Song Liming - Maria Luisa Giorgi

The work we have undertaken consisted in the identification of the toponyms pertaining to the 'sheng'· ('provinces'), 'fu'· ('prefectures') and 'zhou '· ('subprefectures'), which in Michele Ruggieri's maps are transcribed using the Latin alphabet and a pronunciation based prevalently on the dialect of southern China. Of the above toponyms, the following are the original Chinese versions in ideograms, and the pinyin transcription officially adopted in the People's Republic of China.

It is obvious that the Atlante della Cina (Atlas of China) attributed to Michele Ruggieri made use of Chinese maps as direct sources, and specifically the Ming· era Guangyu tu, · of which several editions are still extant.

The edition we have used here for our work is the one held at the Harvard Yenching Library, which, according to Walter Fuchs, can be dated to 1566. 1 In fact, proof for this affirmation can be found, for example, in the fact that, as yet, there is no prefecture of Longan fu· in the province of Sichuan. · The prefecture in question was constituted that very year. 2

Along with this edition of the Guangyu tu, we have also used the edition held at the University of Fudan, · Shanghai, · the publication date for which is, however, difficult to determine. 3 We will therefore limit ourselves here to providing the results of our comparisons between Ruggieri's maps and the Harvard edition (K.1566).

These two atlases are very similar, and yet there are quite a few differences.

Simply limiting ourselves the work we have undertaken (see above), we can see that the 'fu' and the 'zhou' are identical in terms of number and denomination for seven provinces, and that is for Beijing, · Nanjing, · Shandong, · Shanxi, · Zhejiang, · Jiangxi· and Huguang. ·

As for the remaining provinces, the differences are given below, province by province, except for Guangxi, · for which Michele Ruggieri provides a map but no relative data.

— Shanxi sheng: · Jinzhou· (prefecture Hanzhong fu)· in K.1566. In Michele Ruggieri's maps it is given with the name of "Xing'an zhou",· which it acquired in 1583. 4 What's more, Qinzhou· in K.1566 (prefecture of Gongchang fu) · is given by Michele Ruggieri as "Tai zhou" [Taizhou]. · As the ideograms 'qin' · and 'tai'· are easily confused, this is obviously a mistake. Other errors in reading of this type have been referred to in the notes on the individual toponyms. In some cases, albeit not many, the Chinese toponyms are quite different from Michele Ruggieri's transcriptions. In these cases, we used the geographical collocation Michele Ruggieri himself gives in order to identify the toponym.

— Henan sheng: · Junzhou· (Kaifeng fu)· in K.1566. In Michele Ruggieri's maps it is given with the name "Yu zhou" [Yuzhou], · which it assumed in 1575. 5

— Sichuan sheng: · in Michele Ruggieri's maps there are three 'fu' more than in K.1566, and specifically "Longan fu",· "Wumeng fu"· and "Wusan fu".· As for Longan fu, this prefecture was instituted in 1566, as we said above. As for Wumeng fu and Wusan fu, these were constituted at the beginning of the Ming dynasty, that is at the end of the fourteenth century, as one of the 'tufu',· that is prefectures inhabited by non-Han minorities. These two 'fu' are also given in The Historical Atlas of China. 6 What's more, the five subprefectures dependent on the prefecture of Dongchuan fu· in K.1566, and that is "Jiading zhou"[Jiadingzhou], · Mei zhou"[Meizhou], ·"Hu zhou"[Huzou], ·"Qiong zhou"[Qiongzhou]· and "Ya zhou"[Yazhou]· are given by Michele Ruggieri as belonging to "Wusan fu", obviously due to an oversight.

— Guangdong sheng: · in Michele Ruggieri's maps there is one 'zhou 'more than in K.1566, "Luoding zhou",· the temporal evolution of which is not known.

— Yunnan Sheng: · in Michele Ruggieri's maps there is one 'zhou' less than in K.1566, Tengyue zhou, · which was probably forgotten due to an oversight by the author.

— Guizhou sheng: · K.1566 has ten 'fu', while there is one fewer in Michele Ruggieri's maps, Chengfan fu. · The first 'fu' in K.1566 is Xuanwei, · while in Michele Ruggieri it is "Guiyang";· according to the Ci Hai, · this name was assumed by Chengfan fu in 1569. 7 What's more, Michele Ruggieri has, in the prefecture of "Liping fu",· four 'zhou' more than K.1566: "Puan",·"Yongning",·"Zhenning"· and "Anshun",· which is also consistent with what is given in The Historical Atlas of China. 8

What's more, another difference between Michele Ruggieri's maps and K.1566 is the way in which 'sheng', 'fu' and 'zhou' are listed.

It is obvious from what has just been affirmed that Michele Ruggieri was familiar with information available after the 1566 Guangyu tu, and that he therefore had access to other sources, not necessarily cartographic sources, after this date.

Translated from the Italian by: Salvatore Mele

For the original source of the English revised translation see:

LIMING, Song - GIORGI, Maria Luisa, Nota alla identificazione dei toponimi cinesi, in SARDO, Eugenio Lo, ed., "Atlante della Cina di Michelle Ruggieri, S. I.", Roma, Archivio di Stato di Roma - Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato - Libreria dello Stato, 1993, pp.121-122.


1 FUCHS, Walter, The "Mongol Atlas " of China by Chu Ssu-pen and the Kuang-yü-t'u, with 48 facsimile maps dating from about 1555, in "Monumenta Serica / Journal of Oriental Studies of the Catholic University of Peking", Peiping, Fu Jen University, 1946, p. 19 note 72.

2 Ci Hai «辞海» (Encyclopaedic Dictionary), Shanghai 上海, 1980, p.1656.

3 According to the Preface to K.1799, this edition was presumably prepared on the basis of "an old engraved edition from the Ming dynasty." (see: Kuang-yü-t'u [Guangyu tu]广舆图, Taibei 台北, 1969, p.2 [photographic reproduction]). As it is practically identical to the Shanghai edition, the latter might well be the old Ming edition. As, in the Henan· province, we have the subprefecture Yuzhou·which was constituted in 1575 to replace Junzhou, · the publication date must logically be after 1575. What's more, in the province of Shanxi, we are given the subprefecture of Jinzhou· which changed its name to Xingan zhou· after 1583, which makes 1583 the terminus ante quem for the publication of the edition. Now, according to Walter Fuchs, there was only one edition of the Kuang-yü-t'u· between 1575 and 1583, and that is in 1579. Besides, it is in the 1579 edition that the Great Wall is included for the first time, present in the Shanghai edition. It would therefore seem that the Kuang-yüt'u held in Shanghai is the 1579 edition were it not for the fact that the seventh Preface, which according to Walter Fuchs was added to this edition, is not present. In fact, the Prefaces to the Shanghai and Harvard editions are identical in terms of contents, and differ only in terms of the order in which they are given. The only question is whether there was not another edition between 1575 and 1583 apart from the 1579 edition.

4 Ci Hai «辞海», op. cit., pp. 1690-1691.

Also see: The Historical Atlas of China, vol. VII, pp.59-60.

5 Ci Hai «辞海», op. cit., p.88.

6 The Historical Atlas of China, vol. VII, pp.62-63.

7 Ci Hai «辞海», op. cit., p. 1426.

8 The Historical Atlas of China, vol. VII, pp.80-81 — Where it is stated that this was the situation in 1582.

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