Adina Sommer`s Rare Antique Maps and Contemporary Art

Chinae, olim Sinarum regionis, nova descriptio. Auctore Ludovico Georgio.

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Article ID ASC1255
Artist Ortelius (1527-1598)
Abraham Ortelius(1527 –1598) was a Flemish cartographer and geographer, generally recognized as the creator of the first modern atlas, and the first to imagine that the continents were joint together before drifting to their present position.He began as a map-engraver, in 1547 and entered the Antwerp guild of St Luke as afsetter van Karten. His early career is that of a businessman and most of his journeys before 1560 are for commercial purposes. In 1564 he completed a "mappemonde", eight-leaved map of the world, which afterwards appeared in reduced form in the Theatrum. The only extant copy of this great map is in the library of the University of Basle (cf. Bernoulli, Ein Karteninkunabelnband, Basle, 1905, p. 5). He also published a two-sheet map of Egypt in 1565, a plan of the Brittenburg castle on the coast of the Netherlands in 1568, an eight-sheet map of Asia in 1567, and a six-sheet map of Spain before the appearance of his atlas. Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. In 1573 Ortelius published seventeen supplementary maps under the title Additamentum Theatri Orbis Terrarum. Four more Additamenta were to follow, the last one appearing in 1597. He also had a keen interest and formed a fine collection of coins, medals and antiques, and this resulted in the book.In 1573 Ortelius published seventeen supplementary maps under the title Additamentum Theatri Orbis Terrarum. Four more Additamenta were to follow, the last one appearing in 1597. He also had a keen interest and formed a fine collection of coins, medals and antiques, and this resulted in the book originals of his maps in these days are popular collector's items.
Title Chinae, olim Sinarum regionis, nova descriptio. Auctore Ludovico Georgio.
Year c. 1584
Description
Rare and first state of Ortelius' map of China, the first western map of China, from the first Spanish Edition of Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum , the modern atlas of the World of these days.
 
Ortelius' map of China is taken directly from reports of the Portuguese mapmaker Luis Jorge de Barbuda (Ludovicus Georgius), who made a manuscript map of China which reached Ortelius via Arias Montanus. First published in 1584, Ortelius' map of China is the earliest printed map to focus on China and the first to illustrate the Great Wall of China. Tooley referred to the map as the standard map of the interior of China for over sixty years. With its three lushly designed cartouches and many illustrations of indigenous shelters, modes of transportation and animals, this is one of Ortelius's richest engravings.
 
When this map appeared, it was by far the most accurate representation of China to appear on a printed map. Japan is shown on a curious curved projection reminiscent of Poruguese charts of the period, with Honshu dissected along the line of Lake Biwa. The Great Wall is shown, but only a relatively small section, its length is significantly underestimated. The Tartar "yurts" are dotted across the plains and steppes of Central and East Asia.
 
The Portugese Jesuits established a mission in China in 1577. Although the map's Portuguese maker, Barbuda, was himself not a Jesuit, his sources for the map were Portuguese Jesuits. The Chinese characters found in the text on the verso of the map were the first introduction to Chinese language for many educated Europeans of the time.
 
The present example is the first of three states of the map, pre-dating the inclusion of the words "Las Philippinas" above Sinus Magnus, which first appeared on the map during the publication of the 1587 French edition (second state). In the third state, there is additional cross hatching in one of the wind wagons, which first appeared on the map during the publication of the 1595 edition.
 
Reference: Suarez (1999) "Early Mapping of South-East Asia", Periplus, p. 164-170, Figure 88. ; Van den Broecke, 164; Nebenzahl, K. Mapping the Silk Road and Beyond 4.6; Tooley, Maps and Mapmakers, p. 106, pl. 78 (p. 108); Walter, L. Japan: A Cartographic Vision 11F, p. 186.
Place of Publication Antwerp
Dimensions (cm)37 x 47 cm
ConditionCenterfold mounted
Coloringoriginal colored
TechniqueCopper print

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