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Description: This fine, beautifully hand coloured original antique and very important map of Mughal Empire of Northern India, Tibet, Nepal and central Asia by Henricus Hondius was published in the 1639 French edition of Gerardi Mercators Atlantis Novi Atlas. Background: This map centers on the Mughal capital of Agra, with the map covering, roughly, from Kabul to Orissa and Deccan, and from Persia to Bengal. It depicts the empire prior to the conquest of Orissa and Deccan, most likely during the reign of Shah Jahan, of Taj Mahal fame. Relief is shown pictorially. An elaborate title cartouche appears in the upper left quadrant. The map is embellished with images of tigers, elephants, caravans, and galleons. There is much of interest. In particular, is the map detailed breakdown of the caravan network between Gujarat and Agra, between Agra and the desert outpost of Jaisalmer, and between Agra and the Silk Road center of Kabul. While the map does not show roads, for surely none as such existed at the time, it does show the network of towns, waystations and caravanserai built to support the bustling trade system. The apocryphal Lake of Chiamay appears just north of the Bay of Bengal as the source of four important Southeast Asian river systems including the Irrawaddy, the Dharla, the Chao Phraya, and the Brahmaputra. The curious Lake of Chiamay (also called Chiam-may or Chian-may), roughly located in the area of Assam but sometimes as far north as Tibet and China, began to appear in maps of this region as early as the 16th century and persisted well into the mid 18th century. Its origins are unknown but may originate in a lost 16th century geography prepared by the Portuguese scholar Jao de Barros. It was speculated to be the source of five important Southeast Asian River systems and was mentioned in the journals of Sven Hedin. There are even records that the King of Siam led an invasionary force to take control of the lake in the 16th century. Nonetheless, the theory of Lake Chiamay was ultimately disproved and it disappeared from maps entirely by the 1760s. There are two states of this map, the present example being the first state, first issued in 1638 by Henricus Hondius, and the second state a few years later in 1641 by Jan Jannson. With the exception of the signature imprint, the plates are identical. (Ref: Koeman; M&B)
Condition Report: Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy & stable Paper color: - off white Age of map color: - Original Colors used: - Yellow, pink, green General color appearance: - Authentic Paper size: - 23in x 19in (585mm x 485mm) Plate size: - 19 3/4in x 14 1/2in (500mm x 350mm) Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)
Imperfections: Margins: - Bottom centerfold re-joined. Plate area: - Light colour offset Verso: - Bottom centerfold re-joined