What Has Been Going On Recently In The Shu Roads Project?

Direct Links To Areas Of Interest And Changes To Come




This web site had its original development with updates and additions occuring over the period of the active Australia-China cooperative Shu Roads Project after its start in 2006 following initial visits in 2005 and a seach for support. The welcome support for the author came from the Australia China Council in Australia. In China it came from local and provincial governments. The front page of the web site provided access to the activities and products from the Project as it evolved until the end of 2008.

What are China's Shu Roads? If unsure try the “Shu Roads Introduction”.

After that time a number of things have happened. One was that the Project completed, was reported and its funding acquitted. This happened in mid-2009 followed by reporting which can be accessed from the main page HERE. However, in the years since there has been an active and ongoing continuation in China with the Hanzhong Museum and more recently the Shaanxi University of Technology (in Hanzhong) (陕西理工学院) and with continued support from the Hanzhong City and Shaanxi Provincial governments. In September 2009, the site developer retired, had some life altering illness and then recuperated over a few years. This led to some more leisurely activities including working towards a new front page, development of rather long documents, translations and web site developments rather than tackling mountains, rivers, hills and dales.


In recent years there have been further visits to China (eg June, 2012 and October, 2016 and annually to 2018) including an exciting field visit in 2012 involving a road survey between Chengdu, Hanzhong, Xixiang and then the Old Road to Baoji and in recent years pleasures of seeing recent finds by Hanzhong scientists. The outcomes of the somewhat epic 2012 journey are reported as one of the items below (Shu Road Field Work, June 2012). Progress to the new web site and some other activities, such as visits to the Han River Valley, were only delayed while recuperation continued between 2009 and 2012. The Web Page Change has been in place for some time - and You are Here to explore it!!


The new web space has more room and allows more material to be made available. This now includes more superoverlays of (eg) the Russian Maps, derived DTM data and other image material. Another change was the name. It is now simpler and more standard. It is also a top level web page connected directly to the internet rather than a sub-page deep at some level of the ISP's page. It is a '.ORG' address to indicate it is not-for-profit but rather is here simply to inform and support the dissemination of information about China's Qinling Plank Roads to Shu. For your protection it is also https. As you may have noticed, its area of focus is specifically the Qinling Mountain Range. It was the Qinling landforms that led to the development of Plank Roads to conquer its particular landscape. So the name is "QinShuRoads" to emphasise the focus. Good Luck!


This page continues to be where you should go to access announcements, links to various new areas of the site and notices about when and where things have been added or updated. It will continue to be updated as the changes occur. Welcome!


Direct Link


Google Earth Presentations of Kangxi and Martini Maps

In 1655 Martino Martini published his Atlas of China. A second major effort between 1704 and 1719 saw Jesuit Brothers and Chinese surveyors map the whole realm of China for the Kangxi Emperor. Google Earth presentations (KMZ files) have been made easily accessible in a new page. The presentations have been discussed in two published papers. One was published in Cartographica concerning the Kangxi Maps:
Jupp, David L.B. (2017). Projection, Scale, and Accuracy in the 1721 Kangxi Maps. Cartographica, 52(3), 215-232. (DOI:10.3138/cart.52.3.2016-0004) If your interest is personal research and not for profit the paper can be accessed HERE.
A related paper concerns the d'Anville European maps and the Martini Maps:
Jupp, David L.B. (2018). Determining projection and scale for maps in early atlases of China held by the National Library of Australia.  Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Map Society Inc., 84, 1-24. If your interest is personal research and not for profit the paper can be accessed HERE
Further information and translated papers about the maps can be found at the Kangxi Maps Project web page. The set of Google Earth presentations for the maps that arose from this effort are to be found HERE. If Google Earth is installed they can be directly mapped from this page.


