1755 Prevost Antique Map of Wuhan in Hubei, China - Huangzhou & Hoang-Tcheou-Fou

Cartographer : Jacques Nicholas Bellin

  • Title: Plans De Quelques VIlles De La Province de Hou-Quang; Yong Tcheou Fou; Vou-Tchang-Fou; Hoang-Tcheou-Fou
  • Date: 1755
  • Size: 14in x 10in (355mm x 255mm)
  • Ref: 25540
  • Condition : (A+) Fine Condition

This fine, original copper-plate engraved antique map a birds-eye view of three walled cities of the central Chinese province of Hubei, Huangzhou, Wuhan & Hoang-Tcheou-Fou, on the Yangtze River, by Jakob van Schley in 1755 was published in Antoine François Prevosts 15 volumes of Histoire Generale des Voyageswritten by Prevost & other authors between 1746-1790.

Hubei or Hou-Quang is a province located in central China. Hubei means north of the lake, referring to its position north of Dongting Lake. The provincial capital is Wuhan, a major transportation thoroughfare and the political, cultural, and economic hub of Central China.
Hubei is an ancient name associated with the eastern part of the province since the Qin dynasty, after the powerful State of Chu that existed here during the Eastern Zhou dynasty. It borders Henan to the north, Anhui to the east, Jiangxito the southeast, Hunan to the south, Chongqing to the west, and Shaanxi to the northwest. The high-profile Three Gorges Dam is located at Yichang, in the west of the province.

Below is a description of each city & excerts from Jean Baptiste Du Haldes Description Geographique, Historique, Chronologique, Politique, et Physique de l\'Empire de la Chine published in 1735 of each city.

1. Yong tcheou fou - Huangzhou District is an urban district of Huanggang, Hubei, China. Huangzhou was previously a separate city which administered a prefecture in its own right.
The Seventh City, Yong tcheou fou. 
This city, the most Southern of the Province, is surrounded with Mountains, whose Verdure renders a very agreeable Prospect, and is situate on the Banks of a River, which not far from thence runs into the Siang kiang. The Water of this River is so clear and limpid, that in the deepest Places you may count the Stones and Flints that are at the Bottom : There grows plenty of Bamboos in some part of this District and in others the Lien hoa, with yellow Flowers : There are eight Cities in its Jurisdiction, one of the Second Order, and seven of the Third.
Besides these principal Cities, there are two of the Second Order, which are not subject to any Fou, or City of the First Order, and have each a Jurisdiction over other Cities : The first is called Tsin tcheou, and is on the Frontiers of the Province of Koei tcheou, it has in its District three Cities of the Third Order : The second is called Tching Tcheou, a very large and populous City, built between two Rivers ; five Cities of the Third Order are subject to it, all situated on the Frontiers of the City of Quang Tong : Tho\' this City is full of Mountains, yet they do not hinder its Cultivation.

2. Vou-Tchang-Fou - Wuhan - is the capital of Hubei province, China, and is the most populous city in Central China. It lies in the eastern Jianghan Plain at the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers.
With a 3,500-year-long history, Wuhan is one of the most ancient and civilized metropolitan cities in China. During the Han dynasty, Hanyang became a fairly busy port. In the winter of 208/9, one of the most famous battles in Chinese history and a central event in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms—the Battle of Red Cliffs—took place in the vicinity of the cliffs near Wuhan. Around that time, walls were built to protect Hanyang (AD 206) and Wuchang (AD 223). The latter event marks the foundation of Wuhan. In AD 223, the Yellow Crane Tower was constructed on the Wuchang side of the Yangtze River. Cui Hao, a celebrated poet of the Tang dynasty, visited the building in the early 8th century; his poem made it the most celebrated building in southern China. The city has long been renowned as a center for the arts (especially poetry) and for intellectual studies. Under the Mongol rulers (Yuan dynasty), Wuchang was promoted to the status of provincial capital; by the dawn of the 18th century, Hankou had become one of China\'s top four most important towns of trade.
The First City, and Capital of the Province, Vou chang fou
This is both the Capital of the Province, and the North Part of it, called Hou pe, where resides the Tsong tou of both Parts of this Province , it has under its particular Jurisdiction one City of the Second , Order, and nine of the Third.
Vou chang is almost in the Centre of the Empire, and situate in a Place which may most easily communicate with the rest of the Provinces. This City joined to Han yang, from which it is separated only by the Breadth of the River Yang tse kiang, and the little River Han forms a Place the best Peopled, and of the greatest Resort in China ; one may compare the Extent of this City to Paris, and Han Tang to Lyons, or Rouen: Add to this, an incredible Number of Barks of all Sizes, which lie some in one River, some in the other, for the length of French Leagues, to the number of eight or ten thousand Vessels, among which there are hundreds every way as large as the most part of those that lie at Nantz. Certainly, if one considers nothing else but this Forest of Masts which are upon the fine River Yang tse Kiang, about a League broad in this Place, tho\' it is 150 Leagues from the Sea, and deep enough for the greatest Vessels, it will justly raise our Wonder; but when one gains the Top of any Ascent, and discovers such a vast Extent of Ground covered with Houses, we should scarcely believe our won eyes, or at least must think it the finest Sight in the World.
One may judge, by the Number of Rivers and Lakes with which this Province is watered, how fruitful it is, and how easily the Trading with the rest of the Empire, by means of the great River Yang tse Kiang, must needs inrich it.
What is farther worthy of Observation, is the fine Cristal which is dug out of the Mountains, the plentiful Crops of the best Tea, and the extraordinary Demand for Bamboo Paper, which is manufactured here.

