Archive for the ‘Antique Map News’ Category

Dalai Lama Given Map Showing an Independent Tibet Before USA Visit

October 15th, 2010

An antique map challenging the relationship between Tibet and China was recently given to the Dalai Lama. It clearly defines the two regions as separate countries, a historical counterpoint to China’s claim over the highest region on earth. The gift – drawn almost a hundred years before China’s invasion of Tibet – was presented at a ceremony at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala, India.

Dalai Lama recieves map from Tara Doyle, Emory University

Dalai Lama recieves map from Tara Doyle, Emory University

The Dalai Lama received the map as a joint gift from Emory University and Miklian Antiquarian Maps. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan population, many of whom have lived in exile in India since the 1950s.

1869 Mitchell Map of Tibet and South Asia

1869 Mitchell Map of Tibet and South Asia

The map itself is an original chart of Asia, Tibet and China drawn by Augustus Mitchell in the year 1869. Mitchell was one of the most famous and respected mapmakers of the 19th century, and his maps were prized for their accuracy as well as their striking attention to geographic and artistic detail.

The Mitchell map also bestows additional documentation and credence to the Free Tibet movement, which asserts that the 1950 invasion of Tibet by China was illegal and a breach of state sovereignty. Official statements from China often state that Tibet is, and has always been, a part of China. This map casts doubt on that claim.

While all major governments now consider Tibet to be the domain of China, during many periods of history the relationship between the two regions was not as it is today. Both Tibet and China have cultures stretching back thousands of years, and interactions between the two have undergone tremendous flux as the powers have risen and fallen in supremacy and influence.

Miklian Antiquarian Maps owner Jason Miklian considers the map itself as a significant piece of world history, one that is often more complex and impermanent than we assume. “Almost every land in the world has been ruled by an outside force at least one point in history,” Miklian explained. “This map of an independent Tibet illustrates the always fluctuating geopolitics of nation-states since the 1600s, and a glimpse into how people understood the world almost 150 years ago. This is just one of hundreds of fascinating antique maps that provide proof that today’s borders, boundaries and countries were not always so.”

The Dalai Lama has also been awarded the position of Presidential Distinguished Professor at Emory, and will be arriving to the United States for a series of lectures from 17-19 October 2010, to be attended by actor Richard Gere, author Matthieu Ricard, and other distinguished luminaries.

More information on the Emory – Tibet partnership can be found at, and Miklian Antiquarian Maps is located at

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Three Interesting Map and Antique Map Blogs

March 12th, 2010

Of the several of antique map blogs that were started after 2000, a large number have unfontunately ceased to update. Three that are still going strong (and great sources of information) are:

First Printing: The Antique Maps and Antiques Prints Blog


The Map Room: A Weblog About Maps (modern and antique)



Map the Universe: A Blog About Antique Map Collecting


The map room in particular teaches me new and interesting this about maps almost every posting. I particularly enjoy seeing how techniques, styles and and above all aesthetic qualities of antique maps are transfered to the ideas and designs of 20th century and current mapmakers. The look may change, at times radically, but the artistry and creativity of mapmaking is certainly alive and well in contemporary times.

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Hand Coloring and Outlining for Antique Maps, and a Recommendation

March 10th, 2010

Many customers have asked about adding contemporary had coloring and outlining to un-colored maps, or about having contemporary artists touch up colors that have faded. The discussions usually involve how this addition and/or restoration will affect the value of the piece. There is a significant amount of debate on the issue, but it basically comes down to a matter of preference. Some collectors prefer uncolored maps, others prefer hand-colored or hand-outlined maps. For the latter, period original coloring is generally considered to be the most desirable.

That said, contemporary colored maps have found their way into many collections, particularly for those people who wish to have maps framed and displayed. A tastefully done contemporary colored map looks every bit as presentable as it’s originally colored counterpart, and can be a welcome addition to a collection.

