Maps sharing the same cartographic conventions and metric properties are comprehensible independently of their toponym language, whereas a translation of toponyms and legends does not provide much help in understanding an "alien" cartographic image.
The proposed project is focussed on cases of fusing cardinally different cartographic languages: mapping East Asia by indigenous and European cartographies, which since the late sixteenth century became engaged in reciprocal translation process. Special attention will be paid to what stays untranslatable (including entire maps), what is supplemented and transformed.
The selected cartographic sources are of interest per se, all being poorly known or new for scholarly community. Among them are printed maps recently acquired by the MPIWG and manuscript items in the possession of the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB).
This study is part of a growing research trend seeking to elaborate formal methods of investigating maps, which rely on modern techniques of cartometric analysis and numerical modelling, as well as on techniques of analysing the materiality of maps (support, printing techniques, colours etc.). The goal is to reliably reconstruct filiation of congener maps, which among other characteristics make explicit fine links established between maps through reciprocal translations.
The three-year project (01.01.2019–31.12.2021) is hosted by the MPIWG, benefitting from its highly qualified IT Team. It is coordinated by Dagmar Schäfer (Director of the the MPIWG Dept. III), Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann (CNRS, France) and Yang Yulei (Zhejiang University, P.R.C).