D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi




The poet will now divert his attention to the Kun image associated with Lake Baikal. It is somewhat premature to deal with the subject, but it is of some interest to him. He realizes that others may not see a similar thing, but he tries to keep an open mind about the matter. In fact, he regards it as highly probable that others regard it as improbable verging on impossible. Undoubtedly and understandably, they look at The Selden Map from the perspective of maritime trade routes.

On the other hand, the poet wishes to expand the outlook to include the whole trade route system which includes the land version of the Silk Roads. Furthermore, th
e poet is transitioning from the factual Xuanzong who was a real monk in the 7th century to  the fictional Xuanzang who was a monk of Journey to the West in the 16th century at the time of the Ming Dynasty. However, underlying his premise is the perception that The Selden Map may depict more than land forms and islands, structures like the Great Wall, Chinese writing, the seas, lakes and vegetation.

In other words, the map may contain images of animals and figures. With respect to animals he references those of the Chinese zodiac and the cardinal directions in particular. In regard to figures, for example, he has shown an emperor and controller of the winds whose image is in the shell of a tortoise-snake protecting the Chinese peoples who are sheep behind a defensive Great Wall. He has also depicted a Knighte Errant. His poem series is called The Selden Poems which pays homage to John Selden who was also a poet who wrote rather obscurely.

However, over the last decade, scholars have not referred to a single instance of an animal or figure on The Selden Map. It is almost as if they were to admit to the perception of single animal whether imaginary like a dragon or otherwise that they may have to concede there might be many animals on the map--perhaps a whole menagerie of them. However, generally speaking, an historian is not a poet. He deals with facts as he perceives and interprets them. On the other hand, a poet is not generally an historian; although, he may reference historical accounts as an adjunct to his primary goal.

                                 Kepler's Supernova SN1604

The situation reminds the poet of the view of the heavens as unchanging which was advanced by Aristotle. This viewpoint was held by scientists and philosophers until the year 1604. In October of that year a supernova explosion was visible to the naked eye in the constellation Ophiuchus. It was seen by astronomers in Ming Dynasty China as well as in Korea and Europe. This one exception to an unchanging heaven was noted by Kepler and Galileo to show change was the new normal. In political/religious terms there was the aborted Gunpowder Plot to blow up the House of Lords during the State Opening of England's Parliament on November 5, 1605.

At any rate, the poet will now refer to several images perceived with a high degree of poetic licence within Kun in the north-west corner of The Selden Map. The poet was trying to determine if there were animals of the Chinese zodiac within Kuni which were reflective of those perceived throughout the map. It so happens that 12 zodiac animals manifested themselves among others within this small space. He will concentrate though for the moment on the ox.


                               Small ox or water buffalo


                                    Mid-size water buffalo


                                     Large ox or water buffalo

The poet perceives a small image of an ox. It is next to a larger image of a water buffalo which was often used as a substitute for the ox--particularly in Vietnam or as the poet saw in Guilin. Keep in mind though that Kun is just north of the very large image of an ox or water buffalo that represents the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. This means that there is a scaling from the microcosm to the macrocosm and vice versa. It came as a surprise however to discern a head and shoulders sketch of a man embedded in the smallest ox image when it was viewed frontally. He simply reports what he sees rather than jumping to too many conclusions. However, one cannot underestimate the importance and relevance of the underlying meaning and connection of these perceived images.



The poet sees a man looking westward. This is rather remarkable since the general location is the western edge of the map. He is a rather common-looking man who wears a cap. It seems to be a cap one might associate with the sea. Out of his cap--so to speak--there appears to be a violin. He may also have a moustache. There are other images of smaller animals embedded. Perhaps the poet also associates the man with the sea because there is a fish below the sketch of the man.


On the other side of Kun there is another image of a face in lighter colours of blue and white which is looking eastward. One can imagine that it is a woman looking at the man across the wide expanse. Between these two sketches appear to be a pair of white dragon and phoenix which are the heavenly equivalents to the man and woman.


