THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


42 Japanese celestial globe
Papier-mâché, 10 inches in diameter, late seventeenth century
The first globe was brought to Japan from Europe by an official Japanese mission and presented to Shogunate Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1591. The introduction of the globe was an important part of western cultural incursions into the previously isolated nation, causing a revolutionary shift in the Japanese world view: the earth suddenly became a sphere. Accepting the new shape of things, Japanese instrument makers began making globes from European models, the earliest of which is from 1670. This celestial globe, marking the relation of heavenly bodies to the earth's curved surface, is from the late seventeenth century. On its surface are extensive explanatory notes in ink describing the equator, degrees of longitude and latitude, and the positions of the fixed stars.
Gift of David Eugene Smith

Collections and Treasures