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0239 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 239 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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It occurred to me that an acceptable pendant to the map last noticed would be a copy of one showing the geography of the same period as it was conceived by the people of the time. The Carta Catalana of 1375, in the Imperial Library at Paris, as lithographed in vol. xiv, part ii, of the Notices et Extraits, with a description by MM. Buchon and Tastu, was the only model accessible ; but at the same time it is probably the best that could have been taken for the purpose. The original, as shown

in the lithographed facsimiles, is complicated and perplexed with many radiations of roses des Vents and other geometrical lines, with numerous

rude drawings and long rubrics, and by the fact that to read half the

names and inscriptions you have to turn the map upside down. All this, together with the character of the writing, renders the map as

published difficult to appreciate without considerable study, and it is trusted that the trouble taken to present its geographical substance here in a more lucid and compact form will not have been thrown away.

Those sheets of the map which pertain to Asia have alone been copied. The scale is one-fourth that of the original. All the embellishments,

geometrical lines, and long rubrics, have been omitted, preserving the

essential points of the latter, where it has been possible to do so in few words. On the shores of the Mediterranean and Black Sea, which are

thickly studded with names in the original, only a few have been selected, but in the remainder of the map scarcely any have been intentionally omitted except a few on the Caspian. In decyphering the names the printed transcripts of the French editors have been consulted, but not servilely followed.'

It may be observed that in the original facsimiles the sheets do not fit to one another properly. This is especially the case with sheets III and

iv, and is obvious even in my reduction, as may be seen in the frag-

ment shown of the Arctic Sea, and in the faulty junction of the coast lines of the Peninsula of India. We find also a pair of duplicate names

occurring in these two sheets (Chabol and Camar), besides other instances of apparent duplication in sheet iv. This is probably the result of inexpert compilation from different authorities, and I have seen the same thing in modern published maps of some pretension.

The date of the map has been fixed, on sufficient grounds I believe, to 1375 ; but the data from which it has been constructed are naturally not all of one period. Thus CATHAY is represented as the Empire of the Great Can HOLUBEIM ; i.e., not Oluq Beiy, as the French editors

' In the names extracted below there are I think scarcely any variations from the French readings, though corrections of the original have been suggested occasionally. But in Central Asia there are several open to amendment, as where they read Fista and Evi for Sistà and Eri, thus obscuring the otherwise obvious identification of the places Seistan and Hen or Herat.