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Maps of Asia

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Mercator Asia
Gerard Mercator Jr. after Gerard Mercator. "Asia ex magna orbis terre descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris desumpta studio et industria G. M. Iunoris." From the Mercator-Hondius Atlas. Amsterdam: Jodocus Hondius, [1595]-1606. 14 7/8 x 18 3/8. Engraving. Full original color. Full margins. Very good condition.

Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) ranks as one of the greatest cartographers in history, not only for the extremely fine maps he produced, but also for the innovations which he introduced into cartographic science. Until the end of the sixteenth century, Ptolemy's concept of depicting sections of the world in trapezoidal configurations, like gores from a globe, had predominated. Mercator, however, stated that small sections of the earth were not significantly distorted toward the poles if longitude lines were represented as parallel by squares or rectangles. The development of the "Mercator projection," which became the established convention, was particularly important for the improvements it allowed in navigational methods.

Through his constant accumulation of new geographic and cosmological data, Mercator was able to produce the most accurate and current maps of his day, which unlike most of his contemporary's maps were mostly original work. His maps not only are excellent cartographically, but they are aesthetically superb as well, with beautiful cartouches, silken seas and other exquisite ornamentation. Mercator intended to produce a complete description of creation, heaven, the earth and the seas, a project he was only beginning when he died. Such was his influence that the title he chose for this projected work, "Atlas," has now become the generic name for all collections of maps. Mercator's grandson, Gerard Mercator Jr., drew this map of Asis based on Mercator's world map of 1569. As Mercator's general statement about Asia, highly decorative with its strong color in the early Dutch style, this is one of the best maps of Asia by one of the greatest cartographers in history. $2,100

J Hondius: Asia
Jodocus Hondius. "Asiae, Nova Descriptio Auctore Jodoco Hondio." Amsterdam: Jodocus Hondius 1606. 14 3/4 x 19 3/4. Engraving. Excellent original color. Full margins. Very good condition.

Jodocus Hondius (1563-1611) was one of the dominate figures in the great age of Dutch cartography. In 1604, he purchased the plates from the great Gerard Mercator's Atlas, and began publishing new editions of the atlas in 1606. This series of atlases was constantly updated with new maps by Hondius, reflecting his continued commitment to publishing a superior work. This particular map of Asia is one of Hondius' updated efforts, and it is an excellent example of his work.

The continent is presented with copious detail, and the map extends into the Pacific to include New Guinea and the Philippines. Much of the interior information of the Far East comes from Marco Polo, with some of it correct and much of it erroneous. To the northeast is shown the Anian Strait separating Asia and North America; though this looks like the Bering Strait, it was a geographical hypothesis with no basis in actual experience. Another hypothetical geographic feature is mentioned in the bottom right corner, where New Guinea is shown with a note indicating that it was not known whether it was an island or part of the hypothesized southern continent. The feature which is most noticeably incorrect is the depiction of Korea as an elongated island. The geographic misconceptions continue with several non-existent islands, including, "I dos hermanos," located in the oceans that are teeming with sea monsters and variously rigged sailing ships. These delightful decorative features are nicely complimented by the excellent calligraphy and the three mannerist cartouches, and the whole æsthetic appeal of the map is wonderfully highlighted by the lovely hand color. A superior map of Asia extending from the Eastern Mediterranean, to India, to Southeast Asia, all of China and out to Japan. Of major impact! $2,200

Blaeu Japan
Martini/Joan Blaeu. "Iaponia Regnum." Amsterdam, 1655+. 16 1/2 x 22 1/4. Engraving. Touches of hand color. Excellent condition. Walter, 38.

Martino Martini assembled information about Japan while he was in China. This map exhibits a combination of derivation from both the Jesuit Blancus/Moriera type and the Dudley/Jannson. Joan Blaeu would have been familiar with both these sources and also probably added the many Dutch names found here through his work with the Dutch East Indies Company. Prior to publishing his Atlas Major, Blaeu published a separate atlas of the orient entitled Atlas Sinensis in 1655. Most of the maps contained beautiful ornamentation, but this one is decidedly plain and straight forward. Following information from Robert Dudley, this is one of the earliest maps to show Korea as a peninsula rather than an island. The confused depiction of "Eso" that was found in other contemporary maps is not broached here because so little of the land mass is shown. $3,200
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Another map of an Asian region by W. Blaeu. Amsterdam: J. Bleau, 1643-50. Engraving. Excellent original hand color. Very good condition, except as noted.

