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Anonymous: [Saigon]

Map: SEAS4960
Cartographer: Anonymous
Title: [Saigon]
Date: 1902
Published: Saigon
Width: 41 inches / 105 cm
Height: 32 inches / 82 cm
Map ref: SEAS4960
Unique manuscript plan centered on Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City.

This extraordinary, unique document was drawn in Saigon. It is known that the French colonial authorities produced hundreds of manuscript maps for their own purposes, with both the Biblitheque Nationale in Paris and the Library of Cochinchina, now the General Sciences Library of Ho Chi Minh City holding many of them. This map bears an inscription on the lower right, with the title “le Corporal” or “Caporal Biblithecaire” suggesting that this was a rank for an archivist or librarian. There is a date, September 1st 1902 and a place, Saigon, Cochinchina. Finally, a signature is also present, but unfortunately, it is indecipherable. However, it is in a different script that both the inscription and the rest of the map, suggesting that the map was drawn by one individual, possibly a commercial artist or mapmaker while the signatory approved it. The reverse of the map again bears a manuscript title, date and signature and these are in the same hand and as the signatory. The larger names on the map bear very faint pencil marks to guide the hand of the artist.

The map centres on the settlement of Saigon and its environs, detailing a multitude of smaller villages and hamlets which surrounded the city. The much larger settlement of Cholon can clearly be seen to the southwest of the Saigon and the map marks the connections between the two cities. Ultimately, this led to their merger in 1931. The emphasis of the map seems to be on the infrastructure, mainly the roads, railways, rivers and canals present in the region.

The map is segmented and backed on linen. Folded. [SEAS4960]