Qianlong land survey

  • Japanese/Chinese: 乾隆検地 (Kenryuu kenchi / Qiánlóng jiǎnde)

The Qianlong land survey was conducted by the government of the Ryûkyû Kingdom over a thirteen-year period, from 1737 to 1750.[1] It resulted in highly accurate maps of the various districts (magiri) of the kingdom, known as magiri-zu.

Long poles of bamboo with black & white circular target markers on top were used to provide sight lines for sighting distances, and karahari (唐針) were used to determine the angles/direction. A karahari was a circular form labeled with all the zodiac directions. A string was strung across, and this helped determine precisely what direction one was facing.


  • Gallery labels, Ryukyu/Okinawa no chizu ten, Okinawa Prefectural Museum, Feb 2017.
  1. The survey takes its name from its timing, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735-1796) of Qing Dynasty China.