The Stakes of Engagement: Borders and Exchanges in Late Imperial and Modern China
The Making of the Manchu Maritime World: Beiyang Hai’an Tu and the Qing’s Knowledge about Maritime Borderlands
Saturday, March 26, 2022
10:30am – 12:00pm EST
Virtual Paper Presenter(s)
National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taiwan (Republic of China)
Abstract: Beiyang Hai’an Tu (北洋海岸圖, Map of the Shore of Northern Ocean) is a Manchu-language map housed in the collection in the National Palace Museum, Taipei. For years, scholars have ignored this map—its dates, authors, content, and all other relevant details. This paper argues that this map was devised by Manchus, based on Korean and Chinese cartographical knowledge, and drew the maritime borderland from Jiangnan to Manchuria (particularly focusing on Korea in a great detail) to shape the Manchu Empire’s preliminary understanding of the maritime world. This map was remade in the early Qing period by using Ming and Korean maps as the base to shape the Qing’s new understanding about the maritime world. By analyzing Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Manchu sources, this article illustrates the origin and knowledge of the map, and what new ideas the Manchu people added on it. This study is placed within the context of the New Qing maritime history—focusing on framing maritime history under the New Qing History, which has been dominated by the Inner Asian regional study for decades—to understand how the Manchu Empire understood its other dimension: the maritime frontier and world. Therefore, by examining this map, this paper proposes to think of the Manchus as not only an Inner-Asian-focused group but also a maritime empire using maps produced during the early Qing period.