15 July 2005
ABRAHAM ORTELIUS (1527-98)
[Asia] Asiae nova descriptio. [Amsterdam: 1575]. Engraved map with partial hand-colouring, 365 x 480mm. Baroque title cartouche, galleons. (Lightly browned at centrefold.) Window mount.
A highly-decorative map of the Continent of Asia from Ortelius's important world atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, based on Ortelius's own wall map of Asia printed in 1567. It includes Japan in an almost recognisable form, although significantly mis-projected and incorrectly orientated in the manner of Ruscelli from Jesuit sources. Ceylon and Sumatra are, however, correctly placed, though their inaccurate shapes betray a good deal of geographical speculation. Despite these fascinating flaws this became the standard map of Asia for more than forty years.
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