Japanese woodcut map to sell with $80,000 estimate

An early Japanese woodcut map of China and its nine border kingdoms will go on sale at Bonhams' auction of fine books and manuscripts on October 16 in Los Angeles.

The map, which dates to the Genroku period (1688-1703), which carries an estimate of $50,000-80,000, is mounted on rice paper and printed on multiple sheets. These then fold into covers decorated with lotus flower designs.

An important milestone in Sino-Japanese cartography, the map is a copy of Wang Jun Fu's world map published in Suzhou in 1633.

Japanese world map Bonhams
The map dates from between 1688 and 1703

The auction features a number of other charts, including Hondius and Janssonius' 1623 world map that shows Africa, Asia, Europe and America and includes the newly discovered island of Tierra del Fuego. It comes with an estimate of $30,000-50,000.

Maps are popular collector's items, due in part to their great beauty and historical importance. The cartography world record is $2.1m, paid in 2010 for a 1789 map of America by Abel Buell.

The highlight of the books on sale is undoubtedly a rare first edition of Kurt Godel's 1931 opus On formally Undecidable propositions in Prinicpia Mathematica and related Systems I - which had an enormous impact on the fields of mathematics, computer science and philosophy.

Von Neumann, the great Hungarian-American mathematician, said of the book: "Kurt Godel's achievement in modern logic is singular and monumental - indeed it is more than a monument, it is a landmark which will remain visible far in space and time."

The auction features a number of other rare first edition books and manuscripts, alongside photographs.

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