Catalog Archive
Auction 162, Lot 677

Ortelius' Influential Map of Japan

"Iaponiae Insulae Descriptio. Ludoico Teisera Auctore", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: Japan & Korea

Period: 1595 (dated)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

19 x 14 inches
48.3 x 35.6 cm

This landmark map was the first map of Japan published in a European atlas. Ortelius received the map from Ludovico Teixeira, a Portuguese Jesuit cartographer and mathematician. While Teixeira had not personally traveled to Japan, he obviously had access to Japanese sources as the map presents the first reasonably accurate and recognizable depiction of the island nation with numerous Japanese place names. Korea appears as an island tapering to a point labeled Punta dos ladrones. The map is elegantly embellished with three large galleons, two elaborate cartouches, and a boldly engraved border. This influential map was to become the basis for many other cartographers' maps of Japan for more than fifty years. Italian text on verso, published in 1608-12.

References: Van den Broecke #165; Walter OAG #5, plt. 19.

Condition: B

Full original color that has been refreshed, with light toning and minor soiling. Professionally backed in tissue to repair several separations along the centerfold, a few short cracks in Korea, and two 1.5" tears west of Korea. The margins have been extended to accommodate framing.

Estimate: $2,000 - $2,400


Closed on 4/26/2017