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Finely colored example of Bowen's map of China, depicting China in the middle of the 18th Century.

The map reflects the details derived from J.B.B. d'Anville's groundbreaking map of China and Korea. The Qing Emperor Kangxi commissioned a ground of Jesuit surveyors to map China from 1708 to 1716. The resulting maps were published as the Kangxi Atlas (1718-19). The leading French cartographer Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon D'Anville (1697-1782), acquired copies of the Kangxi maps, which were first printed in Jean-Baptiste Du Halde's Description Geographique … de la Chine (Paris, 1735).

D'Anville's map included the first broadly accurate depiction of Korea on a Western map. As Westerners had long been forbidden to visit Korea, the peninsula remained an enigma to Europeans. Around the time that the Kangxi surveys were being undertaken, Chinese agents traveled to Seoul and returned with detailed maps and geographical descriptions of Korea. This intelligence was given to the Jesuit Jean-Baptiste de Regis who fashioned the information into a geodetic framework that accorded with Kangxi maps of China.

Emanuel Bowen Biography

Emanuel Bowen (1694?-1767) was a British engraver and print seller. He was most well-known for his atlases and county maps. Although he died in poverty, he was widely acknowledged for his expertise and was appointed as mapmaker to both George II of England and Louis XV of France. His business was carried on by his son, Thomas Bowen. He also trained many apprentices, two of whom became prominent mapmakers, Thomas Kitchin and Thomas Jeffreys.