1655 Joan Blaeu Antique Map of Japan, Korea & parts of China - Beautiful

Cartographer : Joan Blaeu


This fine beautifully hand coloured original antique map of Japan & Korea  - the seventeenth and last of the maps provided by the Jesuit priest Martino Martini to Joan Blaeu - was published by Joan Blaeu in his 1665 edition of Atlas Simenis.

Martinis map was to provide the most accurate depiction of the general outlines of the principle islands of Japan - Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku - for more than a century. The map was copied extensively by other mapmakers throughout the remainder of the seventeenth century and was replaced during the eighteenth century by maps that were in nearly all respects considerably inferior, albeit rather more flamboyant in design.  Martinis first hand knowledge of the Chinese mainland enabled him to draw Korea correctly, for the first time on a printed map, as a peninsular even though little interior detail is shown. However what lay to the north of Japan was a mystery, not only Europeans, but also to the Japanese and Chinese as well. Even as early as 1613, William Adams, an Englishman living in Japan for many years, had written back to England recommending Japan as a base for "discouerie to the northward...never hath bin better menes to discouer". As with his general map of China, Martini here provides information on the internal administrative divisions in Japan; each of the feudal fiefdoms is shown, with the chief  town in each, while some evidence of the activity of Jesuit missions, since the arrival of Francis Xavier in 1549, can be gathered from the town symbols surmounted by a small cross. This is one of the finest maps of Japan ever published, the engraving is strong, paper excellent and clean with beautiful original hand colour.  (Ref: Koeman; M&B)

General Description:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - White
Age of map color: - Early color
Colors used: - Pink, green, yellow, blue
General color appearance: - Authentic & beautiful
Paper size: - 24in x 21in (610mm x 535mm)
Plate size: - 22 1/2in x 16 3/4in (570mm x 425mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - Light age toning
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None