3. Hoang tcheou fou - The Eighth City.
The Situation of this City is on the Banks of the River Yang tse kiang ; its small distance from the Capital, and the Number of Lakes which surround it, render it a most agreeable Place for Habitation ; it is extremely well peopled, and for Trade gives place to few other Cities. There come there daily a surprising Number of Barks, loaded with all forts of Merchandize.
The whole District is admirably well cultivated, I and agreeably diversified by the Rivers and Brooks that Water it, as well as by the Mountains which bound it on the North ; some of these Mountains are covered with Trees, which are of great service to the Inhabitants ; there are also Fountains, which have the Property of giving Tea a delicious Taste.
There are taken in the River near the City great Numbers of Tortoises, some great, some small, which the Nobility keep in their Gardens for Diversion, and also at their Pleasure-Houses. They make excellent Arrack, which is very strong, and takes Fire in an Instant, and hath no bad Smell ; there are also very good Chestnuts, and very large. Its District: contains nine Cities, one of the Second Order, and eight of the Third. The South Part of the Province of Hou quang.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Early
Colors used: - Yellow, green, orange
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 14in x 10in (355mm x 255mm)
Plate size: - 12in x 8in (305mm x 205mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)

Margins: - None
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

One of Antoine Francois Prevosts monumental undertakings was his history of exploration & discovery in 15 volumes titledHistoire Générale des Voyages written between 1746-1759 and was extended to 20 volumes after his death by various authors.
The 20 volumes cover the early explorations & discoveries on 3 continents: Africa (v. 1-5), Asia (v. 5-11), and America (v. 12-15) with material on the finding of the French, English, Dutch, and Portugese.
A number of notable cartographers and engravers contributed to the copper plate maps and views to the 20 volumes including Nicolas Bellin, Jan Schley, Chedel, Franc Aveline, Fessard, and many others.
The African volumes cover primarily coastal countries of West, Southern, and Eastern Africa, plus the Congo, Madagascar, Arabia and the Persian Gulf areas.
The Asian volumes cover China, Korea, Tibet, Japan, Philippines, and countries bordering the Indian Ocean.
Volume 11 includes Australia and Antarctica.
Volumes 12-15 cover voyages and discoveries in America, including the East Indies, South, Central and North America.
Volumes 16-20 include supplement volumes & tables along with continuation of voyages and discoveries in Russia, Northern Europe, America, Asia & Australia.

Jakob van der Schley aka Jakob van Schley (1715 - 1779) was a Dutch draughtsman and engraver. He studied under Bernard Picart (1673-1733) whose style he subsequently copied. His main interests were engraving portraits and producing illustrations for \\\"La Vie de Marianne\\\" by Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux (1688-1763) published in The Hague between 1735 and 1747.
He also engraved the frontispieces for a 15-volume edition of the complete works of Pierre de Brantôme (1540-1614), \\\"Oeuvres du seigneur de Brantôme\\\", published in The Hague in 1740.
He is also responsible for most of the plates in the Hague edition of Prévosts Histoire générale des voyages. (Ref: Tooley; M&B)