Peking after the Boxer Rebellion

MAP OF PEKING. Peking, ca. 1900-1901.
Woodcut on very thin paper, 25 1/8”h x 22”w at sheet edge, outline and spot color.

A rare and significant Japanese woodblock map of Peking (Beijing), issued just after the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion.

Centered on the Forbidden City, the map depicts Peking following the multinational suppression of the Boxer Rebellion (Yihetuan Movement) of 1900. The map was issued to illustrate the areas of occupation associated with each of the powers in the Eight-Nation Alliance.

The Boxer Rebellion or Yihetuan Movement was an anti-foreign, anti-imperialist uprising marked by proto-nationalism in northeastern China, and was initially supported by the Qing Empress Dowager Cixi. The spark came from a combination of dislocation caused by drought and subsequent flooding in 1897-98, as well as widespread outrage at Christian missionary activity. Boxers, convinced they were immune to foreign weapons, attacked the Chinese Christians and foreigners living in Peking’s Legation Quarter. Though much bloodshed ensued, the legations were able to prepare a tenuous defense and found themselves besieged. Relief came in the form of a 20,000-many army representing the Eight-Nation Alliance, which defeated the Boxers, lifted the siege of the Legation Quarter, and occupied Beijing as well as a number of other northern Chinese cities. The atrocities and looting that ensued at the hands of the occupying forces are well documented.

This map is essentially a later edition of one issued by the Qing for administrative purposes in or around 1867 (The title of that map translates roughly as Premier Full Map of the Capital City’s Interior and Exterior.) The Japanese seized the wood blocks during the suppression of the Rebellion and subsequently pulled new impressions, overprinting them additional details including flags and demarcations of areas of the city held by members of the Alliance. Versions are known in French, German, Japanese, and, as with the present example, English. Variants in other languages may also exist, though I have not encountered them.

A rare and interesting map, with a remarkable immediacy to the terrible events of the Boxer Rebellion. 

Not in OCLC.


Old folds, scattered light foxing, wear along folds, and a couple of small, unobtrusive holes with minor image loss.