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7
SOME NOTES ON THE GEOGRAPHICAL
AND CARTOGRAPHICAL IMPACTS FROM
PERSIA TO CHINA
The Persian Gulf as Depicted in The Map of
Integrated Regions and Terrains and of Historical
Countries and Capitals and The Map of Persia in
the Nuzhat Al-Qulb of Hamdallah Mustawf
Ralph Kauz
The main aim of these notes is to compare one specic geographical
region of the two in the caption-mentioned maps, the Persian Gulf
and its Iranian shores, though these two examples of IranianMongolian and Chinese-Mongolian-Korean cartographical scholarship
differ in their principal concepts. Both, however, are prime examples
of cartographical achievements in Asia under Mongol rule. Thus, it
seems justied to use them for a case study to inspect the transfer
of geographical and topographical knowledge from Iran to China.
Because the concepts of these two maps are signicantly diverse, I
will compare their overall shapes, and the place names of the map
prepared in Western Asia and the other prepared in the East.
Geographical knowledge was certainly transferred in addition to pure
cartographical information, and the names of places in Western Asia
abound in Chinese texts of the Yuan and Ming periods.1 Such
information, however, shall not be considered here.
One of the most astonishing documents of the scientic and
cultural interrelations between Il-Khanate Iran and Yuan China is the
report on the Instruments of the Western Regions which

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was produced by a certain Jaml al-Dn in 1267. These


instruments are already discussed in Needhams monumental work2
and in other places. But the description of a peculiarly interesting
one among these seven instruments, which are listed in the Yuanshi3
shall be cited in full because it reflects, as few other relics do, the
range of scientific transfer:4
INSTRUMENTS OF THE WESTERN REGIONS
In 1267, Jaml al-Dn produced instruments of the Western
Regions [. . .] Gulaiyi a'erzi [koreh-ye ar], which are, in Chinese,
called geographical records. It is made of wood, which is formed
into a ball, 7 parts are water; their colour is green, 3 parts are
land, and colour is white. Streams, rivers, lakes, and seas are
drawn, and they cross like veins through it. Small squares are
drawn, and they are used for measuring the circumference and
the distance of the routes.
Though this is probably the first mention of a terrestrial globe after
antiquity, it scarcely had an impact on the Chinese understanding of
the world. The next globes, based in part on Chinese cartography, were
produced only by the Jesuits in the seventeenth century. It should be
stressed that though the two words describing the globe are of Arab
origin, the attributive relation between them and the pronunciation is
clearly Persian and thus points towards the probable origin of the
globe, the astronomical centre of Maragha, in northwestern Iran.5 Some
significant features of the globe such as the longitudes and latitudes
drawn on it probably the squares mentioned in the text were
not incorporated into Chinese cartography. They retained the grid
system.6 The understanding of the shape of the world differed.
Nevertheless, the globe made by Jaml al-Dn may have evoked the
importance and impacts of influences from the West Asian world into
China. However, the globe may have also influenced Chinese
cartography concerning Western Asia and Europe, as Walter Fuchs
suggested years ago. Jaml al-Dn was probably ordered to compile a
geography of the empire, giving further evidence for such cartographic
influence on Chinese cartography.7

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Two Chinese maps of the Mongol period remain extant; the first
of these is discussed by Hyunhee Park in this volume and shall thus
only be briefly mentioned. It is a grid map found in the Yuan jingshi
dadian (1329) and displays the northwestern part of the
Mongolian empire in an abstract form: the place or tribe names were
written on small squares, no rivers or mountains were shown and
only borders were marked with thicker lines.8 This type of map has
been labelled as Mongolian style.9 Remarkably similar maps can be
found in the western parts of Asia. The first of these Mongolian style
maps was probably drawn by Qub al-Dn al-Shrz, who presented
such a map of the Mediterranean to the Il-Khanate ruler in 1289.
Squares replaced the grades of the longitudes and the latitudes, and
the map may have propelled the invention of Portolan charts.10
The map in the Yuan jingshi dadian shows astonishing parallels to
a West Asian map. The map of Persia by the historian and geographer
Hamdallh Mustawf (12811349) was published in his Nuzhat al-qulb.
This map is unique because it is the first one in which the
geographical location of the different cities is marked by an underlaid
grid, and places can thus be more or less exactly located.11 In this
geographical work, a world map can be found which is also covered
by a grid.12 This map may have been based on the lost map of the
famous scholar al-Brn (9731048), who mastered, among other
disciplines, mathematics and cartography. Another possible successor
of al-Brns cartographical achievements is the world map of Hfizi Abr (d.1430).13 The maps of Hamdallh Mustawf and Hfiz-i Abr
both show coarse coordinate systems.
In these notes, the focus will be on the region of the Persian Gulf
(named Bahr-i Frs) whose contour is only approximately drawn on
Mustawfs map, but some places near the coastline are indicated. To
start with the eastern part of the Arab Peninsula: first Umn is found,
and then up north Bahrain, Abadn and Basra are written in one square,
further east Shrz, Lr, Hormz, and finally the great port of Sind
Daibul (modern Bhambore).14 The Chinese map of the Yuan jingshi dadian
shows some similarities, although the Persian Gulf is not marked on
it.15 We first find Bahrain (Bahalayin ), followed by Qish (Qieshi
) further north. Hormuz (Hulimuzi) is not marked in the
map, but is found in the list of toponyms in the Yuanshi.16 This may