The Name for Australia in Chinese

2020 was Chinese Lunar Year of the Rat (老鼠年) which can be good and bad but often bad - especially for Chinese. In the 60 years cycle of the Chinese calendar, 2020 was the 庚子 (gengzi) year. In the past, the start of the Opium Wars (1840), the invasion of the 8 countries (1900) and the starvations year of 1960 have all been 庚子 (gengzi) years! So not very good for Chinese. This year of 2021 is the year of the Ox (牛年) and its year characters are (辛丑) or Xinchou. Of course, the second year of the Opium Wars had this (not very nice) name but perhaps now Chinese are better prepared. In 1840, the name for the lucky country was moving to be Australia in English and 澳大利亚 in Chinese. I re-read a long document I wrote a few years ago about "The Chinese Name for Australia" and decided to mention it to anyone who may be interested. The times of the Opium Wars were a little too like today, but history never repeats precisely. The web page can be found HERE and has a shorter summary of the story for people who do not wish to tackle the long journey.


The travels of Fr. Armand David across the Qinling Mountains in 1873

The new page explores the travels of the French missionary Monsieur L’Abbé Père Jean Pierre Armand David (CM, 1826-1900, 谭卫道, Tan Weidao) between Xi'an and Hanzhong through the Qinling mountains in China in 1873. Fr. David was a natural scientist who made three journeys to China. He “discovered” many animal and bird species such as the Panda and the Père David’s deer. His third voyage included areas on the north and south of the Qinling. In coming to Hanzhong from the Guanzhong he travelled an ancient road previously called the Baoxie Road. In Hanzhong he also made geological and biological discoveries before setting off on the Han River for Hankou. The records he made are of interest for natural history, geology and human history as well.
References to Fr. David and his travels on the ancient Shu Roads can also be found in other documents on this web site such as the “Shu Roads Introduction” and “Catholics on the Shu Roads”.


Recent addition to the Kangxi Jesuit Maps Project

Addition to the Kangxi Maps web page. Paper published in the Globe by David Jupp concerning the European copies of the Kangxi map. Reference:
David L. B. Jupp (2018). Determining projection and scale for maps in early atlases of China held by the National Library of Australia.  Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Map Society Inc., 84, 1-24.
Link: jupp_Globe_NLA_24pp_1-24a.pdf (11MB) The examples include the Martini maps.The Martini map of Shaanxi includes a stylised map of the main Northern Shu Road from Baoji to Hanzhong and Martini's text provides a very dramatic description of this ancient road. The western person who provided the description is unknown.


Publication of work from the Kangxi Jesuit Maps Project

A paper describing the theory and outcomes of the first phase of the Jesuit Maps project has been published in Cartographica. The full reference is:
Jupp, David L.B. (2017). Projection, Scale, and Accuracy in the 1721 Kangxi Maps. Cartographica, 52(3), 215-232. (DOI:10.3138/cart.52.3.2016-0004)
The paper outlines how the Kangxi 1721 maps digitized by the US Library of Congress can have their projections determined, can be combined and formed into mosaics and can be analysed for accuracy to provide a data base in Chinese for the inner areas of China at the end of the Kangxi reign. This web site makes Google Earth overlays available for further study and view. The Cartographica paper also references the paper published in Chinese by Wang Qianjin in 1991. The Chinese paper and a draft translation into English can be found with the Cartographica paper reference on the Kangxi Jesuit Maps Project Page. Cartographica is a journal for cartography that also publishes articles involving history of cartography. If you are interested enough to read this page then you will find many interesting papers among the current and past publications in Cartographica.
[NOTE: The map sheets for the 15 main Ming/Qing provinces which were unaltered until after the Kangxi Period have now been assembled into a balanced Mosiac. A Google Earth superoverlay for the mosaic as a KMZ network link file plus a KMZ file of 162 Fu level places from the du Halde Gazetteer to compare with points on the map can be downloaded from the Kangxi Jesuit Maps Project Page.]


