After spending the past three weeks on display in Beijing, a 259-year-old map of Taiwan is to go under the hammer, an auction house in the capital said on Friday.
The "Complete Map of Taiwan Province of the Great Qing Dynasty" was owned by Emperor Qianlong (reigned AD 1735-1796), who is said to have kept it in his study. The map bears the seals of the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644-1911) emperor.
Consigned by an overseas collector, it will go up for auction at the Beijing Poly International Auction House in Beijing on November 30, with a reserve price of 3 million yuan (US$400,000).
Yang Yuliang, a researcher at the Palace Museum in Beijing, which is the administrative organ of the Forbidden City, said Bai Ying, the then governor of Taiwan, had the map completed in AD 1748 on the orders of the emperor.
After receiving it from the government of Fujian, which controlled Taiwan at that time, Qianlong put the map in his study. At the end of the Qing Dynasty, however, it fell into the hands of a private collector.
The map, which is 9.64 m long and 40 cm wide, was drawn using the brushwork of traditional Chinese paintings.
Nevertheless, it accurately shows the distances between the island and the mainland, as well as between major harbors and towns in Taiwan.
It also details harbors such as Tamsui and garrisons where soldiers were stationed during Qianlong's administration.
(China Daily November 3, 2007)