Yao manuscript

Chart of the Journey to Rebirth”, from the Yao manuscript Cod. Sin. 925 of the BSB. Thomas Ottfried Höllmann und Michael Friedrich (eds.), Botschaften an die Götter. Religiöse Handschriften der Yao; Südchina, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar. (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1999), 87.

Project (2021)

Geographical Maps and Religious Charts in Pre-Modern China: Two Case Studies

My research project is titled “Geographical Maps and Religious Charts in Pre-Modern China: Two Case Studies.” The proposed study is focused on two interrelated themes dealing with the representation of space with the help of maps and charts from pre-modern China. The first theme is concerned with the large-scale gnomonic survey performed by the Tantric monk Yi-Xing 一行 (683–727) in the Tang dynasty (618–907), while the second one is aimed at analysis of cosmological diagrams in the religious books of the Yao ethnic group 瑤族 residing in Southern China and of Southeast Asia. Both topics are related to the project “Translation Terroirs: East Asia between Autochthonous and Western cartographic languages,” one of its major themes being the metaphor of “maps as translations.” The study of these two topics will amply contribute to building a typology of East Asian maps which has been investigated in the framework of the “Translation Terroirs” project, and, in particular, to distinguish between (a) maps with a mathematical background issued from autochthonous traditions and (b) cartographic diagrams similar to relational tree diagrams. The proposed typology of maps will be related to their classification by “translatability.”