Recent addition to Kangxi Map Page

The draft documents on this page have referenced a paper punblished in Chinese by Wang Qianjin in 1991. A PDF of the original Chinese paper and a draft translation into English have now been added to the page so that English readers may check what was presented in that early paper. Wang Qianjin showed comprehensively that the projection of the Copperplate edition of the "Complete map of the imperial domain" was not Triangular or Trapezoidal as previously thought but an example of the Pseudo-cylindrical, equal area sinusoidal projection. It is generally simply called the Sinusoidal Projection and in the past was also called the "equal area Mercator", "Sanson" or "Sanson-Flamsteed" projection. It was, in fact, also used for the Martini Maps published in Europe about 60 years earlier and at much the same time as Sanson was using this projection in France for various maps. Wang Qianjing comprehensively establishes his result by direct measurement backed up by the theory. The paper and the translation can be accessed via the Kangxi Jesuit Maps Project Page or directly as PDFs at:
Draft Translation: Wang Qianjin: A new investigation of the projection of the copper plate version of the Kangxi 'Complete map of the imperial domain' or
Original Paper: 康熙铜版_皇舆全览图_投影种类新探_汪前进
The draft translation is being made available while some final checks are made for correct translation of the terms, the mathematics and English expression. If you have suggestions or equations you are very welcome to make contact and help with this review stage.


Recent updates - Projects and Catholics

Recently, there have been content updates to the documents for the Kangxi Maps and Catholics on the Shu Roads . In addition, these and other material can now be more simply and conveniently accessed via the new "Projects" list and its introductory web pages. To find out more please visit the new links on the main page or go directly to the Projects List at the Projects List Page.
You are welcome to browse the contents of the site now by Project as well as Document or Menu item List.


The Kangxi Jesuit 'Secret Map' and derivative products

The Kangxi Emperor commissioned a group of French Jesuit missionaries to develop a set of Maps of China. Between 1708 and 1718 they carried out extensive field work throughout China resulting in an extensive Atlas in 1718. A revised edition of their Atlas was presented to the Emperor in 1721 after which the maps quickly travelled to Europe where they were to become incorporated into the latest maps. The Kangxi maps had already been used in China to negotiate boundaries with Russia but European knowledge of China was the main beneficiary. The following web area provides access to a document describing this activity and also to Quicklook Jpegs and Google Earth super-overlays of maps and mosaics. These have been studied as described in the Document and will be used with the Yan Ruyi maps mentioned below. For more information please visit the web page:
Maps of the Kanxi Secret map series published in 1721
You are welcome to download images and presentations that are useful to you and comment on the present draft publication.


Three Draft Web Pages (Jan 2016)

Three web pages have been recently developed and are currently being tested and checked. All are intended to grow. They are not currently available via the menu so this addition is to provide access. The first is a page to collect scanned materials from the book published describing the Russian expedition of 1874. The book contains wondeful gravure prints of drawings made by Dr P. Piassetsky along the way. The current set of scans can be found at:
Drawings by Dr P. Piassetsky during Russian expedition in 1874
The second is a draft page that will outline all the maps and associated annotations in the Hanzhong Prefecture 1813 Gazetteer. These were the first group of maps made during the activities in Hanzhong associated with the scholar-official Yan Ruyi who has also featured in sites as described below. The present draft only contains scans of the "birds-eye" landscape style "Northern Plank Road Map" from a modern copy of the Gazetteer by Guo Peng and can be found at:
Maps of the Hanzhong Prefecture Gazetteer of 1813
The third is a set of digized maps from the Kanxi Jesuit maps of 1718. They have been used to construct a mosaic covering the general area within which Yan Ruyi maps are located. They can be found at:
Maps of the Kanxi Secret map series published in 1718
You are welcome to visit, download any images that are useful and comment of the present draft format or image quality.


