Finely executed map of Chinese Mongolia, prepared by a Jesuit Missionary in circa 1880. This extremely interesting map contains marvelous and unparalleled detail, showing the region from Beijing and the Bohai Sea to the Mongolian steppe with a trove of notes relating to Chinese control, French outposts, and more.
The map was drawn during the Jesuit Missionary period following the first Opium War, which reopened China to Christian influence. However, dating the map further is difficult. The appearance of "Banners" (discussed further below) dates the map to the Qing Dynasty (pre-1911). Unfortunately, none of the toponyms used appear to give further useful dating constraints. Based on the style of writing and cartography, the map looks like it was most likely drawn in the 1880s, but the range remains from 1852 to 1911.
The map provides an important amount of primary source detail on Chinese and foreign activity in this region at the time. The Mission de San-tao-ho is located, as are the areas affected by the ancient (16th- to 18th-century) French and Portuguese Missions. Toponyms, geographic details, and more are all shown.
From a domestic standpoint, one of the most interesting features shown on the map are the "banners" shown on the map, namely the Yellow Banner, the Blue Banner, and the Red Banner. Drawing from the traditional structure of the Chinese army, these refer to a complex socio-political structure that allowed for the division and easier rule of Mongol peoples. Most Mongol residents of Inner Mongolia were divided into these banners, each with a color and a certain territory. Mongols pertaining to one banner were unable to leave their region without applying for passports, which were only sometimes granted. These restrictions were gradually lifted over the course of the 19th century as Mongols became Sinicized.
Library stamp in the lower left, and mark in the lower right. The map comes from a large collection of manuscript maps de-accessioned by a German Jesuit library sometime in the 1980s. The collection was acquired by a well-known German map dealer and over the years we have seen hundreds of maps from all parts of the world with same markings.