Catalog Archive
Auction 191, Lot 706

"Tabula X Asiae", Ptolemy/Fries

Subject: India

Period: 1522 (published)

Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae…

Color: Black & White

19 x 11.7 inches
48.3 x 29.7 cm
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Claudius Ptolemy was a mathematician, astronomer and geographer who worked in Alexandria, then a part of the Roman Empire, in the 2nd century AD. One of the most learned and influential men of his time, his theories dominated both astronomy and geography for nearly 1500 years. His writings were kept alive by Arabic scholars during the Middle Ages and reemerged in Europe during the Renaissance. The birth of printing led to wide dissemination of his great works on astronomy and geography. There were a number of editions of his Geographia beginning in 1477. These early editions contained maps based on his original writings, known as Ptolemaic maps. As geographic knowledge increased with the explorations of Columbus, Magellan, Cabot and others, maps of the New World were added, and maps of the Old World were revised. Ptolemy's Geographia continued to be revised and published by some of the most important cartographers including Martin Waldseemuller, Sebastian Munster, Giacomo Gastaldi, Jodocus Hondius, and Gerard Mercator (whose last edition was published in 1730).

A nice example of this early and desirable Ptolemaic map of India, which is depicted in a distorted form with a severely truncated peninsula. It presents the mountains, rivers, and places as compiled by the Alexandrian geographer. The geography is crude and confusing, but it is still a remarkable view of the region between the deltas of the Indus and Ganges rivers, both of which are shown. The map is reduced from Martin Waldseemuller's map, and incorrectly shows the northern tip of Taprobana to the west of the subcontinent. The title is contained in a banner in the top margin. On verso there is an illustrated scene and architectural woodcut illustration.


Condition: B+

There is minor toning along the centerfold and edges of the sheet, as well as a couple marginal dampstains. A few edge tears around the centerfold at top and bottom that have been closed on verso with archival materials.

Estimate: $600 - $750

Sold for: $450

Closed on 2/8/2023