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
Early 18th century map of Australia, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, originally from Valentyn’s Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indien, one of the earliest contemporary maps to report information drawn from the Dutch V.O.C. during the period. This excellent map details the Middle East, the Indian Ocean, the Far East, and much of Australia, based on careful compilation of the best available sources by the brilliant and entertaining Dutch chronicler, François Valentijn. The map features a fine depiction of the outlines of the western two-thirds of Australia, based on the discoveries of explorers working for the Dutch East India Company (the VOC). These include Willem Jansz’s discoveries in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1606; the encounters of Dirk Hartog in 1616, the crew of the Leeuwin in 1622, Gerrit Frederiksz de Witt in 1627, and Pieter Nuyts in 1627, in Western Australia; and Jan Cartensz and Willem van Colster’s discoveries in Northern Australia in 1623. The Indonesian Archipelago is well-formed based on VOC knowledge, except that the shape of New Guinea still remains ambiguous. The Philippines are shown in the configuration utilized prior to the publication of Padre Pedro Murillo Velarde’s map in 1744. Continental Southeast Asia assumes a refined form, and includes the intelligence gathered by the French embassy to Siam, made shortly before Western contact with the kingdom was cut-off in 1688. Further north in Asia, the coasts of China are relatively well formed, based on Jesuit surveys, most notably those conducted by Martino Martini in the 1640s and 1650s. Korea is correctly shown as a peninsula, albeit of a somewhat nebulous form. Notably, Valentijn does not incorporate and was likely unaware of the groundbreaking surveys of China and Korea contained in the Chinese Kangxi Atlas (1718-9), which was yet to reach Europe. The southern main islands of Japan are relatively well formed, based on the charting of VOC mariners operating out of Nagasaki. The coasts of India, Arabia and Africa are conveyed in a progressive manner, based on extensive navigational experience and innumerable surveys conducted by the Portuguese and the Dutch. Notably, ‘I. St. Maria’ (St. Mary’s Island) on Madagascar was then the pirate capital of the World and a place to be avoided by ‘legitimate’ mariners. Notably, the map features highly advanced detail with respect to the interior of southern India, based on the work of the French Jesuit Jean-Venant Bouchet (1655-1732), who was the first European to extensively map the Deccan. In 1719, he sent a manuscript map to Paris, which was first published in 1722. Valentijn’s inclusion of this information is therefore quite early.