By: Jacques Nicolas Bellin
Date: 1749 (circa)
Dimensions: 8.75 x 12.25 inches (22.2 cm x 31 cm)
This hand colored antique map by Bellin is an amazingly accurate snapshot of the region of Tibet, the Gobi Desert and part of China in the mid-eighteenth century. Though best known for his sea charts, this map shows his talent for land maps as well, and includes most known geophysical features of the day, including manmade phenomena. Bellin took pains to depict a long section of the 5,500 mile-long Great Wall of China, a portion which is surprisingly accurate when compared to satellite images of the Wall. Another interesting feature is the inclusion of a portion of the great Silk Road, parts of which have been in almost constant use from the time of its origin well into the twentieth century.
Bellin’s map details mountains, rivers and lakes, cities which were thriving at the time, and cities which he cites as ‘cities in ruins’, designating ruins of ancient cities. Bellin also names the peoples of each region such as Turks Vigur, Tartares Blanc (White Tartars). Aalso noted are the Empires Kitay and de la Chine.
The first routes which later came to be known as the Silk Road were already extant in the fifth century BCE when Herodotus described the networks as the Royal Road of the Persian Empire. This network was later developed more extensively during the rule of the Han Dynasty in China and came to be known as the Silk Road or Route. This part of the world has seen inter-cultural exchange for millennia. Many regions of the territory transected by the network were cradles of civilization.
Jacques Nicolas Bellin had a successful fifty-year career making maps. Starting at the age of eighteen, he was appointed Chief Cartographer to the French Navy in 1721. His attention to detail, accuracy and the very high standard of his workmanship meant he played an integral role in France’s leadership in European cartography.
Condition: This map is in A condition. Light toning with minimal foxing
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