                                         Dragon and Phoenix

One might imagine the dragon to be on the right side facing westward and the phoenix on the left side facing eastwards. They are very close and looking at each other. Both jaws and tails appear to be interlocked.


                                       Boy Crown Knight

Below the image of the woman's face appears to be that of a boy. He, too, looks eastward at what appears to be immediately in front of him which is a miniature, pastoral scene. He is fed by a white bird which may be a crane (symbolizing long life). The body of the boy is a helmeted crown which is bell shaped like either a knight's helmet or an emperor's dress.

It is an unusual style of crown. At the top of the crown seems to be the parapet of a castle. There may be a shield in the crown. One gets the impression that a knight wears the crown. The knight's face though is rather ghastly and ghostly which implies that he has long since died. He looks eastward. If the head is construed as a bust then it may be resting on some kind of pedestal.

                                  Poetical Hypothesis

The poet has saved a special relationship until the beginning of the New Year. However, perspicacious readers would have earlier realized its nature.


 John Selden (minstrel with violin and father of jurist and scholar John Selden)


Margaret Selden (nee Baker of Rustington, West Sussex)

- mother of John Selden

- descended from knightly family of Kent


John Selden (jurist and scholar) as a boy with mouse on head and fed by a white bird (possibly a crane symbolizing long life)

(16 December 1584 – 30 November 1654)

- born Salvington, West Sussex


                           Bat Boy John Selden wearing bat crown


                                      White pot or Big Dipper


                                            Knight of Kent

The Knight shows four faces. First, there is the right-sided skeletal face with fierce looking teeth, bulging eyes, large eyebrows and bulbous nose. The second face is frontal and appears more sedate with small eyes, round nose and small mouth. The third face is left-sided wtih mouth open. The fourth face (blue) is in the bottom left hand corner of the Knight image and is three-quarters right. It has a stone band around the top of the head with a bat and perhaps also a monkey on top. The four faces may symbolize the four directions, phases of the moon or aspects of character.


                                       Phases of the Moon

The poet reinterprets the next images which manifest themselves. They are related to one another in a way that was not anticipated. The poet watched the Apollo astronauts land "on" the moon in the year 1969. At that moment, scientific ideas of the moon fully replaced romantic ideals. However, prior to that date, vestiges of romanticism prevailed and were more strong the further one went back into the past. For example, a prominent belief was held that there was a man "in" the moon and his facial features could be recognized.

It was with some difficulty therefore that the poet had trouble defining and classifiying the images that had emerged from the whists and whispers of the past. They spoke to him though (in hushed tones) saying "phases of the moon". It is the most obvious reason why an image of a man's face is metaphorically overlaid on top of an image of a full face so that it is covered half-way. It explains why there be another image in three-quarters perspective next to them figuratively representing another phase of the moon. They all share the same middle eye, too. The open question though is whether or not the phases represent the facial features of a real man?


                                            Luna setting

To put this issue into context one must consider the prominent image below the phases of the moon reflected and depicted outside of Kun. It is the unambiguous and labelled image of a full Moon. It is partially covered, too, by wisps of cloud as opposed to leaves and branches of a tree.


                                        Yukiang decreasing

All of these images are part of the northern winter landscape in and around the North Sea of Lake Baikal. However, they are not restricted to them. There is one important dual-faceted image of opposites. It is known as Yukiang with body of whale and hands and feet of a human.                      

It is not Mushashi riding on top of the whale, but rather his Chinese counterpart by another name who as a mythical creature ruled the Ocean. He was a dragon-riding deity with the body of a kuan or whale and the hands and feet of a human being. He came from the North Sea. The white whale descends into the depths as the full moon rests below the horizon in the West.


compliments of the Bodleian Library

                               The Spanish Influence

The poet presents a magnified portion of the upper part of what he has identified as the Kun image on The Selden Map. It is then rotated to the right in order to reveal a side image of a head facing right. It is conjectured that the individual is Felippe II who was the son of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Felippe II died at the end of the sixteenth century after a failed invasion of England.


