[PAST EVENT] "Depictions of Asia in Early European Cartography" a public lecture by Chet Van Duzer

October 2, 2018
5pm - 6:30pm
Blow Memorial Hall, Room 331
262 Richmond Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Access & Features
  • Open to the public

The focus will be less on advances in knowledge of the physical contours of Asia?though that is certainly part of the survey?than on the maps as reflections of European cultural attitudes towards Asia and Asian identity. Following a discussion of the various ways in which medieval European cartographers filled the eastern part of the continent with mythological material, the talk will address the belief that the New World was part of Asia, and then the ?mapping? of Asia in terms of political power and sophistication versus Europe through personifications of the continents. Developments in the mapping of Asia in the second half of the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries will then be traced, with emphasis on the exaggerated signs of European control of the region. Special topics include the cartography of Japan, the use of maps of Asia on the title pages and frontispieces of European books in images emphasizing the influence of the Jesuit mission there, and the earliest European maps of Chinese cities. The talk is a case study of the process?with all its difficulties, flaws, and prejudices?of one region getting to know a distant land and people.