1609 Iaponiae Insulae Descriptio
By: Abraham Ortelius
Date: 1609 (published) Antwerp
Dimensions: 14 x 18.75 inches (35.6 cm x 48 cm)
Japan is the focal point of this splendid hand-colored authentic antique map by Abraham Ortelius, which is the first printed map of Japan, the remote, shrouded-in-mystery island, to appear in an atlas. Ortelius based his work on a manuscript supplied by the famous Portuguese chart maker, Luis Teixeira, who was cartographer to the court of the Spanish King.
Of the thousands of islands which comprise Japan proper, the map includes only the three primary islands of the archipelago. Korea is depicted as an elongated island. The upper right quadrant features a statement in Latin ‘Cum Imperatorio, Regio, et Brabantiæ privilegio decennali. 1595’, which gave the Royal and Brabant privilege for ten years, beginning in 1595.
Three lovely frigates sail the high seas, and both the title and scale cartouches are exquisite. It was a milestone map of Japan at the time, and remained very influential until the Martini map of 1655. Latin text on verso, small font, plate #120.
Condition: The map image itself is in B+ condition on heavy paper. Damp staining and thinning of the paper, leaving holes in places, both involve the borders only. Some repairs have been made with archival materials on the verso.