|Dimensions||312 x 476 mm|
A very rare and highly decorative world map, closely copied from Visscher's world map of the same title and layout, originally engraved in 1657 and appearing in a number of editions of the Ravensteyn Bible. This plate, possibly by Danckerts or by Visscher himself, is differentiated from the earlier edition only by the lack of the Visscher imprint in the title space, and the inclusion of New Zealand, to the left of the text describing the discoveries of Columbus, where the original is blank. Shirley suggests this state may be the same as that listed in the Plancius archive as an 'anonymous reprint, c.1650.'
Cartographically, the map is very similar to a number of similarly titled examples published by Plancius-Allard and Danckerts in the mid seventeenth century, both of which follow the Visscher. The world is depicted in two hemispheres, with a pair of smaller hemispheres at the centre of the plate depicting the Copernican (Heliocentric) and Ptolemaic (Geocentric) universal systems. The spaces surrounding the spheres are occupied by allegorical representations of the four continents. Europa, as queen of the nations, sits upon a shield, and is dressed in regal military dress. She holds a sceptre in one hand and a vine with bunches of grapes in the other. Representatives of the other continents process towards her, bearing the fruits of her empires. Asia, swinging a censer billowing incense, is dressed in Eastern habit, and rides side-saddle on a camel. Behind her, a strange long-necked horned animal may represent a giraffe, while a mahout goads an elephant towards a group of soldiers carrying a large crucifix. In the bottom register, Africa, naked, sits astride a crocodile, while America, armed with axe and bow, and wearing a feathered head-dress, rides atop an armidillo. Visscher's cartographic conservatism is also replicated in this world map. California is depicted as a peninsula, rather than as an island, and the northern reaches of Australia are still unmarked, though other discoveries of Abel Tasman's journeys are clearly marked.
The Visscher family produced maps and atlases in Amsterdam throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth century. Established by Claes Janszoon Visscher (1587-1652), they mainly published atlases from plates purchased from Pieter van den Keere. The business was then continued by Claes' son Nicolas Visscher I (1618-1679) and his grandson Nicolas II. The Visschers published many revised editions of their 'Atlas Contractus' and 'Atlas Minor'. Upon the death of Nicholas II, his wife, Elizabeth, continued the business before selling it to Pieter Schenk.
Condition: Central vertical fold, as issued. Minor time toning to edges of sheet, particularly to bottom left and right corners. Excellent clear impression. German gothic letterpress text to verso.