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indicate that Mustawf, in contrast to the unknown compiler of the


Chinese map, was aware that Qish had lost the struggle of dominance
of trade in the Persian Gulf against Hormuz in the early fourteenth
century.17 Furthermore, we nd the important city in the hinterland,
Shrz (Xielashi or Shelazi ),18 also Kzarn (Kezalong
). To sum up, both maps are very sketchy for the Persian Gulf, and
they do not do justice to the importance of this region in maritime
trade and interactions. It seems that Mustawf was slightly better
informed, but he focused as the compiler of the Chinese map on the
mainland of Iran rather than on the shores of the Persian Gulf, which
may reect the segregation between the semi-independent emporia
and the Mongol dominion inside Iran.
We shall now turn to the so-called Korean World Map, or the Map
of Integrated Regions and Terrains and of Historical Countries and
Capitals (Chinese: Hunyi jiangli lidai guodu zhi tu, Korean: Honil gangli
yeokdae gukdo jido , referred to below as the
Map of Integrated Regions). This map was rst analysed by Aoyama
Sadao .19 Walter Fuchs wrote a basic work on map-making of
that period. His work, however, rather focuses on the Guangyu tu
.20 Joseph Needham gave this map a prominent place in his volume on
mathematics, astronomy, and geography.21 Recently, more in-depth studies
were conducted by the Japanese scholars Miya Noriko and
Sugiyama Masaaki .22 Sugiyamas work is of special interest
here, because he identies a number of names in the western section of
this map. Moreover, a conference on this map was held in Nanjing
University in summer 2008.23 Probably four copies of this map are extant
in Japan; the most important one is stored in the library of Rykoku
University (1470), and the other in the Honk Temple in the
city of Shimabara (167380).24 The history of the Map of Integrated
Regions will be briey mentioned here: The origin of the map goes
ultimately back to two Chinese maps, one of which was made by Li
Zemin (ca. 1330) and the Hunyi jiangli tu by Qing Jun
(ca.1370). These two maps were brought to Korea by the
ambassador Jin Shiheng , where they were combined into a new
map, the Map of Integrated Regions, by Li Hui and Quan Jin
in 1402.25 How they found their way to Japan is not clear. The Da Ming
hunyi tu , which was produced in the early years of the Ming
Dynasty, must be closely related to the Map of Integrated Regions.

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If we look at the Map of Integrated Regions, what strikes us first


is the massive block of China in the middle, with no separate Indian
subcontinent. It seems obvious that Korea is depicted as an oversized
peninsula because the map was drawn in Korea. There are other
features of the map that are also worth noting. For example, the
southern tip of Africa was already pointed south in this early period;
moreover, the Mediterranean was not coloured as the other seas were
and thus not recognised as a sea by the copyist. The Middle East is
here of peculiar interest. We can identify the Arabian Peninsula, the
Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf; a huge number of place names can be
found in modern Iraq, Iran, and adjacent regions (only a few were
identified by Sugiyama), but not on the Arabian Peninsula, whose
southern part is completely blank, as is, on the opposite side, the
northern part of India. Important cities in Arabia are placed far north
on the peninsula; Aden (Hadan )26 is found almost on the
northern end of this sea, other places such as Mecca (Mahe )
and al-Tif (Taiyi ) only about 70 kilometers from each other
are marked not far away, though the linear distance is well over
1000 kilometers. The depictions in the Map of Integrated Regions
of the Arabian Peninsula, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the
Arabian Sea can only be described as far from accurate.
Another astonishing feature of this area on the map is that the
Persian Gulf is enormously oversized; a large round island is drawn
in the middle of this big sea, but simply named Sea Island (Haidao
). Which island was it? One of the important emporia of this
period, Qish or Hormuz or perhaps Soqotra? It is impossible to answer
this question given the present state of our knowledge. The size and
the shape of the Persian Gulf resemble no other contemporary map;
perhaps it, in part, matches with the cartographical concept of alIshtakhr, whose map of the tenth century expands the Persian Gulf
to the entire Indian Ocean.27 The maps of Nasr al-Dn Ts (1274) and
the world map of Mustawf show the Persian Gulf in a very small
size.28 The following places can be found on the Map of Integrated
Regions: Khrk? (Halafake ), Srf? (Shilixing ), Shrz
(Shilasi ), Bam (Ban ), Kirmn (Qimoman ) and ufr?
(Waifala ).29 Many more toponyms, which Sugiyama identified,
can be found on the map, but the commercial and maritime centres
of that period, Qish and Hormuz, cannot be found among them,

