# 18615

Hōshūdō (publisher)

五大州知恵板 (五大洲智惠板) [Godaishū Chie no Ita] (The Puzzle of the 5 Continents)

$1,250.00 AUD

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[Tokyo] : Published by宝集堂(寳集堂) [Hōshūdō], [1873] (Meiji 6). Colour woodblock print, 660 x 820 mm, 220 x 135 mm (folded); bound in the original yellow wrappers with title slip labeled 五大洲智恵能以多; in fine condition.

This map shows the outline of the major landmasses of the world. At the time, there was a school of thought which split the world into five continents. Asia, which included the Arabian Peninsula and Russia east of the Urals; Europe; Africa; Australia, including New Zealand; and America, which included both North and South America as well as Greenland. These five ‘continents’ were thus likened to blocks, and the present map showed how these blocks were assembled to shape the world map. (Chie no ita are small wooden blocks which can be used to construct different shapes, sometimes issued as puzzles in which one is challenged to make a particular shape given certain blocks. They are equivalent to today’s tangrams, the small wooden blocks children may use in school to construct shapes or study geometry).

The layout is in the traditional Japanese fashion, with Japan towards the centre of the map. The only colour is the light blue around the outlines of the landmasses. The only labeled landmasses outside of Japan are the Philippines, Singapore, and the Arctic – with Greenland identified – and Antarctica. The labeled Japanese islands including the northern territories which were occupied by Russia at the end of WWI – the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin. There is a line around the Ural Mountain Range, extending down through the Caspian Sea. This serves to split of the ‘continent’ of Asia from that of Europe.

The descriptive text was written by 三驚迂子 (seemingly an alternative name for Takamizawa Shigeru 高見沢茂)

Another example is held in the National Diet Library.

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