Catalog Archive
Auction 153, Lot 655

"La Tartarie [on sheet with] Tabula Geographica Partis Europae et Asiae qua Septentrionem Spectant [and] Tartariae Imperium, Auctore Ioan. Antonio Magino Patavini...", Witsen, Nicolaas

Subject: Northern Asia

Period: 1705 (circa)

Publication: Noord en Oost Tartarye

Color: Hand Color

14.4 x 11.1 inches
36.6 x 28.2 cm

Nicolaas Witsen (1641-1717) was a Dutchman who was a cartographer, authority on shipbuilding, administrator of the VOC, and served as mayor of Amsterdam multiple times. Witsen traveled to Moscow in 1664-65, keeping a diary and collecting artifacts. He became fascinated about Russia and obtained all information available at the time on the subject, including maps, travelogues, manuscripts and objects. In 1692, Witsen published the most comprehensive and authoritative work on Russia and northern Asia, Noord en Oost Tartarye. A second expanded edition was published in 1705 with additional maps, and again reprinted in 1785. All editions are very rare.

This map depicts a progression of the cartography of northern Asia and the Arctic from 1597 to 1659. At top right is Giovanni Antonio Magini's map from 1597, Tartariae Imperium, which was based on Ortelius. The map focuses on Russia and the North Pacific, including Northwestern America and the tip of Japan. The Caspian Sea is given a round shape and the Taymyr Peninsula is quite elongated. While designed to illustrate the expansive Kingdom of the Great Khan in Asia, its most interesting feature is the Fretum Anian and its depiction of Northwestern America.

At top left is a map of Russia and the North Pole from 1610. Here the Taymyr Peninsula is still elongated, but the island of Nova Zemla finally appears. A large landmass at the Arctic circle is shown with a note indicating that the rivers and lakes of the land surrounding the pole are unknown. Two large landmasses appear to the east; Anian is separated from Tartaria by the Fretum Anian and Americae Pars is separated by another strait.

The large map at bottom is loosely based on Nicolas Sanson's map of the region from 1659. Witsen's map extends further east to show the Kamchatka Peninsula, and Ieco (labeled Iesso on Sanson's map) appears further south. The Caspian Sea is also given an updated shape extending north-south.


Condition: A

Excellent impression and color with a "Pro Propria" watermark.

Estimate: $400 - $500

Sold for: $300

Closed on 5/20/2015