1606 China

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By: Gerard Mercator / Jodocus Hondius

Date: 1606 (Published) Amsterdam.

Dimensions: 18 x 13.5 inches (45.72 x 34.29 cm)

This exceptional and highly desired map was published by Jodocus Hondius in 1606. It displays much of East Asia, but China is intended as the focal point. Accordingly, the map notes many Chinese provinces, cities, and geographical features, and shows the Great Wall standing along China’s northern border.

The map is noteworthy for its many errors and curiosities. Europeans knew little about Asia in the early 17th century, and Mercator and Hondius engage in a great deal of speculation about the continent. China is incorrectly represented as having a number of large lakes in its interior. One of them, the mythical Chaimai Lacus, is supposed to form the headwaters of five Indian rivers. Other major Asian countries are misrepresented as well. Korea is shown as an island, while Japan is very badly projected according to the Ortelius-Teixeira model.

There are also many cultural curiosities on display. An inset cartouche shows a Japanese crucifixion, possibly of a Christian missionary, while a unique sail-cart occupies the left side of the map. To the right, a depiction of Alaska is accompanied by text that references Tartar hordes living in the region. The ocean is also replete with decorative flourishes: including an Asian junk boat, a European ship, and a very menacing looking sea monster.

Condition: This map is in B+ condition. It has original coloring with minor repairs on the margins and some slight offsetting on the image.

Inventory #19493

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