Hondius' Decorative Map of the Spice Islands
"Insulae Indiae Orientalis Praecipuae, in Quibus Moluccae Celeberrimae Sunt", Mercator/Hondius
Subject: East Indies
Period: 1613 (circa)
Publication: Gerardi Mercatoris - Atlas sive Cosmographicae
Color: Hand Color
18.8 x 13.6 inches
47.8 x 34.5 cm
This impressive map reflects the increasing Dutch interest in South East Asia in the wake of the establishment of the Dutch East India Company. It is one of two Asian maps that Hondius added to his expanded edition of the Mercator Atlas first published in 1606. The map covers the Malaysian Peninsula, Indochina, the Philippines, and all of the East Indies as far as New Guinea, thus illustrating the vitally important Spice Islands. Much of the geographical data for this map is based on the portolan charts of the Portuguese cartographer Bartolomeu Lasso and Plancius' important map of the region. There are important new details added on the northern islands of the Philippines and Marianas, and a curious channel bisects the Malaysian Peninsula. The southern coastline of Java is incomplete except for a bay with a note that Sir Francis Drake landed there during his circumnavigation of the globe. This is one of the few maps to show any trace of Francis Drake's explorations in South East Asia. A detailed note at lower right discusses the location of Marco Polo’s Java Minor. The map is richly embellished with strapwork cartouches, compass roses, a sea monster, and a sea battle between Dutch and Spanish galleons. Latin text on verso, published between 1613-19.
References: Suarez (SEA) Fig.112; Van der Krogt (Vol. I) #8500:1A.
Original color on a watermarked sheet with a small abrasion on the cartouche at right. There are archival repairs to several short tears adjacent to the centerfold, as well as short tears and chips confined to the blank margins.