Qing Period Scroll of the road from Baoji to Qipanguan (Shaanxi-Sichuan border)
The images described on this page make up a complete scan of a 17 metre (55 foot) long scroll preserved and held by the Geography & Map Division of the US Library of Congress. The scroll map shows the main (postal) road from the Wei River valley of Shaanxi Province (陕西省 )[i] to the border with Shu (Sichuan) in the Qing Period. It is read from right to left and starts at the then walled city of Baoji (宝鸡) in Shaanxi to finish on the border between Shaanxi and Sichuan Province (四川省) at a place called Qipanguan (七盘关). There is a section of the road including Mianxian (勉县) and Gu Yangpingguan (古阳平关) that is missing from the scroll, but that does not detract from the overall value of the map. It was purchased by Arthur W. Hummel (Heng Muyi, 恒慕义) in China in 1930.
Basic information provided about the scroll by the Library of Congress says:
‘The map, a hand-colored panoramic pictorial drawing designed as guide for travelers, covers Shaanxi Province to "Shu Dao" in Shanxi-Sichuan border, and depicts the north section of the Shaanxi-Sichuan road. It illustrates settlements along the road, stopover places, courier stations, inns and temples, mountain passes, walled cities, bridges, wooden trestles, and places of interest.’
Further details provided by the Library of Congress include:
‘A Cartobibliography edited by Li Xiaocong and Published in Beijing (See Library of Congress Catalog Card here) [i] describes the scroll as a hand-colored panoramic pictorial drawing, ca. 1751-1820, designed as an itinerary guide for travelers from the north. It measures 31 x 1672 cm, and covers Shanxi Province to "Shu Dao" in Shanxi-Sichuan border. It depicts the north section of the Shaanxi-Sichuan road, and is to be read from right to left. The map illustrates settlements along the road, stop over places, courier stations, inns and temples, mountain passes, walled cities, bridges, wooden trestles, and places of interest. The areas where wooden trestles were used to support the road are also indicated.
Publications and Translations that provide information about the scroll
Paper by Herold J Wiens (1949): The first person in the west to discuss this scroll map was Herold J. Wiens in his 1949 Thesis. The scroll is also referenced in Herold J. Wiens' article "The Shu Tao or Road to Sichuan", Geographical Review, 39 (1949), pp. 584-604.’
Herold J Weins 1949 article can be accessed as a PDF (2.2MB) HERE
Cartobibliography compiled by Li (2004): Prof. Li Xiaocong was invited by the US Library of Congress to examine the Hummel Collection of Chinese scroll maps and other material and compile a Cartobibliography for publication. The book was published in Beijing in 2004 and contains an entry for the “The Shu Road from Shaanxi to the Sichuan Border”. The full reference is provided and the Chinese and English entries for the map are available. As the two entries are different, the Chinese entry has been translated.
Li Xiaocong (Ed) (2004). “Summaries of holdings in the US
Library of Congress' Collection of ancient Chinese maps”, Beijing, Cultural
Press, October 2004. (Chinese and English)
The text for the entries relating to the present scroll map in Li (2004) can be accessed as a PDF File (59KB) HERE.
Paper by Bi and Li (2004): A more comprehensive paper has been written describing the Qing scroll map in Chinese by Bi and Li (2004). The author Li is Li Xiaocong (see above) who compiled the Cartobibliography for the Hummel collection at the Library of Congress collection. The paper provides interesting discussion about the scroll's possible age and purpose. A translation of the paper into English has been made.
Bi, Qiong and Li, Xiaocong (2004). Research into “The Shu Road from Shaanxi to the Sichuan Border”. Cartography (China, in Chinese), 4, 45-50.
“Shan jing shu dao tu” yan jiu. Bi Qiong & Li Xiaocong, Ditu, 2004(4), ye 45
《陕境蜀道图》研究, 毕琼 李孝聪 (作者), 地图2004(4), 页45
The translation of the paper by Bi and Li (2004) into English (Original Chinese text and new high resolution colour images also included) can be accessed as a PDF File (0.9MB) HERE.