DeWit East Indies
Frederick DeWit. "Tabula Indiae Orientalis." Amsterdam, 1662ff. 18 x 22 1/4. Engraving by Joannes Shuilier, 1662. Original hand color. Full margins. Very good condition. Koeman: Wit, 3 (17). Ref: Quirino, Philippine Cartography, p.84.

An updated map based on the Blaeu map of Southeast Asia (cf. above). Most of the atlases by Frederick DeWit (1630-1706) were composite in nature, so they are impossible to date precisely, though this map was engraved in 1662. The map shows from southeastern Persia to northwestern Australia. Focus is on India, Southeast Asia, and the East Indies with the Phillipines. The many islands are clearly depicted, with ports shown as the most important information. The Celebes Islands were then being developed for the spice trade which would lead to hostilities among the European powers. $1,250
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Nicolaas Witsen. "Asia Accuratissime Descripta." Amsterdam: Peter Schenck, 1695. 19 1/4 x 23. Enraving. Strong original outline color. A few light stains in margin. Very good condition.

A strongly engraved and colored map of Asia based on the work of Nicolaas Witsen. Witsen was at various times Mayor and Burgomaster of Amsterdam, ambassador or Russian and England, friend of Peter the Great, traveler, map collector, map maker, and artist of some note. Witsen traveled extensively, including to Moscow in 1664. He maintained copious correspondence with people in different parts of Asia and was able to compile as extensive knowledge of the continent as anyone in the later part of the seventeenth century. In 1692 he issued his account of Noord en Oost Tartarye and he was responsible for a large map of Asia in 1687. This is Peter Schenck's version of Witsen's information, and it is impressive in its detail and accuracy for the time. Besides its excellent information, the map is visually appealing as well, with good color and an elaborate cartouche with various Asiatic figures, objects, produce, and fauna. $1,800

Michael Burgers. "A New Map of Present Asia dedicated to his Highness William duke of Gloucester." Oxford: Edward Wells, 1700. 13 3/4 x 19 1/4 (neat lines) plus full margins. Engraving by M. Burgers. Outline hand color. Center fold as issued. Slight age discoloration. Very good condition.

An attractive map of Asia from Wells' New Set of Maps both of Ancient and Present Geography. This atlas was issued by Wells for Oxford University students, which explains the clarity of the lettering and the lack of distracting, non-essential decorative features. The map was drawn and engraved by Michael Burgers (also Burg or van de Burgh), a Dutch mapmaker who came to England in 1672 and became the engraver to Oxford University. The map shows the entire continent as well as the East Indies which were coming rapidly into focus for the European powers. For the students, Wells shows the cities on the ancient Silk Road that was still being used even though the safest way to the Orient was by ship around Africa. China, Korea and Japan are shown in relatively correct juxtaposition but in simplified shapes. Relative importance of cities is shown with symbols. It is fascinating to think that if one were a student at the turn of the eighteenth century, this map reflects all one would be thought to need to know of Asia.

Part of that fascination is the realization that much of this ‘knowledge' was incorrect on this map. Shapes are distorted and old names are taken from ancient sources reflects many of the geographic errors and myths of the period. Overall, this is a map which is intriguing to look at both visually and intellectually. $625

Senex Asia
John Senex. "A New Map of Asia From the latest Observations." From A New General Atlas. London: J. Senex, 1721. 18 x 21 7/8. Engraving. Original outline color. Full margins. Very good condition.

