Catalog Archive
Auction 159, Lot 607

"[Aden] [on sheet with] Mombaza [and] Quiloa [and] Cefala", Braun & Hogenberg

Subject: Aden, Yemen & Eastern Africa

Period: 1657 (circa)

Publication: Theatrum Urbium

Color: Black & White

18.5 x 13.1 inches
47 x 33.3 cm
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Braun & Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum or "Cities of the World" was published between 1572 and 1617. Within the six volumes, 531 towns and cities were depicted on 363 plates, providing the reader with the pleasures of travel without the attendant discomforts. Braun wrote in the preface to the third book, "What could be more pleasant than, in one's own home far from all danger, to gaze in these books at the universal form of the earth . . . adorned with the splendor of cities and fortresses and, by looking at pictures and reading the texts accompanying them, to acquire knowledge which could scarcely be had but by long and difficult journeys?" Braun and Hogenberg incorporated an astonishing wealth of information into each scene beyond the city layout and important buildings. The plates provide an impression of the economy and prominent occupations, and illustrate local costumes, manners and customs.

A great folio sheet with plan views of the major ports of Arabia (Yemen) and Eastern Africa. These Indian Ocean trading ports were important re-supply points for European traders in the Far East. The top half of the sheet is taken up with a fabulous coastal view of the city of Aden with numerous ships in the harbor and surrounding sea. The city is surrounded by several hills, each topped by a castle. Below are three separate views of east African ports: Mombasa, Kilwa, and Sofala. The information for these views was supplied by the Hanse merchant Constantin van Lyskirchen from a Portuguese manuscript. Latin text on verso describes the ports.

This view was first published by Braun & Hogenberg in 1572 in the Civitates Orbis Terrarum. After their deaths, the plates were sold to Jan Jansson in 1653, who reprinted about 230 of them in his Theatrum Urbium. Jansson made modifications to some plates, including this one, in which the title cartouche was removed and the plate was reworked in several areas, such as cross-hatching added to the ships' sails and a darkening of the waves at the bottom of the Aden view.

References: Shirley (BL Atlases) T.BRA-1a; cf. Fussel, pp. 126-28; cf. Norwich #332; cf. Tooley (MCC-30) #E1.

Condition: A

A dark impression with archivally repaired centerfold separations at top and bottom and marginal soiling.

Estimate: $325 - $400

Sold for: $230

Closed on 9/14/2016