Auction 135, Lot 715

"Tartariae sive Magni Chami Regni Typus", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: North Pacific Ocean, Northeast Asia and Northwestern America

Period: 1598 (published)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

18.4 x 13.8 inches
46.7 x 35.1 cm

This extremely decorative map is important for several reasons and therefore becomes a foundation map for a variety of collection subjects. The map was beautifully engraved by Frans Hogenberg and is filled with decoration including two encampments of Tartars, sailing ships, a flying fish and two elaborate strapwork cartouches. Dutch text on verso.

It is the earliest printed map to focus on the North Pacific and the Stretto di Anian. Ortelius' depiction increased public awareness of Gastaldi's theory of a strait between the continents of Asia and America. It also includes a very early depiction of Japan, which is shown as a huge group of islands taking up nearly the entire North Pacific and located equal distance from both Asia and America. A notation reveals that Japan, called Zipangri by Marco Polo and also Chrÿse, was once attacked by the great Khan. It is also one of the earliest (obtainable) maps to depict Northwestern America and to name California (C. Califormio). Six of the mythical Seven Cities of Cibola are located in the present-day Southwestern United States. This information was derived from reports of the ill-fated expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1541. The map was designed to illustrate the expansive Kingdom of the Great Khan in Asia, which according to Ortelius is bounded by the river Ob, Lake Kataia, the Volga, the Caspian Sea, the river Chesel, the mountains of Usson, the area of Tibet, the river Caromora and the Morning Ocean.

References: Burden #41; Van den Broecke #163; Wagner (NW) #81; Wheat (TMW) #16; Walter #11E.

Condition: A

Old color with some minor color offsetting, and some minor soil in the blank margins.

Estimate: $1,200 - $1,500

Sold for: $2,000

Closed on 2/16/2011