Of course, the selection of who will be coloring the piece is of paramount importance. Over the past several years, I have contacted several artists with experience in hand coloring antique maps. One of the best that I have come across is Breten Bryden in Massachusetts. She uses period colors, has extensive experience, and can tailor any map to your specifications. Further, her prices are reasonable. Please note the following ‘before’ and ‘after’ of two maps that I had sent to her, one colored and one outlined:

1770 Vaugondy Map of France

1770 Vaugondy Map uncolored

1770 Vaugondy Map colored
In particular, coloring can be a useful way to improve maps with heavy toning, as seen here:

Breten can be reached through her website at If you are interested in purchasing a map from Miklian Antiquarian Maps and would like to have it sent via Breten for coloring, please contact me and we can arrange this to be done as well. As always, any maps for sale on Miklian Antiquarian Maps clearly distinguish whether map coloring and outlining is period / original or contemporary.

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The Osher Map Library and Smith Cartographic Center (Maine)

March 8th, 2010

Came across a good article yesterday highlighting one of the more interesting and unique map collections in the USA. The Osher Map Library (and by extension Smith Cartographic Center & Smith Globe Collection) prioritizes diversity over specialization, contains well over 30,000 pieces, and is a real treat for those in the New England area. You can see the full article from the Boston Globe here.

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Improved photographs of maps

March 6th, 2010

Dear all,

Due to popular demand, we have recently upgraded our photography setup for all map listings on the site, enabling much stronger detail and photos that are closer to the true representation of the maps themselves.
CLICK HERE to see some of the newer samples. We will gradually be re-taking photos of the earlier postings, and will be using the new setup for all future listings. As always, thanks to all of our customers worldwide for their comments and suggestions as we make our gradual transition online.

All best,

Jason Miklian
Miklian Antiquarian Maps

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Antique Map Collection Wins Ignominious Honor

January 11th, 2010

The impressive collection of antique maps of the Southwestern United States previously belonging to Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon garnered some headlines this month for all of the wrong reasons. The $12.1 million sale (for over $8 million in profit) of the collection from McClendon to his company was afforded only a footnote in the company’s financial statement, winning the ‘worst footnote of the year’ award. Here’s is Chesapeake’s less-than-revealing explanation for the purchase. And check out Chesapeake’s official declaration of additional information here after the headlines from the sale generated more than a few questions. Still not an itemized list, unfortunately. Also lost in the uproar was the fact that the map purchase will probably go down as the best asset Chesapeake bought in the last decade. Time will tell..

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More Strange Maps with Nonexistent Features

January 8th, 2010

Continuing the theme of map errors and oddities, Chris Lane at Antiue Prints Blog has listed a few of the more interesting (and egregious) errors of USA maps from the 17th century. The selection includes missing coastlines, phantom lakes, and mountain ranges that only exist in the mapmakers mind. We’ll have a few similar maps available for sale in February 2010 – watch this space.

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A Brief History of Strange Maps

December 8th, 2009

Slate magazine had an interesting slide show article this week illustrating some of the more unique and creative interpretations that have come about in the world of cartography. Examples from both the antique and modern mapmaking world are highlighted, and are quite fun to see.

View the Slate article here.

Interested in a similar unique map of your own? We currently have in stock one of the last maps in the world that depicted California as an island – click here to see our Yoshimoto map from 1834.

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Telling an Original Antique Map from a Reproduction

November 6th, 2009

The always high-quality Antique Prints Blog has a useful new post up with information on how to distinguish between an original and reproduction antique map, with basic information on printing processes and paper. In addition, many other tell-tale signs of period pieces, such as chain link plate marks, period yellowing, and texture also come into account. This brief article by the International Map Collectors Society also has some good tips on distinguishing authentic maps from fakes. As always, when in doubt, it is best to ask an expert, and if a price is ‘too good to be true’, it’s probably that way for a reason. For more information, feel free to contact us or add your own links in the comments section.

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Exhibition – Modern Interpretations of Korean Antique Maps

October 29th, 2009

An interesting upcoming event for those in the UK. From November 2 – 20 at Nottingham Trent University, five South Korean artists will exhibit modern interpretations of 17th to 19th century Korean antique maps, donated by the National Library of Korea. click here for more information and a sample of the artwork.

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