Catalog Archive
Auction 118, Lot 883

"[Lot of 2] Aethiopia Inferior, vel Exterior… [together with] Aethiopia Superior vel Interior; vulgo Abissinorum sive Presbiteri Ionnis Imperium", Blaeu, Willem

Subject: Africa - Southern and Central

Period: 1662 (published)

Publication: Atlas Maior

Color: Hand Color

19.5 x 15 inches
49.5 x 38.1 cm

Excellent, matched pair of maps of southern and central Africa. Each map stands on its own with full margins and borders and beautiful cartouches. Both with French text on verso. Aethiopia Inferior, vel Exterior…, the best-known map of South Africa throughout the 17th century. It covers the region from Congo-Zanzibar to the Cape. Blaeu based the map on Portuguese exploration and most detail is confined to the coastlines. There are two large lakes in the interior. The lake out of which the Zambere (Zambesi River) flows is probably based on reports of Lake Ngami, which was not conclusively discovered until the mid 19th century. The interior is filled with indigenous animals and many ships sail the sea. The large title cartouche is drawn on an ox hide held up by natives, with monkeys and turtles at their feet. The second map, Aethiopia Superior vel Interior..., delineates eastern and central Africa. It depicts the legendary Christian kingdom of Prester John. Fabled rivers and numerous exotic animals fill the otherwise empty spaces of the unexplored interior. There is a fair amount of detail on the eastern coast, reflecting the Portuguese and Arab trading interests. Mogadishu, Mombassa, Quiloa [Kilwa] and Mozambique are shown as major towns. The west coast is shown from Benin to Angola with the major feature being the Zaire River. Two large lakes, located below the equator at the base of the Mountains of the Moon are the source for the Nile River. The cartouche is surrounded by natives, with two small children holding umbrellas to deflect the large, anthropomorphic sun.

References: Norwich #154; Tooley (MCC-110) #47; Goss (Blaeu) p.152-53.

Condition: B

Both with nice old color. A little overall toning and a few spots of foxing, otherwise fine.

Estimate: $900 - $1,200

Sold for: $750

Closed on 3/6/2007