Maps and Atlases

Yudi Tu (Map of Imperial Territories)

Lost original drawn in colour on silk around the 7th to 8th year of the Zhengde Period (1512-1513) in Ming Dynasty; a re-sketched version based closely on the original made in the 5th year of the Jiajing Period (1526); the NLC's hand-drawn copy in hanging scroll format made in 1983.

The Yudi Tu is one of the finest extant samples of Ming maps showing the political and administrative divisions. It provides an overview of the territorial scope and divisions of the Ming Empire, with the coastline, courses of rivers, lakes, political subdivisions, etc., sketched and annotated in high accuracy. Using traditional Chinese cartographic conventions, all topographical features, as well as the historic sites and scenic spots were indicated pictorially. The Yudi Tu came to be a very influential cartographic work as its concept and presentation methods had a great impact on the sketching and production of a large number of Chinese maps later.