By: Willem Blaeu
Date: 1640 (circa) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 14.75 x 19 inches (37.5 x 48.25 cm)
This is a lovely example of an original map of the Spice Islands by Blaeu printed at the height of activity and trade by the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie, V.O.C.) in the region.
The map centers on what is known today as the "Bacan Islands" of Indonesia. In 1609 the VOC concentrated their power in the area by establishing Fort Barnaveld on Bachian Island which is depicted in the inset map at top left. Several other forts would soon follow and can be found within the map.
The wealth from trade a knowledge from exploration in the east indies made the Netherlands the wealthiest European country per capita with Amsterdam being the epicenter of concentrated wealth. This economic boom along with new information endlessly coming into port helped support the map makers such as Willem Blaeu during what is now known as the Golden Age of Dutch Cartography.
This map is embellished with sailing ships of both European and Indonesian design, sea monsters, two striking compass roses, and elaborate title cartouche, and a vignette of two natives holding a plate of food, a shield and machete while dressed in more traditional Dutch garb which was given to locals as a sign of good will before exploiting their riches.
Condition: This map is in B condition marginal tears some of which extend slightly into the image, repaired with archival materials and technique on the verso.
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