The map Nova Tabula Americae, published by Jacob Sandrart and engraved by J.B. Homann circa 1695, stands as a significant contribution to late 17th-century cartography, marking one of the earliest instances of Homann's engraving work. This instance of German cartography indicates a shift in the locus of map production from Amsterdam to Germany and France.
The Nova Tabula Americae is a derivative work, drawing heavily from Frederick de Wit's map of America circa 1675. It mirrors de Wit's original in many aspects, including the depiction of California as an island based on the second Sanson model, along with named and delineated regions of Terra Esonis and Fretum Anian. The map also offers an early depiction of Australia's coast, indicating a broad geographical scope.
The map is notable for its embellishments, including an array of animals in North America and vignettes of tribal villages in Brazil. The allegorical vignette at the bottom left, which portrays natives around a fire and a bound individual being beaten with a spear, is particularly evocative. These artistic elements lend the map an additional layer of narrative and cultural representation beyond its geographical content.
Interestingly, this map exhibits a style of engraving that would become characteristic of the German cartography tradition, as seen in the works of Homann, Seutter, and Lotter. Yet, it also bears a distinct artistry, pointing to a transitional period in mapmaking aesthetics. As such, Sandrart's maps, including the Nova Tabula Americae, are not only important for their geographical content but also as artefacts showcasing the evolution of cartographic style and technique. However, Sandrart's maps are relatively rare in the market, adding to their historical and collector's value.