These are two highly detailed maps of portions of the island of Cuba, emphasizing the geographical and topographical nature in each section. The mountains, and of course there are very significant mountains throughout Cuba, the mountains are rendered and made quite graphic with a technique known at the time as hachure, h-a-c-h-u-r-e, which with very fine strokes of the engraving pen create a sense of what is up and what is down and the result is quite powerful in showing the elevations – at least relative elevations- of the mountains of the island. All of that has been replaced in modern times by topographic lines, lines of equal height above sea level, but there is a compellingness about this particular technique. One of the maps reflects the Bay of Havana and both the maps are about as complete as could be done by the producing authority here, which was the Office of the Chief of Engineers in the United States of America. So, this was the best depiction that the United States had, and I imagine anybody of the world had of the interior of Cuba as of 1873, the date that the maps were prepared.
It’s a map in the middle of the 19th Century – published in 1865 – of the Japanese Mailan—Mainland. Now, on any current map of that part of the world, you will see the several islands of the Japanese archipelago arranged as they actually are, and they are certainly not in a straight line. However, for the purposes of this map, they’ve been made to fit in a straight line; so that the directions that might apply to one portion of the map don’t necessarily apply to another part of the map. From a visual standpoint, it’s gorgeous. It folds up and then folds back out. It’s very delicate. Uh, and to look at it and to try to connect one portion of the mapped area and today’s name for the, uh, city or body of water is a wonderful exercise.