The impression of Chinese cities from the old map: the Northern Song Dynasty "The Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival" and the first world map in history

Ancient China, like today, is the most populous country in the world. Thanks to the gift of Xiaomi and rice, China’s economic strength at that time, coupled with a mature administrative system, enabled it to support a large urban population. The Shang Dynasty (1800 BC to 1027 BC) has repeatedly moved to the capital, and the more famous Tudor is Erlitou and Yin. After the Shang Dynasty, Zhou Chao (1027 BC to 403 BC) also had several capitals. The earliest urban planning record in history came from the Zhou Dynasty. The Zhou Dynasty's urban design principle is based on a square system that combines cosmology, astrology, Feng Shui and numerology, and continues to influence the modern Chinese square layout.


The Qin Dynasty (221 BC to 206 BC) has several administrative centers in addition to the capital of Xianyang. The same was true of the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 220 AD). The capital was Chang'an and Luoyang, but there were also prosperous ports in the coastal areas, such as Fuzhou. Later, the capital of the Tang Dynasty (618-970 AD) was Chang'an (now Xi'an), with a population of about 2 million in the 8th century (both inside and outside the city wall). Chang'an's pattern is very symmetrical, and the specialized Lifang is arranged in an orderly manner. The reason for this division is that the Chinese people are deeply rooted in the idea that the layout and furnishings of the space will affect the inner mind. This concept is widely spread across East Asia.


Part of the Qingming Shanghe Map, which depicts the camel caravans that are crossing the city gate and the bustling city style.

The degree of urbanization in ancient China was quite high. In the Tang Dynasty, there were more than ten cities with a population of more than 600,000. In the late Song Dynasty (960-1279), Hangzhou, the trade center and merchant capital, had 1 million residents, while London had only about 15,000 residents. Located in the north-central part of China, Yujing (now Kaifeng) has a developed canal, the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, and accumulated a large amount of wealth through commercial trade in the 11th century. Kaifeng was portrayed as a beautiful city in Zhang Zeduan's "The Riverside Scene of Qingming", far surpassing any European city at that time.


The famous "Qingming Shanghe Map" (about 1126 AD) is the exact year and the real author is a mystery, but most scholars believe that this painting was in place in the Huizong of Song Dynasty (reigned from 1100 to 1126) The period was completed by the painter Zhang Zeduan. It is generally believed that the city depicted in the Qingming Shanghe Map is the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty. In the painter's pen, one of the most mature cities in the world was on the paper.


Part of Hongqiao in Qingming Shanghe Map

In the picture, a large restaurant is located on the bustling streets, and the businessmen and guests on the street are busy with their livelihood. The camel on the right is full of cargo and is preparing to pass through the city gate, revealing that Beijing (now Kaifeng) is one of the cities on the Silk Road, which makes Yujing a cosmopolitan city with Persian Muslims and Sefadi from Persia and India. A community of Jewish (Sephardic Jews). The synagogue existed in Yujing before 1163. Immediately above the camel is the tax office, which shows that businessmen pay taxes. To the left, you can see the wood workshop, the large liquor wholesale store (two women sitting in the sedan chair in front of the sedan) and the Sunjia restaurant. A storyteller attracted a large audience at the crossroads, including a monk and a Taoist. In addition, Xiangpu, inn and family shipping companies can be seen in the picture.


However, some people think that this painting does not depict any particular place, just to paint the style of a modern city. Because "Qingming" refers to a major festival, it also means "peace and order" and represents an ideal city. In addition, the Hongqiao depicted in the painting is an important landmark depicted in the "Qingming Riverside Map". And there is indeed a Hongqiao in Beijing, but other northern cities also have Hongqiao. The Shengping scene presented in the painting is somewhat lacking in realism, so some people think that this is because the Chinese like to reflect the opposite situation in a rather concealed way. Regardless of the truth, the inn, restaurants, busy riversides, merchants, vendors, trend-like people and businessmen who traveled around the city are capturing the spirit and excitement of China in the 12th century.


Regardless of the true vintage and author of this work, the details of this famous Chinese scroll do provide a window for us to have a glimpse of China's daily urban life in the Northern Song Dynasty.


Oriental impression in the eyes of Westerners


Marco Polo, the Venetian merchant of Italy, set off east in 1255 and traveled to China through the Silk Road. He is said to have served as an official of the Yuan Dynasty. After returning to Venice, he talked about the experience of the East, and was later recorded the only travel note. His experience has spawned many related literary works, which also inspired the exploration of Columbus and other travellers. It also influenced the map making in Europe, and thus the appearance of “Mauro Map”.


Fra Mauro is a monk of the Monastery of St. Michael of Murano near Venice. He painted this World Map in the 1450s (AD 1448-1453), most likely in history. The first "world map." This map of Mauro is said to have been commissioned by the Portuguese King Alfonso V. Mauro and his assistant navigator and map scholar Andrea Bianco began a two-year work.


Comparison of the map of the world of Mauro (full map) with the map of the Earth's satellite.

The world map of Mauro covered all the known worlds at that time and was hailed as "the greatest record of medieval cartography." The map uses a circular pattern of rotating star maps, drawn on a parchment with wooden frames, about two meters in diameter, and is now in the library of Biblioteca Marciana in Venice. Although it is a descriptive map, rather than mathematically drawn, Mauro does have a scientific approach, referring to Portuguese nautical charts, records and interviews with travelers, etc., rather than just not fully reliable. Classical work.


Mauro World Map is part of Southeast Asia.

Master Mauro pays attention to the depiction of images, and in Venice he gains knowledge of many Eastern worlds. We are almost certain that the part of the world map depicting the Khitan, the information about East Asia comes from Marco Polo. "Cathay" (Cathay or Catai, from Khitan), is the name of ancient Europe for China. In Marco Polo's travels, Cathay is used to represent northern China, and Mangi is used to represent southern China. Although the picture is full of traditional European images (however, the northern part of the map is downward). It is generally believed that the paintings of Marco Polo traveled on the walls of the Palace of the Governor of Venice, and may also be the source of visual material for Mauro, but the murals were destroyed in the subsequent fire.


Local map of the world of Mauro - map of Qidan.

Another breakthrough in the map of Mauro's world is that the center of the map is not Jerusalem. He puts a text on the map: "Although from the latitude point of view, Jerusalem is indeed the center of human habitation in the world, but it is Western in terms of longitude. But since the population density in Europe has greatly increased the importance of the West, Jerusalem will be the center of longitude if we ignore the blank area but refer to the population density."


[This article is Polysh x La Vie activistCooperative article, published by Mai HaosiUrban History on the Map: A History of World Cultural Development Based on the City》】


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