This is a collection of distinctive and unusual historical scrolls, maps, and posters found in Brown University Rockefeller Library’s East Asian Collection. The collection includes the following:
- A set of undated historical maps produced in Taiwan, most likely created during the 1950s and 1960s. Through 27 illustrative maps, the set highlights some of the major historical moments and events from the Ming dynasty to the retreat to Taiwan in 1949 of the government of the Republic of China under the leadership of Chiang Kai-shek.
The maps in the set are of varying dimensions. They appear to have been designed as hanging scrolls. The set may be one of only two held in the United States, with the other listed in Princeton University’s collection.
- Another unusual item is a set of three over-sized posters, originally in scroll form. The set is also undated, and is most likely to have been produced in the final years of the Qing dynasty during the early 1900s. Two of these posters illustrate every coin issued in every dynasty throughout China’s dynastic history. The illustrations include the front and back of each coin, complete with clear images of the patterns on the coins’ surfaces. The third poster attempts to illustrate the similarities between Chinese characters and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. The three posters are believed to be part of a single set, primarily because of their similarities in overall design: fake-wood borders, bilingual Chinese-English titles, and a similar body design. The posters appear to have been produced by hand. We have not been able to find the same items in holdings outside of Brown University.
- This Imperial Qing dynasty map is dated 1814. It is actually a composite map consisting of eight equal-sized hanging scrolls. Our current holding is missing the second scroll. The composite map is a black and white woodblock print produced in the southern city of Fuzhou. Versions of this map can be found in a number of places across the globe, but that Brown’s particular copy was made in Fuzhou is considered unusual.