HANGZHOU, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Nineteen old western maps including ones featuring the Diaoyu Islands will be highlights of first day of Xiling Academy of Traditional Arts' spring auction in Hangzhou.
Published from the mid-18th century until 1944 in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, the maps are currently owned by an European collector and will be sold on May 3, according to Li Qin, spokesperson for the academy. Previews began on Wednesday.
On these maps, the islands to the northeast of Taiwan are marked as "Haoyusu","Tiaoyousou" or "Tyaoyusu", based on the Mandarin Chinese or dialects in use when the maps were made, she said.
On the oldest map, dating back to 1752, a copy of a map drawn by French geographer and cartographer Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville in 1734, the islands are marked as Haoyusu, or Diaoyu in the Minnan Dialect, Li said.
These items provide fresh evidence that the islands have been Chinese territory since ancient times. Japan annexed the islands in 1895 after the First Sino-Japanese War. They are known as the Senkaku Islands.
Also under the hammer are a collection of documents revealing the Sino-Japanese ties from 1911 to 1932, including correspondence, intelligence documents, official files, memorandums, certificates, and bank statements.
Established in 1904 in the capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Xiling Academy of Traditional Arts specializes in poetry, calligraphy, painting and engraving, and has the longest history and the most wide influence in the study of seal engraving in China.