First edition of Jaillot's decorative double hemisphere map of the World one of the most unique and decorative world maps of the period.
By the end of the 17th Century, Paris was supplanting Amsterdam as a map publishing center and the tradition of highly decorative Dutch engraved maps was being replaced by the more scientific and utilitarian map first produced by Nicolas Sanson in the mid 17th Century. Jaillot's map was one of the last thematically unique world maps, retaining much of the decorative style of earlier Dutch world maps, but trending toward cleaner and simpler imagery in the embellishments.
Eight large and allegorical figures surround the two hemispheres. In the four corners are figures representing the continents: Europe shown as a Queen surrounded by symbols of power and learning; America as an Indian surrounded by a monkey and parrots, with many ships shown off the horizon; Asia holding an incense burner sitting next to a camel, and Africa as a African maid sitting under an umbrella by a pyramid and surrounded by and crocodile, lion and elephant. In the center, two at top and two at the bottom, are four virtues.
Cartographically, the map shows many of the contemporary cartographic myths, including California as an island, a large unknown southern continent and massive Terra Iesso, extending from Northeast coast of Asia to the Northwest Coast of America, separated by a small unnamed strait. The incomplete Australian and New Zealand Coastlines are shown, along with a partial understanding of Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) and the Northeastern parts of Australia.
Alexis-Hubert Jaillot (ca. 1632-1712) was one of the most important French cartographers of the seventeenth century. Jaillot traveled to Paris with his brother, Simon, in 1657, hoping to take advantage of Louis XIV's call to the artists and scientists of France to settle and work in Paris. Originally a sculptor, he married the daughter of Nicholas Berey, Jeanne Berey, in 1664, and went into partnership with Nicholas Sanson's sons. Beginning in 1669, he re-engraved and often enlarged many of Sanson's maps, filling in the gap left by the destruction of the Blaeu's printing establishment in 1672.