"Aden, Arabiae Foelicis Emporium Celeberrimi Nominis... [on sheet with] Mombaza [and] Quiloa [and] Cefala", Braun & Hogenberg
Subject: Aden, Yemen & Eastern Africa
Period: 1590 (circa)
Publication: Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Vol. I
Color: Hand Color
18.8 x 13.3 inches
47.8 x 33.8 cm
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. French text on verso describes the ports.
References: Fussel, pp. 126-28; Norwich #332; Tooley (MCC-30) #E1.
Attractive color on watermarked paper with light printer's ink residue, show-through in top blank margin of old manuscript text on verso, and several faint damp stains in blank margins, one of which enters image at bottom right. There are professional repairs to a small chip along neatline and an adjacent 1" tear entering the view of Sofala, as well as a few minor chips and tears confined to the blank margins.