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though this may be due to inadequate research. However, Hormuz


and Qish are respectively named on the Persian Gulf map of Mustawf
and on the Yuan jingshi dadian map, and their importance during the
Mongol period is thus known. The knowledge about the geographical
situation of the western part of the Indian Ocean was clearly
transferred to China, as were geographical works and treatises.
In sum, the Map of Integrated Regions is of major interest not only
for the cartography traditions of China and the Mongols, but also for
that of the Arabic and Iranian world, because all toponyms in the western
section of the map are transcriptions of Arabic and Persian names. But
it remains unclear if the contemporary geopolitical situation was
considered when the map and its predecessors were prepared in the
course of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The western tradition
of the Map of Integrated Regions seems to recur rather on particular
cartographical concepts, which are not yet completely explored. Jaml
al-Dn indeed played a crucial role in the genesis of this important map.

NOTES
1. See, for example, the list of the Northwest Region given in
Song Lian et al., Yuanshi (Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1976), 63:
pp. 156774; see also Ralph Kauz and Roderich Ptak, Hormuz in Yuan
and Ming Sources, Bulletin de l'cole franaise d'Extrme-Orient 88 (2001),
pp. 2775.
2. Joseph Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 3, Mathematics and the
Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth (Cambridge: University Press, 1959),
pp. 37278.
3. Yuanshi, 48: pp. 99899. Liu Yingsheng adds three more which are
cited in other places; see Liu Yingsheng, A Lingua Franca along the Silk
Road: Persian Language in China between the 14th and the 16th
Centuries, in Aspects of the Maritime Silk Road: From the Persian Gulf to the
East China Sea, edited by Ralph Kauz, East Asian Maritime History 10
(Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010), pp. 8990.
4. See the translation in Walter Fuchs, The Mongol Atlas of China by Chu Ssupen and the Kuang-Y-Tu, Monumenta Serica Monograph VIII (Peiping: Fu
Jen University, 1946), p. 5.

[. . .]

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5. Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 3, pp. 37475.


6. Walter Fuchs (The Mongol Atlas of China, p. 5, n. 7) states that Arab maps
were not grided and neither was the globe. He suggests that the Chinese
grid system (mesh-net system as he says) was the base of the squares.
7. Fuchs, The Mongol Atlas of China, p. 11; Fuat Sezgin, Geschichte des
arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 10, Mathematische Geographie und Kartographie im
Islam und ihr Fortleben im Abendland: Historische Darstellung, Teil 1 (Frankfurt
am Main: Institut fr Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften
an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitt, 2000), p. 312.
8. For a thorough research on the place names of this map, see Emil
Bretschneider, Mediaeval Researches From Eastern Asiatic Sources, vol. 2 (New
Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 2001, after the original edition
London: Kegan Paul, 1887), pp. 3136.
9. Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 3, pp. 552, 554.
10. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 10, pp. 31214.
11. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 10, pp. 199202, and Fuat
Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 12, Mathematische Geographie
und Kartographie im Islam und ihr Fortleben im Abendland: Kartenband
(Frankfurt am Main: Institut fr Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen
Wissenschaften an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitt, 2000), p. 38,
no. 16a. This map was also published in Konrad Miller, Mappae Arabicae,
2 vols. (Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1986).
12. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 12, p. 37, no. 16.
13. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 12, p. 39, no. 17;
Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 10, pp. 13032.
14. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 10, pp. 20001; Sezgin,
Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 12, p. 38, no. 16a.
15. Bretschneider, Mediaeval Researches, vol. 2, map.
16. Bretschneider, Mediaeval Researches, pp. 13035; Yuan shi, 63: p. 1571.
17. Jean Aubin, Les princes dOrmuz du XIIIe au XVe sicle, Journal Asiatique
241 (1953), pp. 10006.
18. Bretschneider puts Xielashi for Shrz and Shelazi for Shulistn
(Bretschneider, Mediaeval Researches, vol. 2, pp. 12729) which may be
doubted.
19. For bibliographical references see Needham, Science and Civilisation in China,
vol. 3, p. 724.
20. See Fuchs, The Mongol Atlas of China.

