Fenye map

二十八宿分野 皇明各省地輿總圖

Ershiba xiu Feye Huang Ming gesheng diyu zongtu

“The comprehensive general map of the Fenye correlation between the 28 logdes with the ‘provinces’-sheng of the Imperial Ming”

The only surviving copy of this map is posessed by the Leiden University Library, shelfmark: Acad 226, see Koos Kuiper, Catalogue of Chinese and Sino-Western Manuscripts in the Central Library of Leiden University (Leiden : Leiden University Library, 2005).


Project (2022-2024)

Popular Ming Field Allocation Maps: Between Origins and Afterlife

Subject and Goals:

The proposed research is concerned with maps of field-allocation (fenye 分野) found across the popular Ming encyclopaedia, beginning from the early seventeenth century. The field-allocation is a system of relationships between terrestrial space, more precisely the territory of the Chinese imperial realm, and celestial space. A correlation is established between the units of administrative territorial divisions of the Chinese Empire and the twenty-eight lunar lodges (ershiba xiu 二十八宿). The correlative cosmology is a well-known instrument of divination characteristic of the Chinese culture. Yet, the maps in question, despite being authentic visual sources on the earth-heavens correspondences, are more often than not overlooked.

The main goals of the study are to trace the conceptual origins of the field-allocation maps back to the early Chinese cosmography in all their complexity; to determine the reasons of the emergence of popular field-allocation maps in the early seventeenth century and study their specific usage for divination; and, finally, to call attention to the evolution and a long-term after-life of the field-allocation type maps up to the early twentieth century equally overlooked in scholarly literature.