Eastern China: Peking

Eastern China: Peking, Army Map Service, 1944

Hello everyone,

This Tuesday, February 2nd, was Lunar New Year in many East Asian cultures. I hope this map of Beijing (Peking) can bring us closer to this celebration of the beginning of the year of Tiger!

Besides having topographic contours and coordinate grids, this map shows the urban city structure as well as wooded and cultivated areas. Roads and railway tracks are labeled with different symbols; streets and cultural sites are also named.

As the current capital of PRC, Beijing has long been one of the important cities in China since around the 10th century. In the Yuan Dynasty, Mongols rebuilt the city as the imperial capital and laid the foundation for the urban structure that we see today. In the center of the urban area is the forbidden city, the imperial palace of the emperor. The forbidden city is enclosed by the imperial city, which, in turn, is enclosed by the inner city (labeled as Tartar City on the map). In the south of the inner city lies the outer city (labeled as Chinese City on the map), where Han-Chinese lived during the last, Manchu-ruled imperial dynasty. The square, rigid, symmetrical city structure is a reflection of cosmological order and power. 

This map was made by The Army Map Service (AMS), a US military cartographic agency subordinated to the United States Army Corps of Engineers that existed from 1941 to 1968. During World War II, AMS made tens of thousands of maps in various scales of different regions. Eastern China: Peking belongs to the 1:50,000 scale Chinese City map series; our catalog has a couple of other maps of the same series and in other scales. 

Happy lunar new year! 新春快乐!

Yidan Xu ‘24