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21. Needham, Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 3, pp. 55456.


22. Miya Noriko, Konitsu kyri rekidai kokuto no zu heno michi: 14 seiki
shimei chiho no chi no yukue
[An approach to The Map of Integrated
Regions and Terrains and of Historical Countries and Capitals: The
traces of the knowledge of the fourteenth-century Siming region],
Mongoru jidai no shuppan bunka [The publishing
culture of the Mongol period) (Nagoya: Nagoya University Press
, 2006], pp. 487651; and Sugiyama Masaaki , Daichi
no ShzEzu Chizu ga kataru sekai
[Portrait of the Earth: The world described by pictorial maps and
geographical maps], eds. Fujii Jji , Kinda Akihiro ,
and Sugiyama Masaaki (Kyoto: Kyoto Daigaku Gakujutsu
Shuppamkai , 2007), pp. 54-69 (I would like to thank
Hyunhee Park for helping me in handling the Japanese maps).
23. The Institute of Korean Studies, Nanjing University, ed., International
Conference on the topography and the Knowledge of World Geography in Medieval
East Asia: Focusing on Kwon Keun and Yi Hues World Map and the Da Ming
Hunyi Tu (Unpublished conference proceedings, 2008).
24. See the outlines of these maps in Sugiyama, Daichi no Shz, pp. 45051.
25. Fuchs, The Mongol Atlas of China, pp. 910.
26. All identifications according to Sugiyama, Daichi no Shz, pp. 5859.
27. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol.12, p. 31, no.10.
28. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol.12, p. 36, no.15, p. 37, no.16.
29. All identifications again according to Sugiyama, Daichi no Shz, pp. 5859.

REFERENCES
Aubin, Jean. Les princes dOrmuz du XIIIe au XVe sicle. Journal Asiatique
241 (1953): 77138.
Bretschneider, Emil. Mediaeval Researches From Eastern Asiatic Sources, vol. 2.
New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 2001, after the original
edition London: Kegan Paul, 1887.
Fuchs, Walter. The Mongol Atlas of China by Chu Ssu-pen and the Kuang-Y-Tu.
Monumenta Serica Monograph VIII. Peiping: Fu Jen University, 1946.
The Institute of Korean Studies, Nanjing University, ed., International
Conference on the topography and the Knowledge of World Geography in Medieval
East Asia: Focusing on Kwon Keun and Yi Hues World Map and the Da Ming
Hunyi Tu. Unpublished conference proceedings, 2008.
Kauz, Ralph and Roderich Ptak. Hormuz in Yuan and Ming Sources. Bulletin
de l'cole franaise d'Extrme-Orient 88 (2001): 2775.

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Liu, Yingsheng. A Lingua Franca along the Silk Road: Persian Language in
China between the 14th and the 16th Centuries. In Aspects of the Maritime
Silk Road: From the Persian Gulf to the East China Sea, edited by Ralph Kauz,
pp. 87-96. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010.
Miller, Konrad. Mappae Arabicae, 2 vols. Wiesbaden: Reichert, 1986.
Miya Noriko .Konitsu kyri rekidai kokuto no zu heno michi: 14
seiki shimei chiho no chi no yukue
[An approach to The Map of
Integrated Regions and Terrains and of Historical Countries and Capitals:
The traces of the knowledge of the fourteenth-century Siming region].
Mongoru jidai no shuppan bunka [The publishing
culture of the Mongol period]. Nagoya: Nagoya University Press, 2006.
Needham, Joseph. Science and Civilisation in China, vol. 3, Mathematics and the
Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, 1959.
Sezgin, Fuat. Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 10, Mathematische
Geographie und Kartographie im Islam und ihr Fortleben im Abendland:
Historische Darstellung, Teil 1. Frankfurt am Main: Institut fr Geschichte
der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften an der Johann Wolfgang GoetheUniversitt, 2000.
____. Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, vol. 12, Mathematische Geographie und
Kartographie im Islam und ihr Fortleben im Abendland: Kartenband. Frankfurt
am Main: Institut fr Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften
an der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitt, 2000.
Song Lian et al., Yuanshi [History of the Yuan Dynasty]. Beijing:
Zhonghua shuju, 1976.
Sugiyama Masaaki , Daichi no ShzEzu Chizu ga kataru sekai
[Portrait of the Earth: The world
described by pictorial maps and geographical paps]. Edited by Fujii Jji
, Kinda Akihiro , and Sugiyama Masaaki .
Kyoto: Kyoto Daigaku Gakujutsu Shuppamkai, 2007.