Qing Period Scroll of the road from Baoji to Qipanguan (Shaanxi-Sichuan border)


Section of Shu Road Scroll Map with Baoji at right




The images described on this page make up a complete scan of a 17 metre (55 foot) long scroll preserved and held by the Geography & Map Division of the US Library of Congress. The scroll map shows the main (postal) road from the Wei River valley of Shaanxi Province (陕西省 )[i] to the border with Shu (Sichuan) in the Qing Period. It is read from right to left and starts at the then walled city of Baoji (宝鸡 ) in Shaanxi to finish on the border between Shaanxi and Sichuan Province ( 四川省 ) at a place called Qipanguan (七盘关). There is a section of the road including Mianxian (勉县) and Gu Yangpingguan (古阳平关) that is missing from the scroll, but that does not detract from the overall value of the map. It was purchased by Arthur W. Hummel (Heng Muyi, 恒慕义) in China in 1930.


The US Library of Congress has a large collection of old and ancient Chinese materials. Among these are maps and map reproductions dating back some centuries. The Geography and Map Division of the Library web page can be found HERE. Part of the collection is the Arthur Hummel collection and some of the maps of the Hummel collection are among the 373 Chinese images available in digital format. The Chinese Maps that are available in this form can be accessed directly at https://www.loc.gov/maps/?q=&fa=location:china. Images can be downloaded for use in research and other non-profit activities in GIF, JP2 (JPEG 2000), or JPEG formats. However, in this selection only the JP2 format file has the resolution that allows view of all readable characters at the brush stroke detail level. For academic study, high resolution view of characters is essential. If you wish to download and view the detail in these maps you will need suitable software to read JPEG 2000 and view the data. Possibly the best software available for this is IrfanView that can be researched and downloaded from HERE.


Basic information provided about the scroll by the Library of Congress says:

'The map, a hand-colored panoramic pictorial drawing designed as guide for travelers, covers Shaanxi Province to "Shu Dao" in Shanxi-Sichuan border, and depicts the north section of the Shaanxi-Sichuan road. It illustrates settlements along the road, stopover places, courier stations, inns and temples, mountain passes, walled cities, bridges, wooden trestles, and places of interest.'


Further details provided by the Library of Congress include:

‘A Cartobibliography edited by Li Xiaocong and Published in Beijing (See Library of Congress Catalog Card here) [i] describes the scroll as a hand-colored panoramic pictorial drawing, ca. 1751-1820, designed as an itinerary guide for travelers from the north.  It measures 31 x 1672 cm, and covers Shanxi Province to "Shu Dao" in Shanxi-Sichuan border. It depicts the north section of the Shaanxi-Sichuan road, and is to be read from right to left.  The map illustrates settlements along the road, stop over places, courier stations, inns and temples, mountain passes, walled cities, bridges, wooden trestles, and places of interest.  The areas where wooden trestles were used to support the road are also indicated.


NOTE: This Qing Scroll has recently been compared with another map available in the Library of Congress Collection. The other map (drawn around 1812-1815) is called "Map of the Four Provinces in the North Bank of the Han River". Some high resolution images have been made accessible for people who wish to check this alternative source of information. A discussion of the Library of Congress holdings of ancient Chinese maps as well as this map, and a Table of the images of the map for the area north of the Han River can be found HERE.


Publications and Translations that provide information about the Qing scroll


Paper by Herold J Wiens (1949): The first person in the west to discuss this scroll map was Herold J. Wiens in his 1949 Thesis. The scroll is also referenced in Herold J. Wiens' article "The Shu Tao or Road to Sichuan", Geographical Review, 39 (1949), pp. 584-604.’

Herold J Weins 1949 article can be accessed as a PDF (2.2MB) HERE


Cartobibliography compiled by Li Xiaocong (2004): Prof. Li Xiaocong was invited by the US Library of Congress to examine the Hummel Collection of Chinese scroll maps and other material and compile a Cartobibliography for publication. The book was published in Beijing in 2004 and contains an entry for the “The Shu Road from Shaanxi to the Sichuan Border”. The full reference is provided and the Chinese and English entries for the map are available. As the two entries are different, the Chinese entry has been translated.

Li Xiaocong (Ed) (2004). “Summaries of holdings in the US Library of Congress' Collection of ancient Chinese maps”, Beijing, Cultural Press, October 2004. (Chinese and English)
Meiguo Guohui Tushuguan Guancang Zhongwen Gu Ditu Xulu, Li Xiaocong bianzhu, Beijing Wenwu Chubanshe, 2004-10.
美国国会图书馆藏中文古地图叙录, 李孝聪编著, 北京:文物出版社, 2004—10. (中英)

The text for the entries relating to the present scroll map in Li (2004) can be accessed as a PDF File (59KB) HERE.


