Catalog Archive
Auction 177, Lot 629

The First European-Printed Map of China

"Chinae, olim Sinarum Regionis, Nova Descriptio. Auctore Ludovico Georgio", Ortelius, Abraham

Subject: China

Period: 1584 (dated)

Publication: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

Color: Hand Color

18.4 x 14.4 inches
46.7 x 36.6 cm
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This landmark map provides a fascinating view of the mysterious orient from a Renaissance perspective. Ortelius based the map on the work of Jorge de Barbuda, a Portuguese Jesuit also known as Ludovicus Georgius, whose manuscript map reached Ortelius by way of Arias Montanus. The depiction, which became the standard image of China for over half a century, shows the legendary kingdom at an early point in European exploration of the region. The map is oriented with north to the right and extends into parts of Indo-China, the Philippines and part of Japan. The Great Wall is prominently delineated and several huge lakes and rivers dominate the topography. Illustrations in the interior include tent cities of the Tartars, stags, elephants and elaborate sail-powered carriages. The map is further adorned with three ornamental cartouches. Second state with las Philippinas added above Sinus Magnus, published in the Latin edition of 1603.

References: Walter #11F; Van den Broecke #164.

Condition: A

A superb impression on paper with the crossed arrows watermark commonly found on Ortelius maps. There is a minute hole along centerfold towards bottom, an archivally repaired centerfold separation that just enters map border at bottom, and one tiny tear in bottom blank margin.

Estimate: $5,500 - $6,500

Sold for: $4,000

Closed on 4/29/2020