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China’s geographical position in Europeans’ hierarchical imagination: A study on maps of Europeans from the perspective of intellectual history

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image of Frontiers of History in China

Maps act not only as the carrier of the geographical information but also as the symbolic expression of particular cultural and political concepts, by which we can understand those people’s knowledge about themselves as well as about others. The maps drawn by the Europeans from the 16th to the 18th centuries vividly express the self-centeredness of the Europeans influenced by both the Christian and modern civilization concepts, and the maps also expressed their comments on the other parts of the world in such a mentality. Some characteristic maps and illustrations in the atlas of European history demonstrated how the Europeans formed and expressed their hierarchical perspective of the world geography. The position of China in the hierarchical world is one of the most important expressions of the European concept of China, and well served the purpose of our reflection on the cultural intercommunion.


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