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Description: This large and handsome beautifully hand coloured original antique map of America - showing California as an Island - was published by Georg Mattraus Seutter in 1730. One of the best examples of this map I have seen to date with exceptional hand colouring.
Background: This is a highly decorative and informative map based on the contemporary European knowledge of America at the beginning of the 18th century. California is shown as an island based on the Sanson-Homann model but with additions including several more rivers on the west coast and two mountains to the north - M. Neges and M.S. Martin and C de Fortuna, C&R de Pins and many others. The great lakes still show a large degree of ignorance to both shape and location and the NW is left blank. Brazil and the east coast of South America is still largely exaggerated. The tracks of the early navigators are shown in the Pacific including Fr. Quir, Magellan, Drake and others.
The map also supports two large and highly decorative uncoloured - as published - cartouches which in themselves tell a story of European conquest and ignorance of the local populations.< Religion was a compelling motivation for European imperialism, and the opportunity to convert "heathen" Indians provided both a justification and means to conquer the indigenous peoples of the New World. Two Indians kneel reverently before a female figure representing Christianity in the top cartouche, flanked on the right by an altar prepared for Holy Communion and on the left by Europeans at a dining table. The lower cartouche portrays tranquil Indians surrounded by standard symbols representing the Americas. The seated figure wears a feathered headdress, armband, and skirt. A servant shades him from the sun with a baldachin (parasol), while others in the background and to the left harvest what appears to be sugarcane and tobacco. In the center background someone rests in a hammock suspended between two palm trees while another rows quietly out to sea. A pelican, a cockatiel, and whimsical flying fish, some sporting saw-like beaks, hover above the title. The latter creatures appear to be the artist's misconception of a sawfish. The placement of the two scenes illustrating this work is significant. By depicting numerous symbols associated with Roman Catholicism above a scene of Indians, a subtle message is conveyed: European contact with Indians would yield vast spiritual riches in the form of Christian converts and benefit the indigenous people, who, because they did not practice a Christian faith, were "beneath" those who did.
Condition Report Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable Paper color: - off white Age of map color: - Original & later Colors used: - Yellow, pink, green, orange, blue General color appearance: - Authentic Paper size: - 25 1/2in x 21 1/4in (650mm x 540mm) Plate size: - 23in x 20in (585mm x 510mm) Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)
Imperfections: Margins: - Light age toning in margins Plate area: - None Verso: - None