A fine World Map engraved by Dutch master engraver Jan Van Doetecum with a fascinating early depiction of Japan.
Striking dark impression of this finely engraved double hemisphere map of the World, engraved by Jan Van Doetecum for Pauls Merula in 1605.
Van Doetcum's fine engraving is based upon a map engraved by his father Baptista van Doetecum, for Petrus Plancius, in 1590, with several important updates, including the addition of the recently explored Nova Zemlya (explored by Barentsz during his 3 voyages to the arctic regions in search of the Northeast Passage), and the addition of two celestial hemispheres, based upon Plancius' world map of 1594. The map also adds fine large format images of 4 islands, Japan, Iceland, Ceylon and St. Helena, presenting fine enlargements of these islands as they appearon the map.
The mapping of Japan is of particular note, one of the best and most detailed examples of this early depiction of the island, following the configuration which appeared in Plancius' maps.
The map includes the four large islands in the Arctic, as they appeared on Mercator's maps, including his very rare 1595 map of the Polar Regions. The Northwest Passage is open and clearly defined, allowing a passage via the Straits of Anian in the Pacific to the Atlantic. California and Quivira are named, along with annotations on the discovery of America by Columbus in 1492, and notes on the known and unknown northern regions of America.
The massive southern continent is called Magellanica, Terra Australis, and also Terra del Fuego, pre-dating the voyage of Le Maire and Schouten, which would begin to re-write the then prevailing belief that the strait discovered by Ferdinand Magellan was the only water passage from between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean in the Southern Hemisphere. A massive Nova Guinea is shown, with no signs of the modern discoveries in Australia and New Zealand, with remnants of the information from Marco Polo still present in the region (Beach).
There is an early appearance of the Philippines (I. Filipinae). The Chinese coastline, while filled with information, pre-dates the appearance of Korea.
The map is richly embellished with strapwork decorations and sailing ships, reflecting the master-engraver's hand characteristic of the Van Doetcum family, which were then perhaps the finest engravers actively engaged in commercial map making.