New materials for Qing Yan Ruyi Maps from 1813-1822 (Updated August 2015)

The “Map of the four provinces on the north bank of the Han River” and other maps and materials by Yan Ruyi (produced between 1800~1820) have been studied after a copy of the map was found in the collection of the US Library of Congress. Feng Suiping expanded on initial studies for this map by Prof Li Xiaocong, who catalogued the Chinese map collection for the US Library of Congress in 2004. Feng Suiping made detailed studies of the map annotations and the geographic and cartographic principles used for this and other maps by Yan Ruyi and his draftsmen. Recently, Prof Lin Tianren has published a book outlining his investigations of the LoC Maps which makes links to related maps and materials in the Taipei Palace Museum Collection. The reference is:
Lin, Tianren and Zhang, Min, Eds (2013). "Reading imperial cartography: Ming-Qing historical maps in the Library of Congress", text in Chinese and English, Published by the Academia Sinica Digital Center (Taipei) in association with the US Library of Congress, 2013/11/01. ISBN: 9789860393637. 林天人编撰、张敏译:《皇舆搜览——美国国会图书馆所藏明清舆图》,台北中央研究院,数位文化中心出版,2013年11月。
His discussion of the “Map of the four provinces on the north bank of the Han River” provided alternative ideas and made refererence to copies of the maps north and south of the Han River in the Taipei Map Collection. Images of their maps can be found in:
Lin Tianren (Ed) (2012). "Mapping the Imperial realm: an exhibition of historical maps", National Palace Museum, Taipei. 林天人主编:《河岳海疆——院藏古舆图特展》,台北故宫博物院,2012年9月
The new material has led to a revision of the major paper on the topic by Feng Suiping who has also now provided a discussion of the various maps and materials in:
"A discussion concerning the 'Map of four provinces north of the Han River' in the collection of the Taipei Palace Museum" by Feng Suiping, Director, Hanzhong City Museum, (EN Transl. David Jupp). The document includes both a Translation into English and the complete Chinese text for comparison and discussion and can be read or downloaded HERE.
Access to the latest documents by these people and images can be found on the page set up to provide general information on Yan Ruyi's maps HERE and the translation of Feng Suiping's final version of the paper can be found on that page and directly HERE.
Maps and other materials suitable as Google Earth presentations have previously been collated and made available in the list of presentations on the Qinling Plank Roads to Shu web site HERE.


April 2015 - updated documents

A number of documents available on the Qinling Plank Roads to Shu Web Site have been updated in recent months. As of April 2015 the main changes have been to:
Introduction to the Shu Roads (Major Updates) and
Alexander Wylie's 1867 Travels (New sections).
In addition, recent research has uncovered the name of the "Northern General" praised by Sir Eric Teichman for keeping peace in Hanzhong during the troubled times of the early Republic. It was apparently Maj. General Guan Jinju (管金聚, 1870-1927) of the Beiyang Army who was Garrison Commander at Hanzhong (then known as Nanzheng) between 15 July 1916 and 9 June 1920. This and other material on the lawless period of warlords has been added to a number of documents. The most significant were:
Stories from Teichman's Tangluo Road
Note on an anomaly in a Qing Scroll Map and
Catholic Missionaries on the Shu Roads.
The history of the Hanzhong area during this turbulent time may in the future become a separate "story" in the "Stories" document above.


Revised version of Stories from the Tangluo Road

The journey by Sir Eric Teichman across the Qinling in 1917 has been the subject of a number of recent entries on this page! The most recent materials in this project can all be found on the project page: "The ancient Tangluo Road and Sir Eric Teichman's visit to Foping".
In particular the document Stories from Teichman's Tangluo Road has been updated recently (November 2014 and February 2015). The updates have brought it into line with other recent developments in the research effort around the maps produced between 1804 and 1822 under the guidance of Yan Ruyi in Hanzhong. Information from a number of maps has now been incorporated into the text.


An English-Chinese Matched Pair of documents and stories from the Tangluo Road

Sir Eric Teichman's journey across the Qinling from Hanzhong to Fengxiang in 1917 included a main route of the ancient Tangluo Road. This has been explored at the Qinling Shu Roads web site under "The ancient Tangluo Road and Sir Eric Teichman's visit to Foping".
In November 2013, a translation of an existing document was presented at a conference in Hanzhong. The full reference is:
[Australia] David Jupp (Jia Dawei) author, Peng Minjia Translator, "Sir Eric Teichman and the Tangluo Road" in Collected papers for the "Symposium on China's Shu Roads", edited by the Hanzhong City Museum, November 11, 2013.
Since that time, the original English document has been split into better sections and the main paper in Chinese and English have been made matched in scope and contents. The other sections have been made into a second English document, augmented by a translation and called "Stories from Teichman's Tangluo Road". They are available at the above page HERE and directly as PDF files as follows:
Teichman on the Foping Trail (EN)
台克满爵士和傥骆道 (CH)
Stories from Teichman's Tangluo Road
Welcome to read and send comments and suggestions. An objective of this has been to improve the paper by input from English and Chinese readers so the line is open.


