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Two exhibitions with Asian maps of the university library

From mid-September two exhibitions with maps from the collections of Leiden University Libraries are on view. Mapping Asia opens in the National Museum of Ethnology and Mapping Japan in Japanmuseum SieboldHuis. The exhibitions are organised in the context of Leiden Asia Year and the symposium 'Mapping Asia' which took place in the university library.

Japanmuseum SieboldHuis: Mapping Japan
In Mapping Japan the emphasis is on Japanese maps from the 18th and 19th century. The impressive scroll painting of the Japanese coast and the personal maps belonging to Philipp Franz van Siebold (on display for the first time) are unquestionably the highlights of this exhibition. Siebold’s hand written notes on these maps are evidence of his eager and diligent study of Japan. Unfortunately  Siebold’s fascination for maps also got him into trouble. In 1829 he was found guilty of spying (for being in possession of maps) and banished from Japan. All the maps in the exhibition are from the collections of Leiden University Libraries.

National Museum of Ethnology: Mapping Asia
In Mapping Asia maps and cartographic objects from the collections of the National Museum of World Cultures and Leiden University Libraries are showcased. The exhibition shows that maps are not objective. Apart from showing various maps from Europe and diverse Asian countries, the purpose of this exhibition is to point out that maps are never objective. On the surface, they look like a factual record of what a particular area looks like. In reality however, they portray how these areas are perceived by its makers and their clients. European maps of Asia of the past 400 years for example, reflect the colonial power relations. Highlight is the reconstruction of an immense map of the Chinese empire (280x460 cm) from the early eighteenth century.

Japanmuseum SieboldHuis
Mapping Japan
16 September - 26 November 2017

National Museum of Ethnology
Mapping Asia
13 September 2017 - 14 Januari 2018

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