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Nice example of Blaeu's map of the Peling Province of China.

This map includes a graphic depiction of the Great Wall stretching across the top of the map and the important salt fields are graphically depicted along the coast. Peking is named Xuntien. The title cartouche is flanked by a fabulously attired Emperor and Empress with their attendants, and a pair of phoenix perching between them. The scale of miles cartouche includes Chinese surveyors.

This superb map of the province of Peking is the most ornate of the fifteen provincial maps in this landmark atlas of China. The maps were compiled by Father Martino Martini, an Italian Jesuit, based on Chinese sources between 1643 and 1650. The atlas greatly advanced European knowledge of the region including the astronomical positions of many cities and topographical features. It remained the standard geographical work on that country until the publication in 1737 of D'Anville's Atlas de la Chine.

Johannes Blaeu Biography

Joan, or Johannes, Blaeu (1596-1673) was the son of Willem Janszoon Blaeu. He inherited his father’s meticulous and striking mapmaking style and continued the Blaeu workshop until it burned in 1672. Initially, Joan trained as a lawyer, but he decided to join his father’s business rather than practice.

After his father’s death in 1638, Joan and his brother, Cornelis, took over their father’s shop and Joan took on his work as hydrographer to the Dutch East India Company. Joan brought out many important works, including Nova et Accuratissima Terrarum Orbis Tabula, a world map to commemorate the Peace of Westphalia which brought news of Abel Tasman’s voyages in the Pacific to the attention of Europe. This map was used as a template for the world map set in the floor of the Amsterdam Town Hall, the Groote Burger-Zaal, in 1655.

Joan also modified and greatly expanded his father’s Atlas novus, first published in 1635. All the while, Joan was honing his own atlas. He published the Atlas maior between 1662 and 1672. It is one of the most sought-after atlases by collectors and institutions today due to the attention to the detail, quality, and beauty of the maps. He is also known for his town plans and wall maps of the continents. Joan’s productivity slammed to a halt in 1672, when a fire completely destroyed his workshop and stock. Joan died a year later and is buried in the Westerkerk in Amsterdam.