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Southeast Asia, by Abraham Ortelius. 1572

Old, antique map of Southeast Asia, by Abraham Ortelius.

This map represents a synthesis of the best readily available information on Southeast Asia and the East Indian Islands from Italian, Portuguese and Spanish sources. The map extends from Portuguese India in the west, through China, Japan, Southeast Asia and the East Indies (Indonesian archipelago), including New Guinea, to the Northwest coast of America. Sumatra and Java are shown heavily distorted in shape together with the principal spice islands, but the emergent shape of Borneo and the Philippines is apparent as well as the general configuration of the East Indian archipelago. Java is shown as an island but with a greatly inflated shape and no topographical information along the south coast, separated from Beach, a presumed promontory on the southern or 'fifth' continent. Borneo is mapped in the place of the fictitious 'Java Minor' that frequently appeared at that latitude on the 'modern' Ptolemaic maps of the region, although only the part of Borneo north of the equator is shown to the west of a barely recognizable Celebes (Sulawesi), where no hint is given of the very distinctive peninsula geography of the island. On the other hand, the clove-producing islands of Ternate, Tidore and their neighbours to the south, Machian and Bacam, are correctly located to the west of the easily identifiable island of Gilolo (Halmahera) with its four distinctive peninsulas. Buru island is located correctly to the west of the main Ambon island, now called Seram, and although the 'Bird's Head' part of New Guinea (Irian Jaya) is shown as three islands, the outline of the coasts, particularly the north coast, strongly suggests that Ortelius based his information on actual charts of the coasts. Gebe island, where the French obtained the first clove and nutmeg seedlings they smuggled out in the eighteenth century and which currently contains one of Indonesia's largest nickel mines, is correctly located on the equator between Gilolo and New Guinea. The map 'Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacentium Typus' by Ortelius is a 'milestone' map in the cartography of Southeast Asia and the East Indian Islands. It represents the synthesis of cartographic knowledge of the region for the first seventy years of the sixteenth century and, most importantly, brought that knowledge to a very wide audience through the numerous editions of the Theatrum. The map must be considered one of the gems of any private collection of maps of the region and, somewhat surprisingly, is still available for collectors at a reasonable price. (Parry, p.76-78)


Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598)

The maker of the 'first atlas,' the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570), was born on 4 April 1527 into an old Antwerp family. He learned Latin and studied Greek and mathematics.
Abraham and his sisters Anne and Elizabeth, took up map colouring. He was admitted to the Guild of St. Luke as an "illuminator of maps." Besides colouring maps, Ortelius was a dealer in antiques, coins, maps, and books, with the book and map trade gradually becoming his primary occupation.
Business went well because his means permitted him to start an extensive collection of medals, coins, and antiques, as well as a library of many volumes. He traveled a lot and visited Italy and France, made contacts everywhere with scholars and editors, and maintained an extensive correspondence with them.

In 1564 he published his first map, a large and ambitious wall map of the world. The inspiration for this map may well have been Gastaldi's large world map. In 1565 he published a map of Egypt and a map of the Holy Land, a large map of Asia followed.
In 1568 the production of individual maps for his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was already in full swing. The atlas was completed in the year 1569, and in May of 1570, the Theatrum was available for sale. It was one of the most expensive books ever published.
This first edition contained seventy maps on fifty-three sheets.The maps were engraved by Franciscus Hogenberg.
Later editions included Additamenta (additions) that later resulted in Ortelius' historical atlas, the Parergon, mostly bound together with the atlas. The Parergon can be called a truly original work of Ortelius, who drew the maps based on his own research.

The importance of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum for geographical knowledge in the last quarter of the sixteenth century is difficult to overemphasize. There was nothing else like it until Mercator's atlas appeared twenty-five years later. Demand for the Theatrum was remarkable. Altogether some 24 editions appeared during Ortelius's lifetime and another 10 after his death in 1598. Editions had been published in Dutch, German, French, Spanish, English, and Italian. The number of map sheets grew from 53 in 1570 to 167 in 1612, in the last edition.

In 1577, engraver Philip Galle and poet-translator Pieter Heyns published the first pocket-sized edition of the Theatrum, the Epitome. The work was very popular. Over thirty editions of this Epitome were published in different languages.

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Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus.

€2800  ($3276 / £2380)
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Item Number:  28046
Category:  Antique maps > Asia > Southeast Asia
References: Van der Krogt 3 - 8400:31; Van den Broecke - #166; Karrow - 1/68; Durant-Curtis - #11; Clancy - p. 71 Map 5

Title: Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacientium Typus.
Cum Privilegio.

Date of the first edition: 1570.
Date of this map: 1572.

