What is in a Map?: Visuality and Spatial Literacy in Early Chinese Cartography by Dr Fan Lin
Date : 06 Jul 2017
Time : 16:00 - 17:30
Venue : Asia Research Institute, Seminar Room
AS8 Level 4, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
National University of Singapore @ KRC


Dr Lai Lei Kuan Rongdao, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore


The ways in which mapmakers and their patrons “look” at the world determine how maps are made and read. Meanwhile, maps are made for specific agendas. The capability of reading and seeing a map, therefore, is not a innate; rather, it needs to be learned and cultivated. This talk sheds lights on the coded languages used in Early Chinese maps conveying various the agendas of mapmakers, militarists, and rulers. It examines the ways in which legends, orientation, and mediums were carefully selected to serve political, administrative, and military purposes. The trajectory of these cartographic practices is traced through maps found at Mawangdui and Fangmatan in particular, and also miscellaneous yet abundant records on maps and mapmaking from official history and excavated texts of the Qin and Han periods.


Fan Lin’s broad interest revolves around the relationship between word and image, with particular foci on (1) the production and circulation of maps and mapmaking knowledge in early and medieval China, and (2) the spatial logic of religious paintings on the Vimalakirti Sutra, Lotus Sutra and Nirvana Sutra in medieval Buddhist caves. Another project that Dr Lin is currently engaged in is a study and translation of The Grand Commentary to the Book of Documents (with Dr Griet Vankeerberghen). This project seeks to present a textual history of the SSDZ through an in-depth study of all its surviving versions and to produce an annotated translation of the text.


Admission is free. We would greatly appreciate if you click on the "Register" button above to RSVP.

Contact Person(s)
Minghua TAY