Paper by Feng Suiping (2010): The most recent and most comprehensive paper is one written by the Director of Hanzhong Musem Feng Suiping (冯岁平) The paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the map. A translation of the paper into English has been made.
Feng Suiping (2010). Further investigation of the Qing
period "Map of the Shu Road to the Shaanxi border", Wenbo (Museums
& Cultural Relics), Number 2, 2010 (In Chinese)
Quick Look images of the full extent of the scroll
NOTE: If you wish to download one of the Quicklooks above, it is best to right click on the link and use the “Save Target As…” option rather than opening it in a browser or picture viewer.
Full Resolution Scans:
The scroll map has been scanned by the US Library of Congress Photo duplication Department from the original held by the Geography and Map Division. The original scanned files exist as lossless Tiff files at 300 ppi and generally close to 300 MB file size. There are 12 scans to make up the scroll with overlap so that a mosaic is possible and resolution wedges and scale bars have been included. The original Tiff files reduce to approximately 10 MB as Jpeg files without resizing and further to less than 1 MB in the rescaled Quicklook files which have been made available here. The size reduction was done as carefully as possible to maintain resolution but some of the characters cannot be read on these Quicklook files. Serious researchers will be better off to access the more detailed, higher resolution, images.
Some examples of the resolution available are included below (warning – each is about 1 mb). There is some loss of resolution due to using Jpeg format to ensure fast download but almost all of the characters are clear in these subsets.
NOTE 1: If you wish to download one of the Quicklooks above, it is best to right click on the link and use the “Save Target As…” option rather than opening it in a browser or picture viewer.
NOTE 2: If you have access to broadband internet, you can get access to a complete set of high resolution images and documents to navigate them HERE.
The scroll is very interesting for its additions to research into Shu Roads. Many of the places marked correspond to current day places with the same or similar name. As a map the scroll seems to be topologically (the order of places along the road) correct but not to scale. The gully areas over which there are many bridges are often designated “gou” (traditional 溝 or simplified 沟) and can probably be identified through topological position, local terrain and current names. The bridges and trestles will not generally exist now. Just before Baocheng, the road takes to the hill through Jitouguan (鸡头关 in present day simplified characters). In the characters of the scroll, Jitouguan (雞頭關) is in traditional characters, but using the equally old but simpler form of guan, (関) which is used throughout the scroll. Jitouguan is shown as a barrier on the top of a hill and through which the road passed. At the time the scroll was drawn, it seems that the current day Daoist Temple was not present but rather there is one called Guandi Miao (関帝廟) or the Temple of the Guanyu or god of war. The present Daoist Temple has the characters 鷄頭闗道觀 (see the photograph in the pictures section) written on its side in large letters. The choice of characters is interesting as they are archaic (with a few mistakes). The scroll does not show the location of the Stone Gate tunnel. But as this was not on the main track or in active use when the scroll map was made, it is not too surprising. The road headed up the Qipanzi track to Jitouguan before the tunnel is reached along the river.
There are five walled cities in the extent of the map but there is also a section missing from the area between the walled cities of Baocheng (written 褒城縣, simplified 褒城县, or Baocheng Xian indicating it was a county capital) and Ningqiang (written 寧羌州, simplified, 宁羌州). The missing section contains Mianxian (勉县) which was also a walled city. Its name would most likely have been written 沔縣 as the map contains the border line annotated as “寧沔交界牌”. The walled cities present in the scroll are Baoji, Fengxian, Liuba, Baocheng and Ningqiang.
