1599 Bird's Eye View of Bantam, Java
Wie die Statt Bantam gelegen
By: Theodor de Bry
Date: 1599 (circa) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 11.75 x 8 inches (30 cm x 20.3 cm)
This copper plate engraving by Theodor de Bry was composed by him according to stories and illustrations of European expeditions and explorations that were being made at the end of the sixteenth century.
This antique map is plate XVII in the series of Bantam in Java, across the straits separating it from Sumatra. It illustrates the layout of the city, a sultanate, in great detail. The city is enclosed by great walls on all sides, and further fortified by a moat which extends completely around the perimeter and waterways which also dissect the city into separate regions, with the wealthiest areas being best fortified.
A large mosque stands near what appear to be religious schools, several estates consisting of large households are depicted, and the outer walls of nearly all the buildings appear windowless, providing extra defense. Another mosque stands outside the main city wall, but inside what appears to be a very high and well-built fence. On the opposite side of the city is what appears to be a military garrison, also enclosed by high wooden walls. The plan shows a well-organized and sophisticated infrastructure, much like a European city of its time.
Having started his professional career as an engraver, during the three years he lived in London he became acquainted with the geographer Richard Hakluyt, whose stories of expeditions to exotic lands engendered in de Bry a desire to make the discoveries known to a wider reading public. Most of his books were based on first-hand accounts by the explorers themselves.
Condition: This engraving is in B condition. There is soiling and minor foxing, a rust spot at the borders and some damp stain. A separation or tear in the page bearing text has been repaired with archival material.
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