolution of the Qing dynasty’s territory in Taiwan. Its depiction of the natural environment, military deployment, and urban and rural life in western Taiwan from north to south in the 17th and 18th centuries shows the social and cultural life at that time and provides a snapshot of the geographical knowledge the Qing dynasty had of Taiwan. On the basis of its special historical, cultural and academic value, it was designated as a national treasure in 2010.
When was this map produced? How did it happen to come to Taiwan? According to Yamanaka Kikori, the director of the Library of Government-General of Taiwan, this map was brought out from the Qing Imperial Household Department during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, and was brought to the Government-General’s Office by the Zheng family in Hsinchu for inspection. In 1902, it was bought by the Governor-General, and then it was also exhibited in the Museum of the Government-General of Taiwan at the 5th National Industrial Exhibition held in Osaka in 1903.
Yamanaka Kikori also mentioned that this map is labeled on the mounted scroll as “An Illustration of Taiwan’s Aboriginal Tribes” and “done by Huang Yupu in the 61st year of Kangxi (1722).” As a result, it was always thought that this map was painted in 1722 by Huang Yupu, who was also known as Huang Shujing, the author of Records of the Envoys to Taiwan. But Kikori Yamanaka indicated that there are two institutions on the map that predate the writing: one is the teaching site at the Tainan Haihui Temple, which was established in 1699 and the second is the Zhuluo County Office was moved to Zhuluo Mountain (present-day Chaiyi City), as a basis to infer that the map was drawn between 1699 and 1704, and not by Huang Shujing.
In addition to having the original Antique Map of Taiwan During the Kangxi Period (hereinafter referred to as the original) in its collection, the National Taiwan Museum also has two long hanging scrolls similar to the original. These two paintings can show us what the damaged southern part of the original painting looked like. These two maps clearly show what Taiwan’s terrain looked like from north to south during the Kangxi period.
These two long hanging scrolls are called the Antique Map of Taiwan During the Kangxi Period facsimile (hereinafter referred to as the facsimile) and the Antique Map of Taiwan During the Kangxi Period manuscript (hereinafter referred to as the manuscript).
Due to the severe damage to the original, it is no longer possible to display it frequently to the public, so the facsimile is often displayed and published instead. Therefore, the Antique Map of Taiwan During the Kangxi Period that people think of is usually the facsimile, while the manuscript is kept in the library.
According to a list of exhibits in the Taiwan Governor Museum during the Japanese rule of Taiwan, scholars have speculated that a facsimile was made and used for display because the original copy was precious and fragile. However, the time when the manuscript was completed is still unknown, but it should have been done after the facsimile was made.
Comparison between the original and facsimile (southern part)
Comparison between the original and manuscript (southern part)
Different use of color
The outlines of the layers of the mountains and rocks are first drawn with an ink brush, and then a technique known as “hemp fiber texture stroke” is used to express the uneven appearance of the mountains and rocks.
An ink brush is used to draw the branches of the trees in the forest, and the leaves are drawn with raindrop texture strokes.
Malachite pigment is applied on the leaves to express the denseness of the forest. Regarding the use of colors, ochre is first used as the base color, then malachite is used on the surface facing the light of the mountain; the backlight surface is painted with turquoise. The application of different colors creates the effect of light and shade on the mountains.
The depiction of the mountains and woods in the facsimile is similar to the original, except for the coloring. Ochre is still used as the foundation color for the rocks, and the light area is painted with either a combination of light malachite with ochre, or just ochre; the dark side is painted with azure pigment, and the top of the mountain is garnished with malachite. The woods are filled with a combination of azure and ochre.
The mountains and forests in the manuscript are the same as those in the original and the facsimile, but the layers of forest, branches and leaves are comparatively blurred. They are rendered with dark green paint to express the depth and denseness of the forests.
In terms of coloring, the mountain rocks are painted with ochre. A darker malachite is applied with ochre to the light area; the dark side is rendered in azure, and the top of the mountain is embellished with white and turquoise.
The original is marked with “Bengangxun” and a paragraph of text next to it.
This text is omitted from the facsimile.
This text is omitted from the facsimile.
Most of the people depicted on the original are men, who have exposed upper bodies, and are only wearing a piece of azure cloth around their lower bodies.
The figures are engaged in various activities. Several people are holding bows, arrows and spears to capture deer and hares; some are carrying their prey to go home, and others are driving ox carts or herding cattle. This shows the daily life of people in Taiwan in the early Qing dynasty.
The figures drawn on the facsimile are different from the original. For example, there are four people hunting deer in the original, and their lower bodies are covered with blue cloth, the deer on the left is white, and the two other deer are brown with white spots.
The illustration of the jumping and sprinting deer vividly depict how they were startled by the hunters. On the facsimile, however, there are only three people painted in the scene and the colors of the cloth they use to cover their lower bodies are in crimson, azure and malachite. The position of the white deer is arranged in the middle. Compared to the original, the deer appears to lack strength.
The colors of the people on the manuscript are close to that of the original, and the strokes used to depict the animals are also strong and powerful. However, the white deer in the manuscript is not completely white like the original. If you look closely, you can see the fur of the deer is light brown with white spots added.
- Kangxi Map of Taiwan
- Yamanaka Kikori, “Huang Shujing’s Map of Taiwan During the Kangxi Period.”The Ethnographical Journal of the South-East Asia and Formosa, No.1: 3, 1931, pp. 29-36.
- Hung Ying-sheng, The Kangxi Map of Taiwan. Nantou: Executive Yuan for Culture, 1999.
- Kaim Ang,“Questions about the Kangxi Map of Taiwan,”pp. 134-156, in Li Tzu-Ning (editor), The 94th Annual Museum Collection Preservation Planning and Practice Symposium. Taipei: National Taiwan Museum, 2005.
- Kaim Ang,Weng Chia-Yin, Shih Wen-Cheng and Chen Chia-Hui, A Report on the Investigation of the History of the Kangxi Map of Taiwan. Taipei: National Taiwan Museum, 2007.
- Li Tzu-Ning (editor), The Story of Collection in a Century: Special Exhibition of National Taiwan Museum. Taipei: National Taiwan Museum, 2008.
The National Taiwan Museum (NTM) is the oldest museum in Taiwan, it was formerly known as the Taiwan Governor Museum, which was established in 1908. The artefacts on display were broadly divided into history, anthropology, “south China and south seas policy,” flora and fauna, and mineralogy. Before WWII, there were nearly 10,000 pieces in the museum’s collection; after Japan was defeated in WWII, the administration of the museum was transferred to the Republic of China, and was later renamed Taiwan Provincial Museum. In 1999, due to the Taiwan Provincial Government Restructuring, the management of the museum was transferred to the Ministry of Culture, and renamed NTM.
The NTM inherits the collection of the Taiwan Governor Museum during the Japanese rule, and has accumulated over 120,000 items, including historical materials, indigenous artefacts, flora and fauna, and geological specimens of Taiwan. These items provide a window for the public to learn more about the history of Taiwan. These items have also been digitized and can be seen at “National Taiwan Museum Digital Archive Information System.”
In addition to the rich collection of artefacts related to history, culture, flora and fauna located at the main site of the NTM, the Land Bank Exhibition Hall of the NTM(Natural History Branch) also has a paleontological exhibition, the Nanmen branch of NTM presents the glory days of Taiwan’s camphor industry, and the Railway Department Park at NTM presents the history of Taiwan’s railways and the trajectory of Taiwan’s modern development.
objects can be better understood by linking them to similar objects in global collections.