From ‘All Under Heaven’ to ‘China in the World’: Chinese Visual Imaginations from the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

  • Laura PflugEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography book series (LNGC)


The second half of the nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth century saw the encroachment of foreign powers on China combined with internal political and socio-economic crises, revolts and power struggles. The subsequent reshuffle of territorial control against the backdrop of the so-called global condition challenged Chinese intellectuals to confront a new worldview as well as geographical ideas and techniques from other countries. They had to reassess and enhance their geographic and cartographic knowledge, include new geographies, and question China’s position in the world. This process was accompanied by travel, study abroad, the translation of maps from other countries as well as the founding of Chinese geographical societies and the production of new Chinese maps. Based on Chinese cartographic images and atlases, this paper will examine visualizations of China in its place ‘under heaven’, as depicted on nineteenth-century maps of the tianxia 天下 variety, and cartographic representations of China and the world from the late Qing and Republican times, when China was in the process of reinventing and thus remapping itself. In addition, it will introduce some of the creators of these maps, whose biographies mirror intellectual and cartographic currents of their time.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz Institute for Regional GeographyLeipzigGermany

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