Updated KMZ Files and presentations available

Updated presentations and KMZ files have been added recently (October 2013) to the Google Earth and GPS area. One was the set of places and routes on the Ancient Tangluo Road as inferred from the map and account by Sir Eric Teichman in 1917 and recently discussed. It is part of work reported in greater detail HERE.
Another is the original Shu Roads presentation. It has been updated and while some updates are still to come, the present form is being made available for comment and feedback. If you have the previous KMZ file in your Google Earth "My Places" area you should not need to download a new one. But due to some occasional reticence to refresh in Google Earth, deleting the older KMZ, exiting and reloading from the site is wise. Both presentations may be downloaded from the normal place HERE. Feedback very welcome.
In providing reasonable estimates for the tracks and paths of the Shu Roads, a Russian Topographic Map series has been used extensively. Documentation, including an updated Table for converting Cyrillic to Pinyin, has been developed for these maps and may be accessed HERE.
Finally, three Google Earth presentations have been developed to support studies of map scale and metric accuracy in the Han River Basin as part of studies of Yan Ruyi's mapping between 1813 and 1822. These may be found HERE.


Shu Road Field Work, June 2012

In June 2012, Field work was carried out in Sichuan and southern Shaanxi to check places described by Alexander Wylie in 1868. The first stage was along the Jinniu (Golden Ox) Road between Chengdu and Hanzhong. From Hanzhong, Alexander Wylie used a linking road to go to Shiquan, avoiding some fierce rapids on the middle Han River. From Shiquan he took a boat to Hankou. The visit also included a field investigation of the linking road and places on it - such as the Guluba settlement where Italian missionaries had settled in the late Qing period. The southern field mission and a brief but productive journey along the Lianyun Road to Baoji were also used to Check barrier posts and places in Shaanxi that were recorded on a Qing Period Scroll Map held by The Library of Congress (see map details HERE). Before the visit, materials, including a Table of identified place names and three Topo Map Mosaics based on the Russian Military 1:200k maps of the 1960's were used to check routes and places and made available on the web as well as in hard copy format. GPS tracks and waypoints confirmed by the field visits are now being used to update of the GE KMZ presentation that can be found HERE. The items making up the base of information for the work, including the GE presentations, documents, papers and other references has been set up as a web link HERE along with documents that describe the outcomes of the field visit. The Russian Topographic Maps used for the work have enabled the pre-1965 road routes to be used as surrogates for older Shu Roads and linking routes. They have also established the extent of changes that have occurred since the main motor road from Chengdu to Baoji was completed in 1941. Information on all the data sources and other material can all be found at the new Web Page.


The Chinese Name for Australia
Final Penultimate Version

There has been an update to the "Chinese name for Australia". In April 2011, David Jupp first posted a draft document that explored the origin of the present Chinese name for Australia (澳大利亚) and how it became accepted as such by Chinese. It has taken him, and whoever wished to read it, to lots of interesting places. For some time, the document remained a Draft as there was a final question to be answered - who was the western missionary who coined the modern name for Australia in Chinese characters in 1834? The answer has involved considerable research - but it is over and the answer can be found in the FINAL (Penultimate) version of June 16, 2013 available here. In the future, if you have comments, you are still very welcome J to also provide feedback, suggestions, corrections and to point out errors. Access to the document is via a web page where there is an explanation, a summary and access to other documents. You are welcome to find out all the answers to the questions that prompted this work at this page: "The Chinese name for Australia".
This version will remain as the only version - except for minor edits when found by readers. Any major change will only occur if it is decided to proceed to a more official and professional publication. Although it may not appeal to everyone, this project has been a great experience and of great interest and enjoyment to me.


