Southeast Asia in the Selden Map

The Bodleian Libraries at the University of Oxford has restored and digitized a seventeenth-century Chinese map known as “the Selden Map.” The map can be viewed here.

A few weeks ago a friend asked me how to read the place names on the map that are referring to places in Southeast Asia. I have tried to do that here. Hopefully it will be of help.

far left

At the far left you have the Guli Kingdom (古里國).

And then there is a box with some information in it. I don’t understand this very well because it contains information that pertains to using some kind of compass, and I don’t know anything about that. In any case, there is information there about going from Guli northwestward to the Adan Kingdom (阿丹國), the Fa’er Kingdom (法兒國), and to Hutumosi (忽魯謨斯).

Then in the two circles to the right you have Fangsha (放沙) above and the Xianluo Kingdom (暹羅國), i.e., Siam, below.


To the east of Siam you have Louli (樓里), and then moving down the coast from north to south you have Đông Kinh (東京), Thanh Hoa (清花), Tân Yên [or An?] (新安), Bố Chánh (布政), Thuận Hóa (順化), Quảng Nam (廣南) and Tân Châu (新州).


Further south from there along the coast you have Chiêm Thành (占城), or Champa, Luowantou/La Loan Đầu (羅彎頭) and Maoxie Zhou/Mao Giải Châu (毛蟹洲), or “Hairy Crab Islet.” And then inland you have Jianpusai (柬埔寨), or Cambodia.


At the northern end of the Malay Peninsula, the map has Liukun (六坤), Fotoulang (佛頭郎) and Dani (大泥) on the east coast and Jijiao (吉礁) on the west coast.

At the southern end of the Malay Peninsula, the map has Pengfang (彭坊) on the east coast, Maliujia (麻六甲), or Melaka, on the west coast, and Wudingjiaolin (烏丁礁林) at what appears to be where Singapore is today.


At the northern end of the island of Sumatra the map has “Sumuda, that is, Yaqi” (蘇木達即亞齊), with Yaqi obviously being Aceh.


In the middle of the island of Sumatra, the map has “Maozhen, that is, Maoli” (茅陣即貓離) on the west coast. And further down on the west coast is Bali Yeman (巴里野蠻) or “the Wild Savages of Bali.”

On the east coast it has Dingjiyi (丁機宜), and right below that, Zhanbei (占卑). And finally, further down is Jiugang (舊港), or Palembang.


Then on the island of Java we have, moving from west to east, Shunta (順塔), Jiaoliuba (咬留吧), Bana (吧哪), and Zhuman (豬蠻), or literally, “Pig Savages.”


Continuing eastward there is Raodong (饒洞), Moli (磨厘) and Lima (里嗎).


And finally there is Chiwen (池汶).


Heading to the north of there, moving from west to east, Bangjiashi (傍伽虱), Anwen (唵汶), and Yuandan (援丹).


Further north from there you have Wenlai (汶萊), or Brunei, in the lower left-hand corner of the above image.

Then in the lower right-hand corner there are three circles. The one at the top says “Hua people live here” (化人住). The one on the bottom left says “Red Hairs live here” (紅毛住), and the one on the bottom right has Wanlaogao (萬老高). The character for “Hua” here (化) is a simplified way of writing the character for “Chinese” (Hua 華), so what was being recorded here was that Chinese and Dutch (“Red Hairs” = Dutch) were living next to each other.

Finally, the other four places in the image are, moving from top to bottom, Shuwu (束務), Futang (福堂), Majunjiaolao (馬軍礁老), and Sulu (蘇祿).


Heading still further north we come to the island of Luzon. Looking at the place names from north to south, we see Dagang (大港), or “the big harbor,” Shekunmei (射昆美), Yuetoumen (月投門), Xianggang (香港), Nanwang (南旺), Tainiukang (台牛坑) [should be Zhongniukang 刣牛坑], Daimao (玳瑁), and further to the south, Fuding’an (扶鼎安) and the King of Luzon’s Citadel (呂宋王城).

Finally, just out in the sea to the east is a statement that says that Chinese stop at the harbor there and interact with [people from] Luzon (化人番在此港 往來呂宋).

4 thoughts on “Southeast Asia in the Selden Map

  1. How impressive; such a wonderful map! Thanks for sharing the details – it is always good to know somebody who can read Chinese properly. So bad though that one cannot download the high-resolution picture from the Bodleian website.

    The names for lower Siam are pretty clear, like Liukun (六坤), which probably meant Lakon [Nakhon Sri Thammarat] and Dani (大泥), maybe Pattani? Jijiao (吉礁) on the west coast might have referred to Jungceylon / Phuket?

  2. 1. very interstying map! all the name of places are similar to the using of Chinese in 15 centures.(the pronunciation probably is Min-Nan language; Min-Nan people, special in Fu-zhou, control south-east sea at the period.)
    2. Guli Kingdom (古里國)=present as Kozhikode; a kingdom at south-west of india, Zhen-he was died here in 1433.
    3. Hutumosi (忽魯謨斯)=horomoz (the pronunciation probably is Min-Nan language);present as Hormoz
    4. Adan Kingdom (阿丹國)=Aden
    5. (化人住): I belivee “化人” is not “華人” or Chinese;but “changed people” or “enlightened people”. so, (化人番) could be described as “those barbarians whom have enlightened into people”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s