A strongly engraved and nicely colored map by John Senex, one of the leading English cartographers in the early part of the eighteenth century, a time when England was coming to the forefront of the world cartographic scene. Senex was a popular and prolific mapmaker, and the quality of his work is evidenced by his appointment as Geographer to Queen Anne. This is a very attractive map of Asia, combining the latest information available to Senex with the many misconceptions of the continent prevalent in Europe at the time. Many rivers, towns, lake, roads, and other information is presented from the Urals to the East Indies. An inset of "ye supposed N. Coast of Asia" is given in the lower left "to avoid too great a contraction of the scale." The map is most confused in the seas to the north of Japan. The "Land of Iess" and "Company's Land" are shown as indistinct and large land masses, and north of them is an open "Eastern Ocean." Decoratively, this map is quite appealing. The neat, strong engraving is nicely complimented by the outline hand coloring. Senex included a charming title cartouche, which shows two figures in Asian dress, along with flora and fauna of the continent. $1,200

Senex: Turkey, Arabia and Persia
John Senex. "A Map of Turkey, Arabia and Persia. Corrected from the latest Travels & . . . Observations of ye Royal Society . . .." From A New General Atlas. London: J. Senex, 1721. 18 x 22. Double folio. Engraving (outline color). Full margins. Original outline color. Excellent condition.

A large and attractive map of the Middle East based on the original map by the French geographer Guillaume Delisle and revised by John Senex. An equal wealth of information is illustrated in southern Europe and north Africa. The title is framed by an exquisite cartouche decorated with images of the Muslims who inhabit these lands. A fine document. $1,200

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Covens & Mortier: Asia
Guillaume Delisle. "Carte Des Indes et de la Chine." Amsterdam: Jean Covens & Cornelius Mortier, ca. 1730. 24 1/4 x 24 1/2. Engraving. Original outline hand color. Full margins. Excellent condition.

A highly detailed map of Asia by Guillaume Delisle (1675-1726), the leading French cartographer of the eighteenth century and one of the greatest of all time. He is known as the "father of scientific cartography" because he was the first publisher to use methods of mensuration and triangulation in map preparation. According to Tooley, "his work was highly rated, not only by his own countrymen, but by the world at large." (Maps and Mapmakers, p. 43), and he was certainly "the most prominent figure at the beginning of the century." (Ibid.)

Asia was an area of great interest to eighteenth century Europeans, and this map shows a gradual expansion of their geographic knowledge of the region. This map, by Delisle, presents as up-to-date and correct information as was available. Depictions of towns, rivers, political divisions, and some topography are neatly and clearly presented. From West to East the map shows Tartaria at its western extreme, all of India, Southeast Asia, the East Indies, China, Korea, and Japan. The publishers of this edition of the map, Jean Covens and Cornelius Mortier, purchased Delisle's plates after his death, and continued to issue the maps from their press in Amsterdam. They enhanced their issues with the use of hand color, well evidenced in this attractive and interesting historical document. $1,200

Delisle Asia
Guillaume Delisle. "L'Asie." Brussels: Eugene Henri Fricx, 1730. 17 5/8 x 22 3/4. Engraving by Jean Harrewijn. Full original color. Full margins. Excellent condition.

A very attractive and unusual version of Delisle's map of Asia, published by E.H. Fricx or Friex. Fricx, a bookseller and printer, took his geographic content directly from Delisle, to whom he gives credit in the title cartouche. Fricx's map does differ from Delisle's both in the coloring, here with bold color similar to that of the German style, and in the newly designed cartouches, including a cartouche designed as an oriental rug, hanging from the upper right neat line, which contains the publishing information. $950

Emanuel Bowen. "A New & Exact Map of Asia." From John Harris' Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels. London, 1748. 14 1/2 x 18. Engraving. Repaired small hole in ocean at right; just affecting part of text label. Otherwise, very good condition.

Emanuel Bowen was a map engraver, printer and publisher in London in the mid-eighteenth century. He achieved considerable success in this field, being appointed as engraver to both Louis XV of France and George II of Britain, and later as Geographer to the latter. He produced some of the most interesting maps of his time. Despite his royal appointments and apparent success, Bowen died in poverty in 1767. Through all the vicissitudes of his life, however, Emanuel Bowen's maps continued at a very high level of quality, as exemplified by this nicely detailed map of Asia, "Compiled from Surveys & authentick Journals assisted by the most approved modern Maps & Charts, & Regulated by Astron. Observations." Interior detail is copious; some accurate and some erroneous. Bowen indicates the trade winds in the Indian Ocean and Pacific, which was important information for the many trade vessels plying those waters in the eighteenth century. Japan is somewhat strangely drawn, but it is relatively accurately compared to many maps of the period. To the north is "DeGama's Land, with its shore just sketched in part. $425

Caspian Sea detail [Detail]
Thomas Woodroofe. "A Plain Chart of the Caspian Sea." London: J. Hanway, 1753. 13 3/4 x 21 1/2. Engraving. With folds as issued. Split at fold at right and one tear just into image; repaired. Some light off-setting. Very good condition.