Library of Congress Qing Period scroll map

An ancient Qing period scroll map, discussed by Herold Wiens, is held by the US Library of Congress. It is called 《陕境蜀道图》 or “The Shu Road from Shaanxi to the Sichuan Border”. It was scanned by the Library of Congress and quicklook images and other information have been made available on THIS PAGE of the Shu Roads web site. Since the data were first made available, there have been many updates. They have included making high resolution data available and adding translations to two important papers about the scroll map that were in Chinese. One is a Chinese paper by Bi and Li (2004) describing the map that has been translated. It was the first one written following the work by Li Xioacong to catalogue the Library of Congress Collection. It can be obtained from THIS PAGE. A Chinese paper by Hanzhong Museum Director Feng Suiping (2010) taking the Bi and Li (2004) paper as base and adding extensive new material has now been translated. In addition to the translation of the Bi and Li (2004) paper it can also be obtained from THIS PAGE. Finally, various discussion documents can also be reached from the page.


Herold J Wiens and his publications

Herold J Wiens was an American Geographer whose Thesis in 1949 provided a comprehensive examination of the Shu Roads. Herold Wiens Thesis is probably the most comprehensive material about the Shu Roads in English language. The site makes his paper and Thesis available for study and citation. His early examination of the Qing Period Scroll Map in the Hummel Collection (described in detail HERE) of the US Library of Congress was suggested by Arthur Hummel and helped bring to light the presence of such items in this important collection (see a more details of the collection HERE). Herold Wiens grew up in China as his family founded a Mennonite mission in Fujian in a town called Shanghang (上杭) in a Hakka (客家) area of the upper reaches of the Han river (韩江). The story of his family and Herold's early years can be found in a privately published book written by his sister, Adina Wiens Robinson, called "China Beckoning".


An Introduction to the Shu Roads

This PDF (1.332 MB) is an introduction developed from a number of documents and translations that arose during the ACC Project. It uses, but does not discuss, 3S technology and primarily outlines the history, geography, culture and environment that surrounds the Shu roads, the Plank roads and the barrier passes that made up these trade and traffic routes for (probably more than) 3000 years.


Talk to the Australia China Friendship Society in Canberra April 17, 2013

David Jupp gave a talk to the Australia China Friendship Society on April 17, 2013 at the Southern Cross Club, Jamison. David Jupp provided information about the talk that can be checked out HERE.
The talk and photographs shown have been provided as PDF files and its linked HTML files for to look at and access.
The PDF of the main talk can be found HERE.
You are welcome to access them this way and/or contact the author for more direct access to material of interest.


Talks to the Australia-China Friendship Society in Canberra April 29 2009

David Jupp gave a talk to the Canberra Branch of the Australia-China Friendship Society (PDF of current Society Bulletin) on Wednesday April 29. Presentation in two PDF Files can be downloaded as the main talk HERE (warning, PDF is 4.087 MB) and a group of scans from a magazine about the Wenchuan Earthquake HERE (second PDF is 1.051 MB). The second PDF can be started from within the first if you wish provided the PDF files are in the same directory.


2007 Symposium Presentations and Publications

Selected presentations for the 2007 International Symposium on Plank Road Research and Applications of 3S Technology held in Hanzhong, Shaanxi Province, China. An introductory paper and the recently published collected papers have now been referenced as well as PDF files of some important presentations.


Translation of Feng Suiping’s Bendigo memories

During the September 2008 visit to Australia, Feng Suiping was very impressed by the exhibits and enterprise on display at the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo, Victoria. The visitors discovered experiences of Chinese people in Australia from the Gold Rushes of the 1800’s to the present and continued in Melbourne at the Chinese Museum and at the Immigration Museum.


Final Acquittal and collected material for ACC Project (2009)

Formal acquittal and report to the Australia China Council for Phase II of the Project (April 2009) and References to supporting material (acquittal is Reference 24)



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