|Method||Copper engraved with hand colour|
|Artist||Hondius, Henricus and Jansson, Jan|
|Published||Auct. Henr. Hondio 1641. Amstelodami apud Ioannem Ianssonium.|
|Dimensions||375 x 495 mm|
A superb and highly detailed seventeenth century map of Asia, by Henricus Hondius and published by Jan Jansson in his 1641 Latin edition of the Atlas Novus. The plate from which this map was printed was originally one of the celebrated Hondius cartes-a-figure maps, featuring border vignettes of principal Asian cities and figures in various types of national dress. Because most of these maps were too large to fit neatly into later atlas printings by Hondius and Jansson, the decorative borders were often removed or blocked out, which is why the border measurements on this example only feature on three of the four sides.
In the current example, the continent of Asia is shown, with adjoining sections of Africa and Europe, and with the westernmost reaches of North America visible at the top right corner of the map, behind a dedicatory cartouche. The borders and coasts of the various empires and nations of Asia are outlined in hand colour, and principal cities are picked out in red, as is the path of the Great Wall, separating a slightly truncated China from the lands of Tartaria. An elephant runs across a river delta to the east of India, roughly equivalent with modern day Bhutan and Bangladesh, while a pair of lions occupy the Libyan desert to the west of the Nile River. The Arabian peninsula is divided into Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, and the Persian empire stretches from the Gulf to the banks of the Mahi River. In the far east, Korea is shown correctly as a peninsula rather than an island, a cartographic improvement on the very similar figure card by Blaeu, Hondius' chief commercial rival. Japan, however, retains the horizontal orientation typical of maps of this era, following the surveys of Luis Teixeira, and the map of Ortelius. A number of the islands of the South East Asian archipelago are still unmapped, or only partially depicted, most notably Borneo, Java, and the Celebes. New Guinea is absent, as are any suggestions of the top of Australia, though the island of Ceiram probably represents the northwest Papuan seacoast. The seas of the Pacific and Indian oceans feature numerous sailing ships and sea monsters, the most notable of which is a horned triton, who blows a horn in the sea between Sumatra and the Maldives. At the top left corner, the title is enclosed in a baroque cartouche supported by a pair of northern Asian nomads, possibly Tartars or Bactrians.
Henricus Hondius (1597 - 16th August 1651), often called Hendrik Hondius the Younger to differentiate him from the earlier, and unrelated portrait engraver Hendrik Hondius the Elder, was the son of the famous cartographer Jodocus Hondius. Like his father, Henricus was an engraver, cartographer, and publisher. He first came to prominence through his publication in 1606 of a new version of Mercator's 1569 World Map, the plates for which he had obtained from Mercator's grandson Rumold. Following his father's death, Henricus co-ran the family business, eventually partnering with his brother-in-law, Jan Jansson.
Johannes Janssonius (1588 - 1664) was a famed cartographer and print publisher. More commonly known as Jan Jansson, he was born in Arnhem where his father, Jan Janszoon the Elder, was a bookseller and publisher. In 1612 he married the daughter of the cartographer and publisher Jodocus Hondius, and then set up in business in Amsterdam as a book publisher. In 1616 he published his first maps of France and Italy and from then onwards, produced a very large number of maps which went some way to rival those of the Blaeu family, who held a virtual monopoly over the industry. From about 1630 to 1638 he was in partnership with his brother-in-law, Henricus Hondius, issuing further editions of the Mercator/Hondius atlases to which his name was added. On the death of Hondius he took over the business, expanding the atlas still further, until eventually he published an eleven volume Atlas Major on a scale similar to Johannes Blaeu's magnum opus. After Jansson's death, his heirs published a number of maps in the Atlas Contractus of 1666, and, later still, many of the plates of his British maps were acquired by Pieter Schenk and Gerard Valck, who published them again in 1683 as separate maps.
Condition: Central vertical fold as issued. Splitting to centre fold professionally strengthened and backed with archival tissue. Paper splitting from old green pigment to coastline of 'Nova Zembla' professionally repaired and infilled. Minor foxing to margins. Latin text on verso.