Paper by Bi Qiong and Li Xiaocong (2004): A more comprehensive paper has been written describing the Qing scroll map in Chinese by Bi and Li (2004). The author Li is Li Xiaocong (see above) who compiled the Cartobibliography for the Hummel collection at the Library of Congress collection. The paper provides interesting discussion about the scroll's possible age and purpose. A translation of the paper into English has been made.

Bi, Qiong and Li, Xiaocong (2004). Research into “The Shu Road from Shaanxi to the Sichuan Border”. Cartography (China, in Chinese), 4, 45-50.

“Shan jing shu dao tu” yan jiu. Bi Qiong & Li Xiaocong, Ditu, 2004(4), ye 45

《陕境蜀道图》研究, 毕琼 李孝聪 (作者), 地图2004(4), 45

The translation of the paper by Bi and Li (2004) into English (Original Chinese text and new high resolution colour images also included) can be accessed as a PDF File (0.9MB) HERE.


Paper by Feng Suiping (2010): The most comprehensive paper is one written by the Director of Hanzhong Museum Feng Suiping (冯岁平) The paper provides a detailed analysis of a number of aspects of the map. A translation of the paper into English has also been made.

Feng Suiping (2010). Further investigation of the Qing period "Map of the Shu Road to the Shaanxi border", Wenbo (Museums & Cultural Relics), Number 2, 2010 (In Chinese)
"Qing 'Shanjing Shudao Tu' zai tan", Feng Suiping, Wenbo, 2010 nian, di 2 qi.
The translation of the paper by Feng (2010) into English can be accessed as a PDF File (0.98MB) HERE.
The original by Feng (2010) in Chinese can be accessed as a PDF File (1.2MB) HERE.
(A set of notes on choices made for the translation (for interested readers) can be accessed as a PDF File (0.5MB) HERE).


Cartobibliography compiled by Lin Tianren (2013): This Qing Period map was presented in full colour and discussed by Prof Lin Tianren of the Palace Museum, Taipei, Taiwan in his 2013 book on the Hummel Collection of the LoC and matching materials in the Taipei Palace Museum collection:
Lin, Tianren and Zhang, Min, Eds (2013). "Reading imperial cartography: Ming-Qing historical maps in the Library of Congress", Published by the Academia Sinica Digital Center (Taipei), 2013/11/01. (Chinese and English)

The text for the entries relating to the present scroll map in Lin (2013) can be accessed as a PDF File (59KB) HERE.


Quick Look images of the full extent of the scroll


Original Image Name

Extent (current place names)

File Size


Baoji (宝鸡县), Yimenzhen (益门镇) to near Fengxian (凤县)

 822 kb


Fengxian (凤县), Nanxing (南星) to Chaiguanling (柴关岭)

 770 kb


Zhangliang Temple (汉张良庙) and Liuba (留坝)

 629 kb


Passes through Wuguanyi (武关驿)

 638 kb


Extends to Wuqupu (武曲铺)

 634 kb


Passes through Madao (马道)

 669 kb


Ershilipu (二十里铺) to Qingqiaopu (青桥铺)

 709 kb


Qingqiaoyi (青桥驿) to the Shifo (石佛)

 728 kb


Jitouguan (鸡头关), Baocheng (褒城) to Qingyangyi (青羊驿)

 1.077 mb


Da’an (大安), Wudingguan (五丁关) to Ningqiang (宁强)

 648 kb


Ningqiang (宁强) to Huangbayi (黄坝驿)

 697 kb


Last section to Qipanguan (七盘关) (Sichuan border)

 239 kb


NOTE: If you wish to download one of the Quicklooks above, it is best to right click on the link and use the “Save Target As…” option rather than opening it in a browser or picture viewer.


Full Resolution Scans:


The scroll map was scanned by the US Library of Congress Photo duplication Department from the original held by the Geography and Map Division. The original scanned files exist as lossless Tiff files at 300 ppi and generally close to 300 MB file size. There are 12 scans to make up the scroll with overlap so that a mosaic is possible and resolution wedges and scale bars have been included. The original Tiff files reduce to approximately 10 MB as Jpeg files without resizing and further to less than 1 MB in the rescaled Quicklook files which have been made available above. The size reduction was made as carefully as possible to maintain resolution but some of the characters cannot be read on the Quicklook files. Serious researchers will be better off to access the more detailed, higher resolution, images available below.


