"Reys-Kaerte vande Ambassade der Nederlantse Oost Indies Compagnie, door China aen den Grooten Tartersen Cham…", Nieuhoff, Johann
Period: 1682 (circa)
Color: Hand Color
20 x 17 inches
50.8 x 43.2 cm
This lovely map is from the first Dutch description of the Chinese Empire and one of the few non-Jesuit sources on China of this period. Nieuhoff was the official chronicler and draughtsman for the first embassy to China by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), then at the height of its power. His record of the trip became the most important source of information about China for Europe in the 17th century. The map itself is nearly void of details, as the embassy was not allowed to venture into the interior. They traveled from Canton to Peking by way of rivers and canals, and this route is filled with place names, starkly contrasting to the rest of the map. In place of details, Nieuhoff filled the map with little vignettes of the indigenous animals (although it is doubtful that elephants roamed the Gobi Desert as pictured here). The map extends to include Korea, Japan and Formosa, none of which are detailed. The map is further embellished with a VOC ship and a variety of Asian sailing ships, and a title cartouche enclosed in a garland of exotic fruits and held aloft by cherubs.
Issued folded, now flattened with tissue reinforcing some fold intersections. There is a tissue repair on a 7" long binding tear (now nearly invisible) and paper added to the binding trim at lower left with loss of part of the neatline.