15 July 2005
GERARD MERCATOR (1512-94)
[Asia] Asia ex magna orbis terrae descriptione. [Amsterdam: c.1595]. Hand-coloured engraved map, 372 x 470mm. Baroque cartouche, the seas decorated with galleons. Window Mount.
First issued in 1595, this finely engraved map of Asia is taken from the Mercator Hondius Atlas. It has a number of interesting features: Japan still has an oval shape with a chain of islands to the south, despite the inclusion of a much more accurate map of Japan in the same atlas; a mysterious island marked "Polus Magnetis" appears above the Straits of Anian, away from a Polar land mass; and, perhaps most intriguingly of all, north-west America appears with two towns marked within the kingdom of "Quivira".
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