                                    Felippe II of Spain

There are several features in the image which identify a male of the Hapsburg line who may be Felippe II. The first feature is a large nose which is rather pointed. The nose is accentuated because it is part of what appears to be the snout of a fox. In addition, the beak of a bird also is part of the nose.

The second feature which is perhaps most important is the famous Habsburg chin which protrudes. This deformity resulted from inbreeding in the royal family. The trait was so pronounced in Charles II who was the last of the Habsburg line that he had trouble eating. It is said that he had the most elongated face, too.

The final feature which characterizes a male in the Habsburg line is an elongated tongue. The tongue may be drawn as an ermine. The ermine's tail sticks out or protrudes at great length. It ends in a serpent's tongue.

While the ermine is a royal symbol there is another symbol of royalty evident in the Habsburg male. That is the plume of feathers on the head. It is formed from the eagle's head.

It is rather surprising to find the image of a Holy Roman Emperor Felippe II even in a rather disguised manner on The Selden Map. Spain had established the colony of Manila in the Philippines, but the colony was struggling with raids of the Portuguese and also had to contend with pirates. Felippe was content with the size of his empire and did not wish to expand it in the South China Sea--especially because it did not have the money to do so--Spain had declared bankruptcy several times.

However, there were those in Manila who wished to conquer China itself for either religion or riches. According to Samuel Hawley in The Spanish Plan to Conquer China, all representatives of the Spanish colony of Manila met on April 20, 1586 to promote the invasion of China. Martín de Rada wished to conquer China so that Augustinians could save Chinese souls. Diego de Artieda tried to convince Felippe that trade and invasion were inseparable.

                The Distinguished Gentleman (on the left)

compliments of the Bodleian Library

The poet would be remiss if he didn't mention the frontal image of a distinguished elderly gentleman to the left of Felippe II. It comprises the upper body and full face of an elderly male. No identification has been made of this figure. The figure may or may not be related to the Felippe II image.


                                          The Bullfighter

compliments of the Bodleian Library

To reinforce the general Spanish theme the poet unveils The Bullfighter. He is found on the right hand side in blue and facing left with his right arm extended. Of course, he is challenging the horned bull which menaces his abdomen.

It might be as good a time as any to mention the novel Don Quixote which was published in two parts in 1605 and 1615. Earlier, the poet contended that both Journey to the West and Don Quixote have influenced the drawing of The Selden Map.  It might be appropriate at this time for the poet to speculate on the inspiration for Cervantes' character Don Quixote who was mad from reading books on chivalry, but otherwise was rational when talking about other topics. His madness may have been modelled on Joanna the Mad of Castille.


                                         Joanna of Castille

Joanna was madly in love with Philip of Hapsburg who became King of Castille as Philip I. However, he died rather prematurely at the age of 28. While she was exceptionally clever her mental instability manifested itself at this time when she refused to depart from her deceased husband's remains.


                                      Dulchinea of Tobaso

The madness of her love reminds one of Don Quixote's love for Dulchinea del Toboso. Basically, he invented her. He says that "her rank must be at least that of a princess, since she is my queen and lady".


                                                Charles V

As for the knight-errant aspect of Don Quixote's character one might look at the son of Philip I and Joanna of Castille. Their son was Charles who became known as Charles V or Holy Roman Emperor, King of Spain and Prince of the Habsburg Netherlands. He revitalized the medieval concept of Charlemagne's universal monarchy through thirty-five years of warfare.

In conclusion, the image of Felippe II on The Selden Map is important because it may provide a clue as to who was the map  maker, whence did he draw the chart and for what purpose. It could indicate the map maker was from Manila. Whether he supported Felippe's views on maintaining the status quo in the South China Sea for a peaceful mission of conversion of souls and trade or one of empire expansion through knight errantry is uncertain.

D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi