1595 Ortelius - Iaponiae Insulae Descriptio [first map of Japan published in European atlas]

SOLD: First map of Japan published in a European atlas, by Ortelius

Title:

Iaponiae Insulae Descriptio. Ludoico Teisera Auctore

Map maker:

Abraham Ortelius, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Place and Year:

Antwerp, 1595

Dimensions:

47.8 x 35.3 cm (18.8 x 13.9 in)

Technique:

Copperplate engraving

Coloring:

Hand colored

Condition Rating:

VG+

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DETAILS

This landmark map was the first map of Japan published in a European atlas.

Ortelius received the map from Ludovico Teixeira, a Portuguese Jesuit cartographer and mathematician. While Teixeira had not personally traveled to Japan, he obviously had access to Japanese sources as the map presents the first reasonably accurate and recognizable depiction of the island nation with numerous Japanese place names.

Korea appears as an island tapering to a point labeled 'Punta dos ladrones' (Cape of Thieves), seemingly a reference to pirate activity in this area. Pyongyang in the north is labeled 'Tauxem.'

The map is elegantly embellished with three large galleons, two elaborate cartouches, and a boldly engraved border. This influential map was to become the basis for many other cartographers' maps of Japan for more than fifty years.

Verso text: Latin, with page number 110, published in 1603.

CONDITION NOTES

A crisp impression on watermarked paper with a light vertical crease adjacent to the centerfold and some minor surface soil.

IDENTIFIER

NL-00030

REFERENCES

Van den Broecke #165; Walter OAG #5, plt. 19.

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