One of the Earliest Obtainable Maps of Japan and Korea
The Metellus map of Japan and Korea is the earliest obtainable printed map of the region, after the Teixeira / Ortelius map.
The landmark Ortelius prototype was derived from the Portuguese Jesuit Luis Teixiera, and remained the finest prototype map of Japan available to subsequent cartographers through the early nineteenth century. It was the first map to correctly locate Japan between 30 and 40 degrees north latitude, and in its basic accuracy it was nothing short of revolutionary. Teixiera's map is also interesting in that it was born of two worlds. Information for its construction was derived both from Jesuit sources and from the native Gyogi maps (Gyogi, in Japanese tradition, was their first cartographer).
Prior to Teixeira, the mapping of Japan was based upon reports of travelers, primarily Marco Polo. Manuscript maps which survive in Florence and Madrid bear close generic resemblance to Teixiera's; he probably knew these, others similar, or their Gyogi prototypes. It was probably from these manuscript maps that Teixiera was able to delineate and label the 62 kuni (political units) into which Japan was then divided.
In 1595, when Ortelius introduced the map that was in turn copied by Metellus, Japan was thirteen years into the Hideyoshi regime. The Jesuits had already been outlawed in Japan for eight years, and official tolerance for European presence there would soon cease. Before the The West learned little more of her secrets until Perry pried the island-nation open in the mid-nineteenth century.
The map was first issued in the German edition of José de Acosta's De Natura Nova Orbis. Acosta was a Spanish Jesuit missionary, historian and cosmographer. The included maps, however, are attributed to Metellus.
The map is extremely rare on the market.