The first detailed chart of the Caspian sea based on the surveys of John Elton and Thomas Woodroofe. They were both Englishmen who surveyed the sea in the early eighteenth century as part of the British trade in the area. $450

Jean Janvier. "L'Asie divisée en ses Principaux Etats." From Atlas Moderne. Paris: Jean Lattré & J. Thomas, 1762. 12 1/4 x 17 5/8. Engraving. Original hand outline color. Lightly toned in margins, not affecting image. Else, very good condition.

Jean Janvier was a French cartographer who worked in Paris in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Among his output were some fine maps which appeared in Jean Lattré's Atlas Moderne. This atlas contained maps of all parts of the world engraved by Lattré, the "Graveur Ordinaire du Roi." Janvier's maps contained the best information available at the time, even though some of it was erroneous. This map of Europe is a good example of this, for the information on the coastlines, islands, rivers, major cities is all excellent. Janvier shows the political divisions of the continent, emphasized subtly by the hand-applied outline color. The map has an elaborate and lovely title cartouche that graces the upper left corner. A wonderful map of Europe from the period. $425

Delisle: Terrae Sanctae
Guillaume Delisle. "Terrae Sanctae Tabula e Scripturae Sacrae, Flavii Josephi, Eusebii et Divi Hieronymi..." From Rigobert Bonne's Atlas Moderne ou Collection de Cartes sur toutes les parties du Globe Terrestre. Paris: Lattré and Delalain, 1763. Two sheets each 13 1/2 x 19 1/2. Original hand color. Some minor blemishes. Otherwise, very good condition. Laor: 245.

A beautiful, two sheet map of the Holy Land originally done by Guillaume Delisle, but edited by his brother, Joseph after his death. Palestine shown divided among the Tribes. Typical of the French school of cartography, the decorative elements of the map are kept to the cartouches. In this particular one, the ten commandments are included. $550
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Thomas Kitchin. "Asia agreeable to the most approved Maps and Charts, By Mr. Kitchen." From George Millar's New Complete & Universal System of Geogrphy. London: T. Kitchin, 1781. 13 1/4 x 15 3/8. Engraving. Margins as issued, narrow at top. Very good condition.

A detailed map of Asia by Thomas Kitchin (or "Kitchen" as on this map). Kitchin was a prolific English mapmaker of the late eighteenth century and his maps were used for Millar's popular geography in 1781. Much detail is given, compiled from the best sources available in London at the time. Asia, though better known than in earlier, was still a generally mysterious continent to Europeans. $125

Samuel Dunn. "Asia Divided into its Principal States and Regions; with All the Islands and The New Dsicoveries made by the English and the Russians in the Eastern Parts." London: Robert Sayer, 1789. 12 1/2 x 17 3/4. Engraving. Original hand color. Wide margins. Very good condition.

A handsome British map of Asia by Samuel Dunn (d. 1794). Besides being a mapmaker, Dunn was a sometimes publisher of maps and atlases, a mathematician, and teacher, who advertised his profession as "S. Dunn Teacher of the Mathematicks London. Boards Young Gentlemen, & Teacheth Penmanship, Merch'ts Acc'ts, Navigation, Fortification, Astronomy &c. Chelsea." Dunn's mathematical inclinations are demonstrated on the precision of this fine map which shows the entire continent of Asia and the oceans surrounding. Topography and political features are precisely engraved, and known rivers and lakes also. Overall, a fine example of British map-making from a period of growing world-wide power by the nation. $275

Samuel Dunn. "Asia Divided into its Principal States and Regions; with All the Islands and The New Dsicoveries made by the English and the Russians in the Eastern Parts." London: Laurie & Whittle, 1794. 12 3/8 x 17 3/4. Engraving. Original hand outline color. Very good condition.