Copper engraving, printed on paper.
Size (not including margins): 350 x 500mm (13.78 x 19.69 inches).
Verso: German text.
Condition: Original coloured, side margins extended, lower centrefold split reinforced.
Condition Rating: A.
References: Van der Krogt 3, 8400:31; Van den Broecke, 166; Karrow, 1/68; Durant-Curtis, #11; Clancy, p.71 Map 5

From: Theatrum oder Schawplatz des Erdbodems. Antwerpen, Gielis Coppens van Diest, 1572. (Van der Krogt, 3, 201)

Old, antique map of Southeast Asia, by Abraham Ortelius.

This map represents a synthesis of the best readily available information on Southeast Asia and the East Indian Islands from Italian, Portuguese and Spanish sources. The map extends from Portuguese India in the west, through China, Japan, Southeast Asia and the East Indies (Indonesian archipelago), including New Guinea, to the Northwest coast of America. Sumatra and Java are shown heavily distorted in shape together with the principal spice islands, but the emergent shape of Borneo and the Philippines is apparent as well as the general configuration of the East Indian archipelago. Java is shown as an island but with a greatly inflated shape and no topographical information along the south coast, separated from Beach, a presumed promontory on the southern or 'fifth' continent. Borneo is mapped in the place of the fictitious 'Java Minor' that frequently appeared at that latitude on the 'modern' Ptolemaic maps of the region, although only the part of Borneo north of the equator is shown to the west of a barely recognizable Celebes (Sulawesi), where no hint is given of the very distinctive peninsula geography of the island. On the other hand, the clove-producing islands of Ternate, Tidore and their neighbours to the south, Machian and Bacam, are correctly located to the west of the easily identifiable island of Gilolo (Halmahera) with its four distinctive peninsulas. Buru island is located correctly to the west of the main Ambon island, now called Seram, and although the 'Bird's Head' part of New Guinea (Irian Jaya) is shown as three islands, the outline of the coasts, particularly the north coast, strongly suggests that Ortelius based his information on actual charts of the coasts. Gebe island, where the French obtained the first clove and nutmeg seedlings they smuggled out in the eighteenth century and which currently contains one of Indonesia's largest nickel mines, is correctly located on the equator between Gilolo and New Guinea. The map 'Indiae Orientalis Insularumque Adiacentium Typus' by Ortelius is a 'milestone' map in the cartography of Southeast Asia and the East Indian Islands. It represents the synthesis of cartographic knowledge of the region for the first seventy years of the sixteenth century and, most importantly, brought that knowledge to a very wide audience through the numerous editions of the Theatrum. The map must be considered one of the gems of any private collection of maps of the region and, somewhat surprisingly, is still available for collectors at a reasonable price. (Parry, p.76-78)


Abraham Ortelius (1527-1598)

The maker of the 'first atlas,' the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570), was born on 4 April 1527 into an old Antwerp family. He learned Latin and studied Greek and mathematics.
Abraham and his sisters Anne and Elizabeth, took up map colouring. He was admitted to the Guild of St. Luke as an "illuminator of maps." Besides colouring maps, Ortelius was a dealer in antiques, coins, maps, and books, with the book and map trade gradually becoming his primary occupation.
Business went well because his means permitted him to start an extensive collection of medals, coins, and antiques, as well as a library of many volumes. He traveled a lot and visited Italy and France, made contacts everywhere with scholars and editors, and maintained an extensive correspondence with them.

In 1564 he published his first map, a large and ambitious wall map of the world. The inspiration for this map may well have been Gastaldi's large world map. In 1565 he published a map of Egypt and a map of the Holy Land, a large map of Asia followed.
In 1568 the production of individual maps for his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum was already in full swing. The atlas was completed in the year 1569, and in May of 1570, the Theatrum was available for sale. It was one of the most expensive books ever published.
This first edition contained seventy maps on fifty-three sheets.The maps were engraved by Franciscus Hogenberg.
Later editions included Additamenta (additions) that later resulted in Ortelius' historical atlas, the Parergon, mostly bound together with the atlas. The Parergon can be called a truly original work of Ortelius, who drew the maps based on his own research.

The importance of the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum for geographical knowledge in the last quarter of the sixteenth century is difficult to overemphasize. There was nothing else like it until Mercator's atlas appeared twenty-five years later. Demand for the Theatrum was remarkable. Altogether some 24 editions appeared during Ortelius's lifetime and another 10 after his death in 1598. Editions had been published in Dutch, German, French, Spanish, English, and Italian. The number of map sheets grew from 53 in 1570 to 167 in 1612, in the last edition.

In 1577, engraver Philip Galle and poet-translator Pieter Heyns published the first pocket-sized edition of the Theatrum, the Epitome. The work was very popular. Over thirty editions of this Epitome were published in different languages.

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