Adina Sommer`s Rare Antique Maps and Contemporary Art

Tabula XI Asiae

  • Translation

Article ID ASS0960
Artist Ptolemy/ Fries (1490-1531)
Lorenz (Laurent) Fries was born in Alsace in 1490 or thereabouts, describing himself on one occasion as from Colmar, one of the towns of the region. He studied medicine at university, or rather at universities, as he seems to have had a peripatetic education, apparently spending time at the universities of Pavia, Piacenza, Montpellier and Vienna. Having successfully completed his education, Fries established himself as a physician, at a succession of places in the Alsace region, with a short spell in Switzerland, before settling in Strasbourg, in about 1519. By this time, he had established a reputation as a writer on medical topics, with several publications already to his credit. Indeed, it was thus that Fries met the Strasbourg printer and publisher Johann Grüninger, an associate of the St. Die group of scholars formed by, among others, Walter Lud, Martin Ringmann and Martin Waldseemuller. Gruninger was responsible for printing several of the maps prepared by Waldseemuller, and for supervising the cutting of the maps for the 1513 edition of Ptolemy, edited by the group. This meeting was to introduce a important digression into Fries' life, and for the next five years, from about 1520 to about 1525, he worked in some capacity as a cartographic editor with Gruninger, exploiting the corpus of material that Waldseemuller had created. Claudius Ptolemy ( arround 100- 160 a.C.) Geographia, gives a list of geographic coordinates of spherical longitude and latitude of almost ten thousand point locations on the earth surface, as they were known at his times. The list is organized in Tabulae which cor- respond to specific regions of the three known continents at that time, Africa, Asia and Europe. Research on Ptolemy’s Geographia has started at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece, in the eighties, focused mainly, but not exclusively, on data re- lated to territories which are now under the sovereignty of the modern Greek state. The World of Ptolemy is classified in Regions, since each Chapter is referred to one of them, giving by this way the concept of Atlas as it is understood today.
Title Tabula XI Asiae
Year ca. 1525
Description Map shows Bangladesh, Birma, India, Thailand and Malaysia. Appears in the author's Geographia, translated by Willibald Pirckheimer, with annotations by Joannes Regiomontanus, 1525.
In the first centuries after the turn of the times, Indian traders spread their culture over large parts of Southeast Asia. The Kingdom of Funan (200-550) in the Mekong Delta developed into the first center of Hinduism and Buddhism in Southeast Asia. It was replaced by the Khmer Kingdom and the Srivijaya Empire in Sumatra. 750 Borobodur was built on Java, a terraced temple complex of enormous size. The Khmer kings created an equally impressive work of art with the construction of their Angkor Wat temple complex. From the 9th century, the Tai migrated from the north to their present-day settlement areas and met the high-ranking Mon, whose culture they shaped. In 1044 the first Burmese Empire was founded with Bagan as the capital. In Southeast Asia, extensive trade had developed from the 6th to the 16th century, numerous shipwrecks testify to this development, such as that of the Lena Shoal junk. The ship types of the junk and the balangay were used for this trade. Two main routes of trade China on the one hand and Java, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula on the other hand could be determined. One route leads along the mainland and the second route along Borneo, Palawan to the island of Luzon. In the 15th century, Arab, Persian and Indian traders converted the Malays to Islam. The Muslim Malacca took the place of the Hindu kingdom Majapahit on Java. With the exception of Siam, all Southeast Asian countries were colonized from the 16th century. The background to colonization was the region's wealth of raw materials and spices, which were of particular value at the time. After the trade had been dominated by Arab traders for a long time, the European powers now fought over supremacy in the region. The Spaniards became active in the region at the same time and colonized with the aim of conquering China and converting to Christianity the Philippines, which they named after the Spanish King Philip II. The British came to Southeast Asia as the third major colonial power and also tried to establish themselves in the region. After initially holding an insignificant base in Indonesia, after negotiating with the local sultans, they reached control of the island of Penang and Singapore, which was then a small Malay fishing village. Together with the port city of Malacca, these areas formed the so-called Straits Settlements, the most important bases for the British in Southeast Asia.
Place of Publication Vienna
Dimensions (cm)28,5 x 40
ConditionMissing parts at lower centerfold replaced
Coloringoriginal colored
TechniqueWoodcut

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