C1595
 (1628)

Asia ex Magna Orbis Terre Descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris Desumpta studio et Indutstria.

Mercator is widely considered to be one of the greatest cartographers, best known for the map projection that bears his name which he first used on his monumental twenty-one sheet world map printed in 1569, titled Nova et Aucta Orbis … Read Full Description

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S/N: ASI-1628-MERC–184190
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Details

Full Title:

Asia ex Magna Orbis Terre Descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris Desumpta studio et Indutstria.

Date:

C1595
 (1628)

Condition:

Some staining edge of lower margin, well away from engraved area.

Technique:

Image Size: 

490mm 
x 383mm
AUTHENTICITY
Asia ex Magna Orbis Terre Descriptione Gerardi Mercatoris Desumpta studio et Indutstria. - Antique Print from 1595

Genuine antique
dated:

1628

Description:

Mercator is widely considered to be one of the greatest cartographers, best known for the map projection that bears his name which he first used on his monumental twenty-one sheet world map printed in 1569, titled Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descriptio ad Usum Navigantium Emendata, (New and Augmented Description of Earth Corrected for the Use of Sailors). His projection placed lines of constant latitude and longitude at right angles by increasing the degrees between parallels at the poles. This allowed compass directions to be represented as straight lines and thereby made it easier for mariners to plot a course on a map. This map of Asia is based on Mercator&#8217s own world map for which he had studied all contemporary sources available, including the maps of Ortelius, Gastaldi, Gutierez, Ramusio, and the portolans of the Castilians and Portuguese. In addition, he read the works of the ancients such as Ptolemy, Pliny, Solinus and Mela, and the accounts of medieval travellers such as Marco Polo and Varthema. The geography of Sumatra is crudely shown and includes the classical name of &#8216Tabroband&#8217 (Sri Lanka) which according to Ptolemy in his Geographia, was the largest island in the world, thereby confusing mapmakers for centuries on the identity of the two islands. Northern Australia is named Terra Australis Pars and there are lines of text in the lower right providing information on the Moluccas. As one of the leading and most influential mapmakers in Amsterdam at the time, Mercator would have been aware of Plancius having obtained permission in 1592 from the States-General &#8216to print at his own expense…such twenty-five special sea charts&#8217 by the Portuguese mapmaker Bartholomeu Lasso which had been obtained in Lisbon by the Houtman. He would also have known of Plancius&#8217s separately-issued Spice Islands map that was published in 1594. Although Mercator&#8217s map was issued in the same year as Linschoten released his important travel account Reysgeschrift van der Navigatien der Portugaloysers in Orienten which provided detailed navigational information of the spice trade in the East and the exact location of the Spice Islands, Mercator would have been at an advanced stage of publication of the atlas and therefore reluctant to make further changes. The map has a decorative strapwork title and is restrained in typical Mercator style, with few other embellishments other than a single galleon at top right and a simple border surrounding the map. From Mercator&#8217s Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricata figura. References: Allen p.68, ill.p.72, Koeman I 8000, Parry p.76, ill.pl.3.13, Quirino p.98, ill.p.4, Sweet 13.

Gerard Mercator (1512 - 1594)

Mercator was one of the most important and influential of c.16th map makers. A geographer, cosmographer and is best known for creating the 1569 world map based on a new projection (named after him) which represented sailing courses of constant bearing (rhumb lines) as straight lines. His knowledge of geography came from his library of over one thousand books and maps, from travellers and from his vast correspondence (in six languages) with other scholars, statesmen, travellers, merchants and seamen. Mercator's early maps were in large formats suitable for wall mounting but in the second half of his life, he produced over 100 new regional maps in a smaller format suitable for binding into his Atlas of 1595. This was the first appearance of the word Atlas in reference to a book of maps.

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