In addition to “沔”, there are many older characters or variations on names being used in this scroll. Another example is xian, or county, which has the simplified form “县” and traditional form “縣”. The name “寧羌州” (Ningqiang Zhou or Pacified Qiang) is a Ming period name for present day Ningqiang (now written宁强县). The older names (using simplified characters 沔县 and 宁羌州) were long standing and still in use in 1876 when the Japanese traveller Zhu Tian Jing Jing (竹添井井) passed this way (see the discussion in Chinese by Sun Qixiang about the book outlining this journey by the Director of the Hanzhong Museum, Feng Suiping as referenced HERE). At the Zhang Liang Temple (漢張良庙) the character for temple used is (庙) which is the present simplified form. It seems to be an older form that was often used by people who were not scholars. But, in other places in the scroll, the traditional character “廟” is used for temple. Throughout the scroll, there are also places where "simplified" characters are used (such as 将 for 將 , 楼 for 樓 and 垻 for 壩 ) supporting the idea that the writer may not have been a literary person but rather used simplified versions that were also in use in the past.
In regard to the date of the map, Herold J. Wiens in his Thesis (1949) says that it must predate 1862 since the name Feiqiuguan (癈邱关) is used at a place whose name changed to Liufengguan (留凤关) in 1862. Liuba (留坝) is also shown as an active city but was depopulated (according to Herold Wiens) during the Taiping rebellion (太平天囯, 1851-1862) and remained deserted until recently. This presumably dates it prior to 1850-1860. Bi and Li (2004) provide a much earlier date for the material in the map. Using the presence at Jitouguan of a commemorative gate called “Guo Qinwang Gate” (果亲王牌楼 ) which must post-date the visit to this area by the Guoqinwang and also using the situation at Liuba which had not yet become Liuba Ting and was still under Hanzhong, they place the material in the scroll map as being from between 1735 and 1773. They also offer the suggestion that the map is a working map used in the updating of Gazeteers (方志) at the beginning of the 19th Century. In that case, annotations by a second person may be from that period while the original material may be from before 1773.
Along the route there are many places with official posts of various sizes, indicated minimally by a flag. 23 of these are also annotated as either "Tang" or "Xun" and have a conjuction of items as well as the flag. These include 5 "bottles", houses (barracks and/or stables) and possible gates and (in the north) a tall tower. A brief discussion of these posts has been written to pose a few questions that are still uncertain. If you are interested to join the discussion you can find a PDF of the situation HERE.
The Barrier Posts have distictive characteristics in each of the departments (similar to present day counties) along the route. The locations of the borders between the departments can also be found in the maps. However, there is an extra border or an area managed by an unexpected department near to the modern boundary of Liuba County. The resolution to this anomaly has not yet been achieved. If you are interested to join a discussion about this anomaly you can find a PDF of the situation HERE.
The Qing Scroll has recently been compared with another map in the Library of Congress Collection. It is called "Map of the Four Provinces in the North Bank of the Han River". Some quite high resolution images have been made accessible for people who wish to check this alternative source of information. A Table of the images can be found HERE.
The transcription of all of the characters making up the place names will need to be made from the full resolution images but it seems clear that when it has been done then a very large number of the places and features will be identifiable as current places and the scroll will then be able to be roughly scaled to a modern map with many terrain features being identifiable with GPS. Questions such as average distance between stations will be easy to answer. There are also other scroll maps available with which it can be directly compared. An example is the scroll in the Hanzhong Museum collection discussed in a paper by Feng Suiping in the book referenced HERE and presented in the powerpoint presentation from the International Symposium which can also be found HERE. It is hoped that the comparison will help establish or confirm the route of the main post road and the names and locations of settlements on the way at different times during the Qing period.
The paper in Chinese describing this scroll map published by Bi and Li (2004) provides very interesting reading. The second author is the person who assembled the Cartobibliography referenced above by the Library of Congress. If you are interested to see the details of the paper (the abstract has been translated and a draft translation of the paper can be accessed here) and/or locate it, its details can be found presented Here.
[i] Chinese names are expressed here in simplified characters wherever they are currently existing places. The scroll (of course) uses traditional characters
and the choices for characters in the names are very important in the value of the scroll as they may include characters used at different periods and times.
[i]美国国会图书馆藏中文古地图叙录 / 李孝聪编著,北京 : 文物出版社, 2004.