Radu Leca's picture
Affiliated Fellow
Radu Leca

I am an art historian originally from Romania, specializing in the perception of space in early modern Japan. During my fellowship from October 2016 to July 2017 I will survey both Western maps of Japan and Japanese maps in Dutch collections, one of the most prominent being that held by the Universiteitsbibliotheek Leiden. This project offers new approaches to a corpus of East Asian cartographic materials characterised by cultural hybridity.

I analyse the dual agency, both political and aesthetic, of early modern cartographic production in Japan. My preliminary analysis shows that maps emerged as viable tools for contemporary audiences to think about a continually changing perception of the Japanese archipelago among ‘myriad countries’. In this process, a large role was played by Western cartographic sources. The focus is on two periods of intensified shifts in early modern worldviews: the second half of the seventeenth century, which witnessed the emergence of a playful urban print culture; and the turn of the nineteenth century, in which a renewed interest in foreign knowledge was coupled with threats of invasion. I investigate the various models of intracultural interaction that emerged from the perceptions of the outside world in Japan over different periods.

I will be integrating my research at IIAS into a monograph entitled ‘Myriad Countries: The Outside World on Historical Maps of Japan’, which will examine cartographic sources as testimonies of the geopolitical thought of early modern Japanese audiences.

For more details see http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1277-6741 

Field

  • Early modern cartographic production in Japan

Country of origin

Romania

Period of stay at IIAS

01/10/2016 to 31/07/2017

Research topic

Myriad Countries: The Outside World on Historical Maps of Japan

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