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A very fine 'Carte à Figures' map of Asia, by Jan Jansson, after his brother-in-law Jodocus Hondius.

This highly attractive map embraces all of Asia. The Middle East is very well formed, although the Caspian Sea has the egg-like form it maintained on maps until the 1730s. The Arabian Peninsula is well defined, based on Portuguese sources and India takes its form after the maps of the Dutch adventurer, Jan Hugyen van Linschoten (1596), which, in turn, borrowed from Portuguese sources. Southeast Asia and the Indonesian Archipelago are derived from charts made for the Dutch East India Company (the VOC), while China is derived from Jesuit sources, although Korea is an oddly elongated peninsula. The geography of the region would remain an enigma to Europeans until the early 18th Century. Japan's Honshu and Kyushu are recognizable, although the area further to the northeast remains a vast mystery.

True to the 'Carte à Figures' style, which was the hallmark of the great contemporary period of Dutch Baroque cartography, the map is surrounded on three sides by registers of fine vignettes. Along the top of the map are views of Farmagusta (Cyprus), Rhodes (Greece), Damascus, Jerusalem, Aden and Hormuz (Persia). Along the left side of the map are depictions of people in local costume including Syrians, Arabs, Armenians & Persians, Indians and Sumatrans. On the left side are depictions that include Javanese, Moluccans & Bandans, Chinese, Russians and Tartars. The map is further embellished by a fine title cartouche with ships and sea monsters in the seas.

The map was originally conceived by Jodocus Hondius the Younger, as a part of an exceedingly rare Appendix to the Hondius-Mercator Atlas (1630), of which this edition included an extra panel of text at the bottom. The present edition was issued by Hondius's brother-in-law, Jan Jansson, as part of Atlas Novus (1638). The Jansson edition is distinguishable by the appearance of Jansson's imprint, within a cartouche, to the upper right and the removal of the bottom text panel, which was considered to be too cumbersome for inclusion in a folio atlas.

The map was originally conceived by Jodocus Hondius the Younger (1594-1629), whose eponymous father played a large part in the rise of Amsterdam as the dominant cartographic production center in the 17th Century. The present edition of the map is by Jan Jansson (1588-1664), who married Jodocus the Younger's sister Elizabeth. He transformed the Hondius firm into a powerhouse of geographical publications. Jansson most notably published the Atlas Novus (1638), and the Atlas Major (1660), the 11 volumes of which included a town atlas, a hydrographic atlas, an atlas of the ancient world and Andreas Cellarius's incomparable celestial atlas. Jansson's works were rivaled only by those of his arch-nemesis Joan Blaeu.

The present map is one of the finest depictions of Asia from the apogee of Dutch cartography. It is also scarce, appearing on the market infrequently.

Condition Description
Narrow margins. Very minor restoration at centerfold, above Karkithay.
Jan Jansson Biography

Jan Janssonius (also known as Johann or Jan Jansson or Janszoon) (1588-1664) was a renowned geographer and publisher of the seventeenth century, when the Dutch dominated map publishing in Europe. Born in Arnhem, Jan was first exposed to the trade via his father, who was also a bookseller and publisher. In 1612, Jan married the daughter of Jodocus Hondius, who was also a prominent mapmaker and seller. Jonssonius’ first maps date from 1616.

In the 1630s, Janssonius worked with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius. Their most successful venture was to reissue the Mercator-Hondius atlas. Jodocus Hondius had acquired the plates to the Mercator atlas, first published in 1595, and added 36 additional maps. After Hondius died in 1612, Henricus took over publication; Janssonius joined the venture in 1633. Eventually, the atlas was renamed the Atlas Novus and then the Atlas Major, by which time it had expanded to eleven volumes. Janssonius is also well known for his volume of English county maps, published in 1646.

Janssonius died in Amsterdam in 1664. His son-in-law, Johannes van Waesbergen, took over his business. Eventually, many of Janssonius’ plates were sold to Gerard Valck and Pieter Schenk, who added their names and continued to reissue the maps.