By: Mercator / Hondius
Date: 1613 (published) Amsterdam
Dimensions: 13.5 x 19 inches (34.5 x 48.25 cm)
This remarkable map of Southeast Asia and the East Indies was created by Jodocus Hondius for an edition of a Mercator atlas. The map is a visual representation of the knowledge of Eastern Asia which had been accumulated by western geographers from the earliest days of the age of exploration through the first decade of the 17th century, with information for it taken from myriad sources. Its focal point is the Spice Islands, reflecting Dutch interests in the spice trade in the Moluccas Islands, which had become a source of lucrative commerce. Little was known of the region in the West, and this map provides the most detailed rendering of the East Indies of its day, and one of the only regional maps to mention Francis Drake’s having been there.
The map extends from China, Java and Sumatra in the west to the Marianas Islands and New Guinea in the east. Details include towns, ports and settlements and some river systems and mountain chains. Sandbanks and shoals are marked. The lovely strapwork title cartouche in the upper right quadrant covers a portion of inland China. Another encloses two scale bars in the in the lower right quadrant, obscuring a portion of the coast of New Guinea, while a third contains information about the various spices found in the Moluccas Islands such as ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Details and references on the map reveal Hondius’ acquaintance with the works of early explorers such as Marco Polo, Sir Francis Drake, and others.
Decorative elements embellishing the map aside from the cartouches include galleons engaged in battle, and a quarter compass rose in the lower left corner which is connected by rhumb lines to a complete compass rose in the northeast portion of the map. A fanciful sea monster frolics in the water near New Guinea. Latin text on the verso describes the map and the region, including its early explorers and its significance to trade, great detail.
Condition: This map is in A condition, an evenly toned bold engraving on watermarked paper. The centerfold has been reinforced with archival material on the verso, as have some short separations.
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