Taprobana Insula c.1540
Taprobana as shown by the German geographer, cartographer and theologian Sebastian Munster. On some maps of the period Taprobana is depicted as Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and on others as the much larger island of Sumatra. In this particular instance Taprobana has the equator running through the southern part of the island and therefore cannot represent Ceylon which lies north of the equator. The position of the equator and the location to the south-west of ‘Pars Indiae’ suggests Sumatra Island. The name, shape and position of the island in the Indian ocean is derived from an earlier world map of Ptolemy contained in a 15th century (pre-1470) manuscript and represents a vestige of the mythical islands of Ptolemy’s land-locked Indian Ocean (Mare Indicum). The cartouche contains an old Gothic text referring to Taprobana and Sumatra and the commodities available on the island including pepper, one of the major spices produced in Sumatra. The map was probably published in Münster’s Geographia Universalis in 1540.
Size image: 34 cm x 25 cm
H 25 cm x W 34 cm
This map of Batavia, nowadays Jakarta, was originally published by the Italian historian Gregorio Leti (1630-1710) and was based on the earlier map of Batavia published by Clement de Jonghe in 1650. At the bottom of the map is a view of the city from the sea: for most people this was the first glimpse of the city, after a long sailing journey. Shown are a few Dutch large size sailing vessels, the old Dutch Castle, the canals and the old city walls.
Size: 50 cm x 40 cm
Decorative map of the modern world, originaly published in Munster’s 1550 edition of Cosmographia. This is the first map to name the Pacific Ocean (Mare Pacificum). Munster is non-committal about the continuity of the only recently discovered North and South America, an unbroken Central America being implied but not clearly shown. All of North America is called Terra Florida and the west coast of America appears on the right side of the map. Though unnamed, Terra Australis is present but small. Munster adds further to the confusion over Taprobana (Ceylon or Sumatra), depicting a Sumatra-shaped Taprobana on the west side of the Indian sub-continent, and Java in position of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) off the southeast coast of India. In Africa, the legendary mountains of the moon are shown as the origin of the Nile.
Size image: 39 cm x 27 cm
A fine mid-17th century Dutch sea chart of South-East Asia and Australia by Pieter Goos (1615-1675), noted engraver and publisher of Amsterdam. This interesting map was originally published in the sea atlas ‘De Zee Atlas ofte Water-Weereld’ (The Sea Atlas or the Water World). The chart is oriented with north to the left and shows the result of Abel Tasman’s second voyage. There is a gap in the coastline between Australia (called New Holland) and New Guinea while the two are connected on most other maps of this period.
Size: 48 cm x 40 cm