Finely engraved wide-margined example of Ferando Bertelli's rare map of the Indian Ocean, one of the earliest printed maps to focus on the region. The map is also sometimes attributed to Niccolo Nelli, the engraver.
Bertelli's map is based upon the first edition of Ramusio's map, which appeared in his Delle Navigation e Viaggi. It provides an update from Gastaldi's map of 1548, based upon new sources which became available during the intervening years.
A fire in the Ramusio print shop in November 1557 destroyed the woodblock that produced this map, shortly after Ramusio's death. As a result, few examples were printed before the destruction of the woodblock. In 1565, a copperplate edition of the map replaced the original woodblock. This map, issued in the same year as the second edition of Gastaldi's map, but is far rarer, with only a few examples located by bibliographers (not in Tooley) and even Suarez mis-dates the map as having been published in 1564.
The map is based on the latest Portuguese sources, whereupon the coastlines the peninsula of the Indian Subcontinent and Sri Lanka take on a modern form. However, one will notice that the mouth of the Indus is too pronounced, and is located far to the east, on the wrong side of Gujarat. The map gives primacy to various details ciritcal to the trade and commerce of the Portuguese Empire that dominated the Indian Ocean in the sixteenth-century. One will notice the key ports of Goa, Calicut, and Diu (in India), and Hormuz (in Persia), which were bulwarks of Lusitanian commerce. Plying the seas inhabited by sea monsters are Carracks following standard sailing directions. The vessels labelled "Vado a Calicut" follow a course by which Portuguese ships turned east from the Horn of Africa at around14 degrees North and sailed towards Calicut, following the same winds and currents as did Vasco da Gama in 1497. The carracks labelled "Vado alle Moluche" are headed towards the Spice Islands, then a source of vast riches.
We note two appearances of the map at auction in the past 30 years and no copies in dealer catalogs. The present example is especially fine, with untrimmed margins.