The First English Printed Map of Asia
"Asia with the Islands Adioyning Described, the Atire of the People, & Townes of Importance, All of Them Newly Augmented...", Speed, John
Period: 1626 (dated)
Publication: A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World…
Color: Hand Color
20.4 x 15.5 inches
51.8 x 39.4 cm
This beautiful carte-a-figures map is the first English printed map of Asia. It is flanked by costumed figures of Asian peoples with a series of eight city views forming a decorative frieze across the top including Damascus, Jerusalem, Aden, Hormus, Goa, Kandy, Banten, and Macau. The map is based largely on Jodocus Hondius' map of 1623 with detailed depictions of the East Indies, the Philippines, and the elongated peninsula form of Korea. Large lakes and rivers dominate the interior of China and the mythical Lake of Ciamay spawns five large rivers in India Without Ganges. The Great Wall of China is placed too far north. The Caspian Sea is greatly enlarged and oriented in an east-west direction. The map is further embellished with a title cartouche, numerous sea creatures, and sailing ships, and an elephant appears in the interior of China. Beautifully engraved by Abraham Goos with the imprint of Bassett and Chiswell, published circa 1676. The English text on verso provides a fascinating Anglo-centric view of Asia.
References: Yeo #30; Shirley (BL Atlases) T.SPE-2a #2; Moreland & Bannister, p. 148-50.
A sharp impression on watermarked paper with light toning along the centerfold. There is heavy toning in the blank margins, which have been archivally reinforced on verso to prevent cracking and chipping. The engraved portion of the paper is still in good condition. There are two small remnants of cello tape along the right and left edges of the sheet on verso, which have caused small stains on the recto. There is a strip of paper framing tape along the top edge of the sheet on verso, not affecting the engraved area.