Fine old color example of Johannes Blaeu's map of Arabia, which appeared only in the last 5 editions of Blaeu's Atlas Maior, between 1661 and 1672 .
Blaeu's map is one of the first maps to show internal features of the Arabian Peninsula. Mountains are depicted, oases denoted by trees, and points used to indicate pearl deposits in the Arabian Gulf. The map uses dotted lines to show international borders. The Red Sea is denoted by three Latin names: Mare Rubrum (Red Sea), Mare Mecca (Sea of Mecca), and Sinus Arabicus (Gulf of Arabia). A large pictorial cartouche depicting figures and camels and ships.
Joan, or Johannes, Blaeu (1596-1673) was the son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu. He inherited his father’s meticulous and striking mapmaking style and continued the Blaeu workshop until it burned in 1672. Initially, Joan trained as a lawyer, but he decided to join his father’s business rather than practice.
After his father’s death in 1638, Joan and his brother, Cornelis, took over their father’s shop and Joan took on his work as hydrographer to the Dutch East India Company. Joan brought out many important works, including Nova et Accuratissima Terrarum Orbis Tabula, a world map to commemorate the Peace of Westphalia which brought news of Abel Tasman’s voyages in the Pacific to the attention of Europe. This map was used as a template for the world map set in the floor of the Amsterdam Town Hall, the Groote Burger-Zaal, in 1655.
Joan also modified and greatly expanded his father’s Atlas novus, first published in 1635. All the while, Joan was honing his own atlas. He published the Atlas maior between 1662 and 1672. It is one of the most sought-after atlases by collectors and institutions today due to the attention to the detail, quality, and beauty of the maps. He is also known for his town plans and wall maps of the continents. Joan’s productivity slammed to a halt in 1672, when a fire completely destroyed his workshop and stock. Joan died a year later and is buried in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam.