Subtitle: The Spice Trade, a Lost Chart and the South China Sea Author: Timothy Brook Publisher: Profile Books (2015) ISBN-10: 1781250391 ISBN-13: 9781781250396 Condition: Very Good Binding: Softcover Pages: 211 Dimensions: 19.8 x 19.9 x 1.8 cm
Weight: 0.3 kg
In 1659, a vast and unusual map of China arrived in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. It was bequeathed by John Selden, a London business lawyer, political activist, former convict, MP and the city's first Orientalist scholar. Largely ignored, it remained in the bowels of the library, until called up by an inquisitive reader. When Timothy Brook saw it in 2009, he realised that the Selden Map was 'a puzzle that had to be solved': an exceptional artifact, so unsettlingly modern-looking it could almost be a forgery.
But it was genuine, and what it has to tell us is astonishing. It shows China, not cut off from the world, but a participant in the embryonic networks of global trade that fueled the rise of Europe - and which now power China's ascent. And it raises as many question as it answers: how did John Selden acquire it? Where did it come from? Who re-imagined the world in this way? And most importantly - what can it tell us about the world at that time?