Some subset examples of the resolution available are included below (warning – each is about 1 mb). There is some loss of resolution due to using Jpeg format to ensure fast download but the characters are clear in these subsets.


Subset Name


File Size


Baoji (宝鸡县) and Wei River (渭河)

1.084 mb


Fengxian (风县城) where the road joins the Lianyun Zhan (连云栈)

1.146 mb


Miao Taizi (庙台子) and Zhang Liang Temple (汉张良庙)

1.042 mb


Liuba (留坝) (walled town south of the Zhang Liang Temple)

1.120 mb

Qipan climb

Qipanguan (七盘关) near present day Stone Gate dam (石门水库)

1.093 mb


Chicken Head Pass (鸡头关) and Guanyu Temple (关帝庙)

909 kb


Baocheng county (褒城县) at the start of the Jinniu Dao (金牛道)

1.210 mb


Da’an Zhen (大安镇) which includes Da’an Xun Tang (大安汛塘)

1.054 mb


Ningqiang Zhou (宁羌州) present day Ningqiang Xian (宁强县)

1.025 mb


NOTE 1: If you wish to download one of the Quicklooks above, it is best to right click on the link and use the “Save Target As…” option rather than opening it in a browser or picture viewer.


NOTE 2: If you have access to broadband internet, you can get access to a complete set of the high resolution images (typical size of each subset 3.5 MB) and also some documents to navigate them HERE.




The scroll is very interesting for its additions to research into Shu Roads. Many of the places marked correspond to current day places with the same or similar name. As a map the scroll seems to be topologically correct (the order of places along the road is correct) but not always at a constant scale. The nominal scale of the complete map is 1:20,000 in the horizontal direction. In the vertical direction it is an oblique view and so has a projective rather than metric scale. Its terrain and feature accuracy off road has not yet been established. The many bridges and gully areas (“gou”, traditional or simplified ) can often be identified through topological position, local terrain and current names. The bridges and trestles do not generally exist now. Just before Baocheng, the road climbs the hill through Jitouguan ( 鸡头关 in present day simplified characters). On the scroll it is written Jitouguan ( 雞頭関 using an old but simpler form of guan, () which is used throughout the scroll. Jitouguan is shown as a barrier on the top of a hill and through which the road passed. At the time the scroll was drawn, it seems that the current day Daoist Temple was not present but rather there is one called Guandi Miao (関帝廟) or the Temple of the Guanyu or god of war. The present Daoist Temple has the characters 鷄頭闗道觀 (see the photograph in the pictures section) written on its side in large letters. The choice of characters is interesting as they are archaic (with a few mistakes). The scroll does not show the location of the Stone Gate tunnel. But as this was not on the main track or in active use when the scroll map was made, it is not too surprising. The road headed up the Qipanzi track to Jitouguan before the tunnel is reached along the river.


There are five walled cities in the extent of the map but there is also a section missing from the area between the walled cities of Baocheng (written 褒城縣, simplified 褒城县, or Baocheng Xian indicating it was a county capital) and Ningqiang (written 寧羌州, simplified, 宁羌州). The missing section contains Mianxian (勉县) which was also a walled city. Its name would most likely have been written 沔縣 as the map contains the border line annotated as “寧沔交界牌”. The walled cities present in the scroll are Baoji, Fengxian, Liuba, Baocheng and Ningqiang. In addition to “”, there are many ancient characters or variations on names being used in this scroll. The name “寧羌州” (Ningqiang Zhou or Pacified Qiang) is a Ming period name for present day Ningqiang (now written宁强县). The older names were long standing and still in use in 1876 when the Japanese traveller Zhu Tian Jing Jing (竹添井井) passed this way (see the discussion in Chinese by Sun Qixiang about the book outlining this journey by the Director of the Hanzhong Museum, Feng Suiping as referenced  HERE). At the Zhang Liang Temple (漢張良庙) the character for temple used seems to be () which is the present simplified form. This either supports the idea that the map maker was not a scholar as assumed by Li Xiaocong and Feng Suiping or at least indicates the map maker used a shorthand notation when compiling field and draft maps. In other places in the scroll, the traditional character “” is used for temple and may indicate something about the authorship of the later annotations among which the annotation at the Zhangliang Temple was one. Throughout the scroll, there are a number of places where "simplified" or abbreviated characters are being used (such as for , for and for ) supporting the idea that some simplified characters were also in use in the past in practical map making.


