Auction 127, Lot 670

"Asiae Nova Descriptio", Hondius/Le Clerc

Subject: Asia

Period: 1602 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

18.8 x 14.5 inches
47.8 x 36.8 cm

This rare map of Asia is largely based on Ortelius' 1570 map that was the standard map of Asia for more than forty years. The cordiform projection shows Asia extended too far to the east, an error propagated with Ptolemy. Japan is in a 'kite' form taken from Jesuit sources. Luzon is absent from the Philippines and the mythical lake Cayamay lacus, located in southern China, spawns three south flowing rivers. One divergent feature on Hondius' map appears on the Malaya Peninsula, which is bisected near the southern tip by a wide waterway. No such channel exists, but there was a well-established trade route across the peninsula that included a short portage between the headwaters of the Jempol and Serting Rivers. Evidently word of this trade route resulted in this erroneous feature that appeared on many Dutch maps of the region throughout the seventeenth century. The map is exquisitely engraved with a moiré patterned sea, a sailing ship and a strapwork title cartouche. This map of Asia was one of a set of individual maps of the four continents, first issued around 1589. The map was re-issued by Jean le Clerc in 1602 with his own imprint added below that of Hondius in the lower right corner. This map is much rarer than the map of nearly the same title from 1606 and we find only one dealer catalog listing in the last 20 years.

References: Yeo #10.

Condition: B

A fine sharp impression and original color. The map has been professionally restored in the top margin with two areas of the border and a bit of the map replaced with very skillful facsimile. The restoration is very well done and only noticeable on very close inspection or when viewed on the verso.

Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000


Closed on 2/25/2009