Catalog Archive
Auction 109, Lot 633

"Iaponiae Insulae Descriptio", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Japan and Korea

Period: 1595 (dated)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19 x 14 inches
48.3 x 35.6 cm

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. 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 cartographer's maps of Japan for more than fifty years. This example is from the Latin edition of 1612.

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

Condition: A

Expertly filled and nearly invisible worm track at center fold, else very fine.

Estimate: $4,750 - $5,500

Sold for: $3,500

Closed on 12/1/2004