Willem Janszoon Blaeu; 1571-1638.
Joan Blaeu, son; 1596-1673.
Cornelis Blaeu, son; c1598-1642.
Through mastery of the art of high seas navigation, the
Low Countries dominated the spices and diamond trades at the
beginning of the 17th century. Maritime expeditions, and foreign
business ventures, boosted the demand for accurate maps of
all regions of the world.
Blaeu (or Janszoon by his real name*) was trained by the famed
danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. He opened a globe and instrument
making business in Amsterdam in 1599, then expanded into maps
Of notice are: some collaborative works with William Camden
and Pieter van der Keere, "the Sea Mirror" in 1623, the atlas
"Atlantis Appendix" in 1630. But he had to purchase in 1629
from Jodocus Hondius some 40 plates of the Mercator atlas,
to be able to publish his first 2 volume, 100 maps, "Theatrum
Orbis Terrarum sive Atlas Novus" in 1635, continuously expanded
and re-issued till 1658. Appointed hydrographer to the all
powerful East India Company (VOC), he soon died; and his business
passed into the hands of his two capable sons.
Joan directed the conception and production of the "Atlas
Maior", first issued in 11 volumes in 1662. With 600 double
page maps and 3000 pages of text, this was the most comprehensive,
scientific and artistic atlas ever produced. It consecrated
the famous "carte à figures" style that was inspirational
to many other superb cartographers, such as Claes Visscher
and John Speed. In 1672 a fire destroyed the shop, and the
remaining plates were dissiminated.
* To avoid confusion with his rival Johannes Janssonius,
Blaeu changed his usual marks (Guilielmus Janssonius, or Willem
Jans Zoon); after1619 he signed his works Guilielmus Blaeu(w)
(with variants for the first name).
AQsia noviter delineata.
This large map (21 7/8" X 16 1/16") was engraved and printed
individually in 1617, together with maps of the other known
continents: Americas, Europe and Africa.
All these were derived from slightly larger maps first edited
in 1608, to which vignettes describing major trading towns
and costumed nativess were added.
These reduced and much decorative maps were reused in the
Atlantis (blank verso), and then in the Atlas Novus, and also
in the atlas Maior.
The present item was probably printed for the French version
(Le Theatre du Monde) which was produced between 1635 and
1658 (or tentatively for either the1603 or 1607 french edition
of the "Grand Atlas").
Recycling without any change the same map and vignettes over
a half century explains the archaic aspect of the delineation
(by 1635, much better maps of the Asian continent had already
been introduced, in particular by Visscher).
Nevertheless, it is one of the most famous map of Asia, and
a typical masterpiece of the "carte à figures" style in which
Notice the island of Korea, the misplaced Great Wall, the
strangely "trunkated" coast of China, the missing Hokaido,..
also notice the indonesian city of Bantam where the VOC had
established its quarters (the fort on the right; town, church
and plaza in the center; native village on the left).
French text on verso.