In regard to the date of the map, Herold J. Wiens in his Thesis (1949) wrote that it must certainly predate 1862 since the name Feiqiuguan (癈邱关) is used at a place whose name changed to Liufengguan (留凤关) in 1862. He also noted that Liuba (留坝) is shown as an active city when the map was drawn but had apparently been depopulated (based on information reported by Ferdinand Von Richthofen in 1872), perhaps during the Taiping rebellion, (太平天囯, 1851-1862) and had remained deserted until recently. This would at least date it prior to 1850-1860. But Bi and Li (2004) provide a much earlier date for the material in the map. Using the presence at Jitouguan of a commemorative gate called “Guo Qinwang Gate” (果亲王牌楼 ) which must post-date the visit to this area by the Guoqinwang and also using the situation at Liuba which had not yet become Liuba Ting and was still under Hanzhong, they place the material in the scroll map as being from between 1735 and 1773. They also offer the suggestion that the map is a working map used in the updating of Gazetteers (方志) at the beginning of the 19th Century. In that case, annotations by a second person may be from that period while the original material may be from before 1773. Feng Suiping (2010) refined these conclusions using annotations on the map as well as extant Stele inscriptions and gazetteers to conclude that it was originally drawn between the 30th and 40th Qianlong years or between 1765 and 1775. It is also clear to Feng that it was used in map updating during surveys along the road sometime after it was originally drawn. There are some reasons to suppose that the scroll was used during field work for the Hanzhong Gazetteer of 1813 and its material used in the Hanzhong Gazetteer (which contains an updated map of the same route) and in the general activity of map revision and map making that occurred in Hanzhong between about 1810 and 1822.


There are few other scroll maps of similar kind or age still available with which the one from the Library of Congerss can be directly compared. One valuable example is the rare scroll in the Hanzhong Museum collection discussed in a paper by Feng Suiping in the book referenced HERE and presented in a powerpoint presentation from the International Symposium which can be found HERE. It is hoped that comparison can help establish or establish the detailed route of the main post road and the names, locations and status of settlements on the way at different times during the Qing period.


Documents, Notes and Discussions:



The papers published in Chinese language by Bi and Li (2004) and Feng Suiping (2010) describing the scroll map and discussing its significance provide interesting reading and are available in translation if you are interested in the topic. The second author of the Bi and Li reference is Prof. Li Xiaocong who assembled the early Cartobibliography referenced above in cooperation with the US Library of Congress. If you are interested to see the details provided by the library for the paper and its publication reference details, they can be found HERE. Direct access to translations and original text of the papers by Bi Qiong and Li Xiaocong (2004) as well as Feng Suiping (2010) and also to the entry about the scroll map provided by Prof. Lin Tianren (2013) can be had via the following links:


Bi_Li_LOC_Scroll_Paper_I.pdf (English Translation and original Chinese Text)
Feng_Suiping_LOC_Scroll_Paper_II_EN.pdf (English Translation).
Feng_Suiping_LOC_Scroll_Paper_II_CH.pdf (Original Chinese Text).
Lin_Tianren_LOC_Scroll_Annotation.pdf (English Translation and original Chinese Text).




The time at which the scroll map was drawn has been discussed by all of the people writing about the map and translated above. However, there are varying views between them as to when it was. A document has been written to discuss the differences. They depend on when the person involved attributes the founding of Liuba Ting. It would be best if the experts in the field could agree on the most likely case. This document tries to set the framework for such agreement. If you are interested in the discussion of the formation of Liuba Ting and the time the map was drawn you can access a PDF of the discussion via the link:




Along the route there are many places where official posts of various sizes, indicated minimally by a flag are located. 23 of these are annotated as either "Tang" or "Xun" and include a conjunction of various items as well as the flag. These items include 5 "bottles", houses (barracks and/or stables) and possible gates and (in the north) a tall tower. A brief discussion of these posts (including ideas about what the "bottles" were for) has been written and poses some questions that are still to be answered. If you are interested in this discussion of the Garrisoned Barrier Posts you can access a PDF of the discussion via the link:




The Barrier Posts also have distinctive characteristics in each of the departments (similar to present day counties) along the route. The locations of the borders between the departments can also be found in the maps. However, there is an extra border or an area managed by a department at an unexpected location near to the modern boundary of Liuba County. The resolution to this anomaly may involve some early Republican history but has not yet been achieved. If you are interested in the discussion about this anomaly you can access a PDF of the discussion via the link:



Back to Main Shu Roads Page


[i] Chinese names are expressed here in simplified characters wherever they are currently existing places. The scroll (of course) uses traditional characters

and the choices for characters in the names are very important in the value of the scroll as they may include characters used at different periods and times.


[i]美国国会图书馆藏中文古地图叙录 / 李孝聪编著,北京 : 文物出版社, 2004.