A Rare English Wall Map of Asia
Rare separately issued map of Asia, published by Henry Overton.
The map includes inset map of the world in two hemispheres, and four engraved views of Brahmin priests performing self-sacrificing religious rituals.
At the far right, there is a view of Constantinople, view of Smyrna and three views of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The views are presumed to be derived from Herman Moll's map of the Turkish Empire.
The map is dated based upon the reign of Queen Caroline (October 1727 to November 1737).
The present example is the second state of the map, with the dedication to Caroline. The original diagram showing how to calculate distances has been replaced by the four inset vignettes.
The inset depictions of Brahmin include:
"A Bramin Chained to a tree with a resolution to finish his days in that manner."
"A Bramin out of devotion to ye God Eswara hangs for half an hour over a fire which he feeds with wood that laid at both sides."
"A Bramin that has made a Vow to wear a Collar of Iron 24 pound weight & 4 foot square he had received by Alms money enough to build and Hospital."
The geography and layout are closely reminiscent of a wall map of Asia of circa 1710, by Peter Schenk, titled Nova Totius Asiae Tabula. In that map Schenk similarly deployed a double hemisphere world map in the lower left corner surrounded by a decorative retinue. Schenk also included inset views, but in that they were positioned along the bottom border.
The map is of the utmost rarity. We find an example in a composite Overton atlas at the British Library. OCLC also notes a copy at Cambridge University, which lacks the set of views at the right side of the map. The Sophia University in Tokyo also holds a complete copy of the map with the views. The State Library of Queensland holds the only example of the first state which we could locate, which is dedicated to Queen Anne.