03 Dec 2021 16:00

Lines in the ocean: Sea routes on Ming and Qing Chinese maps

Online conference

Elke Papelitzky, KU Leuven

Many Chinese maps include lines in ocean areas representing sea routes. These routes appear on maps regardless of their format: on printed and manuscript maps, on sheet maps and on maps in books. They connect China with regions in Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean World, and lands across the Pacific, visually integrating China into global networks of exchange and drawing the map readers’ attention to maritime space. The mapmakers annotated many of the routes with information on compass bearings and the time needed to travel between places, linking the maps with seafaring knowledge and information found in written navigational manuals. In this talk, I will discuss Chinese ways of mapping maritime connections and how these mapping practices reflect the mapmakers’ understanding of Ming and Qing China’s place in the world.

Elke Papelitzky is currently a postdoc at KU Leuven in Belgium and part of the ERC-funded Transpacific project. Her research focuses on knowledge transfer and the perception of the world of Chinese and Japanese scholars as seen in geographical sources. Elke Papelitzky is the author of Writing World History in Late Ming China and the Perception of Maritime Asia (Harrassowitz, 2020) and of several articles and book chapters.

The event will be held on Zoom. Participants can register here: link

Organized by Department of Asian and North African Studies, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

For info, please contact


The event will be held in English

Organized by

Department of Asian and North African Studies (Maddalena Barenghi)


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