Another handsome map by Samuel Dunn, this one published the year he died. $175

Cary New Map of China
John Cary. "A New Map of China." London: J. Cary, 1801. From New Universal Atlas. 18 x 20. Engraving. Full original hand color. Small spot near center; smudges in margins. Else, very good condition.

Amidst the turmoil of the Napoleonic wars, British naval power was rising, and mapmaking as an art and science kept pace. Cary used existing maps and new surveys to provide his clients with the most up-to-date information on all parts of the world. Inaccuracies might be evident, but they reflect the state of knowledge in western Europe when they were made. This was the best information then available by a man, who, with his sons, was one of the most prominent makers of maps and globes in the World. $425
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Darton Asia
William Darton, Jr. "Asia." From Atlas to Walker's Geography. London: Vernor and Hood, etc., 1802. 7 1/4 x 8 1/2. Engraving. Original outline color. Very good condition.

William Darton, Sr. started his mapmaking business in 1787 in London, and thus began a cartographic publishing house that would last, in various manifestations, until the 1860s. William Darton, Jr. joined his father late in the eighteenth century and these are maps engraved by him for Walker's Geography. While not large, the maps contain an impressive amount of detail carefully presented. The information used was the best available in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century, meaning the best in the world, so these maps are not only attractive, but provide an excellent cartographic picture of the world at the time. This map of Asia includes a surprising amount of information of the interior, some correct and some not. $195
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John Thomson. "Asia." From A New General Atlas. Edinburgh: J. Thomson, 1821. Engraving. 19 3/4 x 23 1/2. Original hand color. Very good condition.

An detailed map of Asia, beautifully crafted, with precise engraving and neat hand coloring. The quality of British cartographic production was not limited to London, and this map is good evidence that superb maps were issued to the north as well. Topography is shown, and many settlements are indicated throughout. An excellent map of the continent from the eraly nineteenth century. $525

Klaproth Asia
Klaproth. "Asia Polyglotta." By Heinrich Julius von Klaproth (1783-1833). Paris, 1823. Drawn by Louis de L'Or and engraved by Berthe, Rue St. Jacques. Engraving (hand colored). 12 x 15 3/8 (neat lines) plus full borders. Excellent condition.

Klaproth was an orientalist traveler and publisher from Berlin. He translated Chinese placenames for maps and compiled an index of names. He published an historical atlas of China with twenty one sheets in 1821, and this map shows areas of language groups delineated by color coding. This is a fascinating and unusual map. $300

Cary India
John Cary. "A New Map of Hindoostan, from the Latest Authority." From Cary's New Universal Atlas. London: J. Cary, 1825. 18 1/4 x 20. Engraving. Minor wear in outside margins and along center seam. Otherwise, very good condition.

English mapmaker John Cary (ca. 1754-1835), was the founder of the famous English cartographic firm. From about mid-way through the eighteenth century, British cartographers were the best in the world, and the maps produced by Cary are good examples of the quality achieved in Britain. Rivers, towns, roads, and other information is clearly presented with very crisp engravings, and the maps have an almost three-dimensional topographical appearance. The subtle hand coloring adds a decorative touch to these fine early nineteenth century historic documents. This full size map of Hindoostan includes an insert of the Island of Ceylon. $450
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Lothian Asia
John Lothian. "Asia." From New Edinburgh General Atlas. Edinburgh: J. Gellatly & London: Henry Washbourne, ca. 1840. 13 x 10 3/4. Engraving. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A lovely and well produced map from John Lothian's New Edinburgh General Atlas. Published jointly in London and Edinburgh, this atlas contained maps with very good detail of towns and cities, river and lakes, orography, and political divisions. In this period, the United Kingdom had established itself as the dominate economic and cartographic nation and the maps from this atlas bespeak the quality of British mapmakers. Each map is finely hand colored, making them as attractive as they are historically interesting. This is a nice map of Asiawith each political entity indicated with a contrasting color. Detail includes names of countries and regions, major towns, rivers, mountains, and lakes. The map was issued in a period when European knowledge of Asia was growing and this is an attractive picture of that knowledge. $175


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