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Extremely Rare Edition of the Sanson Atlas of Asia, with the Highly Desirable Set of Three Maps of China

Nice example of this rare extra illustrated edition of Sanson's Atlas of Asia, which includes 3 very rare Jesuit maps of China, representing the work of three of the most famous Jesuits to have created maps of China up to date.

The atlas includes 19 double page engraved maps, each in original outline color. First issued in 1656 with a set of 17 maps, this rare variant edition incorporates 3 very rare Jesuit Maps of China which were first issued in 1670 by Sanson. The 3 maps of China, each based upon the works of Jesuit Missionaries who created manuscript maps of China, replace the standard Sanson map of China. The 3 maps are as follows:

Bouyn (Michal Piotr Boym): /gallery/detail/52605a

Michal Piotr Boym (1612-1659), was a Polish Jesuit missionary. Boym was one of the first westerners to travel within the Chinese mainland, and the author of numerous works on Asian fauna, flora and geography. During his return trip to Europe he prepared a large collection of maps of mainland China and South-East Asia. The merit of Boym's maps was that they were the first European maps to properly represent Korea as a peninsula, rather than an island. They also took notice of the correct positions of many Chinese cities previously unknown to the westerners or known only by the semi-fabulous descriptions of Marco Polo. Boym also marked the Great Wal land the Gobi Desert. Although the collection was not published during Boym's lifetime, it extended the knowledge of China in the west.

Martin (Martino Martini): /gallery/detail/52605b

Martino Martini (1614-1661) was an Italian Jesuit Missionary, who traveled to China in 1640. His most important work was his Novus Atlas Sinensis, the first Chinese Atlas published in the Western World. It is one of the first true Sino-European publications, based on Chinese land surveys but presenting geographic data in a highly visual European cartographic format.

Ruggiery (Michel Ruggieri): /gallery/detail/52605c

Michele Ruggieri (1543-1607) was an Italian Jesuit priest and one of the founders of the Jesuit Missions in China, along with Matteo Ricci, among others. Ruggieri is credited with one of the first collections of handwritten maps of China, translated into Latin from Chinese sources (atlases and maps), dating back to 1606, or nearly fifty years before the manuscript maps of the Polish Jesuit Michael Boym and the Novus Atlas Sinensis of Martino Martini. The manuscript is now preserved in the State Archives of Rome.

The atlas is extremely rare. We are not aware of any other examples of the atlas which have appeared on the market with the 3 Jesuit maps.

Condition Description
4to, contemporary full calf (moderate wear, upper right corner of front cover damaged and somewhat crudely recolored, head and foot of spine damaged), spine in six compartments separated by raised bands, lettered "LASIE" in the second.

19 double page engraved maps, each in old outline hand-color.
Nicolas Sanson Biography

Nicholas Sanson (1600-1667) is considered the father of French cartography in its golden age from the mid-seventeenth century to the mid-eighteenth. Over the course of his career he produced over 300 maps; they are known for their clean style and extensive research. Sanson was largely responsible for beginning the shift of cartographic production and excellence from Amsterdam to Paris in the later-seventeenth century.

Sanson was born in Abbeville in Picardy. He made his first map at age twenty, a wall map of ancient Gaul. Upon moving to Paris, he gained the attention of Cardinal Richelieu, who made an introduction of Sanson to King Louis XIII. This led to Sanson's tutoring of the king and the granting of the title ingenieur-geographe du roi

His success can be chalked up to his geographic and research skills, but also to his partnership with Pierre Mariette. Early in his career, Sanson worked primarily with the publisher Melchior Tavernier. Mariette purchased Tavernier’s business in 1644. Sanson worked with Mariette until 1657, when the latter died. Mariette’s son, also Pierre, helped to publish the Cartes générales de toutes les parties du monde (1658), Sanson' atlas and the first French world atlas.