[Lecture] A New Interpretation on the Eastern Limit of Ptolemy’s World Map and its Influence on European Worldview in the Evolution of Southeast Asian Mapping

Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk at the Siam Society by Trongjai Hutangkura on 31 August 2017.

The Geography, written in the second century CE by Claudius Ptolemy (c. 100 ce- c. 170 ce), described the Earth’s geography through knowledge from Greco-Roman trade routes. The map India beyond the Ganges presented geographical information stretching from the river’s east bank towards China. Although previous studies provided place-names based on cognate comparisons between Ptolemaic data and recent toponyms, the identification of the Ptolemaic eastern limit remains problematic, exemplified by a location known to the ancient Romans as Kattigara, possibly Hangzhou (China) or Óc Eo (Vietnam). My research raises the possibility of Kattigara being located in the vicinity of the Korea Bay, based on a comparison of geographical landmarks such as the river’s mouth and cape. Other possibilities may involve Suvarṇabhūmi and a town called Zabai (Óc Eo). Though geographic recognition of Ptolemaic toponyms has since disappeared, their graphic information is still acknowledged and carries some influence in Southeast Asia, including in maps compiled by European and Arab cartographers in the 12th-16th centuries. These maps are a blend of Ptolemaic place-names and navigational information of their ages, visualising an imaginary continent of Southeast Asia. My presentation will illustrate research on the identification of cartographic information of Ptolemy’s India beyond the Ganges and Chinese lands as the basis for the study of ancient Southeast Asian maps.

Source: A New Interpretation on the Eastern Limit of Ptolemy’s World Map and its Influence on European Worldview in the Evolution of Southeast Asian Mapping. A talk by Trongjai Hutangkura

New Bagan guide map in the works

Bagan Tourism Development and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are working on a new tourist map of Bagan.

“The map will show visitors where they can relax by the river, enjoy beautiful sceneries and find villages with traditional trades and crafts.

“The map will show them where they can enjoy the scenery without having to climb pagodas,” she said last Thursday.

Source: New Bagan guide map in the works

18th century Philippine map shows disputed territories in country’s domain

As China continues to claim parts of the South China Sea for itself, affected countries like Philippines and Vietnam are more and more appealing to evidence from ancient maps to show histories of territoriality. This latest example from the Philippines is from the 18th century.

The 1734 Murillo Velarde map. Source: The Inquirer 20150615
The 1734 Murillo Velarde map. Source: The Inquirer 20150615

‘Mother of Philippine maps’ settles sea dispute with China
Inquirer, 15 June 2015

“Panacot” or “Scarborough Shoal” does not appear in any of the ancient Chinese maps.

The 1734, 1744 and 1760 Murillo Velarde maps clearly show Panacot, the island disputed by China, even before it became known as “Scarborough Shoal.”

In fact, as Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio wrote in his monograph “Historical Facts, Historical Lies and Historical Rights in the West Philippine Sea” and has repeatedly stressed in his lectures on the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China, Panacot has been “consistently depicted in ancient Philippine maps from 1636 to 1940.”

Only after Sept. 12, 1784, when an East India Co. tea-clipper was wrecked on one of its rocks did the shoal become “Scarborough Shoal.” For Carpio Panacot or Scarborough Shoal “does not appear in any of the ancient Chinese maps.”

Full story here.

European Embassies launch Thai Heritage Map

A collaboration of nine embassies in Bangkok have produced a map of heritage sites in Thailand featuring European connections. The map can be downloaded here.

European Heritage in Thailand Map
European Heritage in Thailand Map

Our home, our heritage
The Nation, 19 October 2014

Embassies launch Thai heritage map
Bangkok Post, 16 October 2014
Continue reading “European Embassies launch Thai Heritage Map”