1652 Sanson Map of India
Description: A small but attractive 1652 map of India by the French cartographer Nicholas Sanson. Covers the subcontinent From the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Cambay to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Offers impressive detail given that the interior of India was largely unknown to the west until the British survey's of the late 18th century. The vast Mogul Empire sprawls across the northern part of the map. Further south the kingdoms of Deccan, Malabar, Bisnagar, and Golconda, among others, are noted. As an indicator of how just out of date European knowledge of this region was, most of these kingdoms had fallen to ruin over 100 years prior to the publication of this map. The Portuguese enclave of Goa on India's west coast is noted. In the lower right quadrant there is an inset of the Malabar Coast. The lower left hand quadrant features a curious and speculative depiction of the Maldives.
Date: 1652 (undated)
Source: Sanson D'Abbeville, Nicolas, L'Asie en Plusieurs Cartes & En Divers Traitez De Geographie, Et D'Histoire…, Paris: Chez l'auteur, 1652.
References: Rajendra, The Art of Map-Making and Some Rare Maps of South Asia and Sindh 140 AD to 1808 AD, no. 16.
Cartographer: Nicholas Sanson (1600 - 1667) and his descendants were important French cartographers active throughout the 17th century. Sanson started his career as a historian where, it is said, he turned to cartography as a way to illustrate his historical studies. In the course of his research some of his fine maps came to the attention of King Louis XIII who, admiring the quality of his work, appointed Sanson "Geographe Ordinaire du Roi". Sanson's duties in this coved position included advising the King on matters of geography and compiling the royal cartographic archive. In 1644 he partnered with Pierre Mariette, an established print dealer and engraver, whose business savvy and ready capital enabled Sanson to publish an enormous quantity of maps. Sanson's corpus of some three hundred maps initiated the golden age of French mapmaking and he is considered the "Father of French Cartography". His work is distinguished as being the first of the "Positive Geographers", a primarily French school of cartography that valued scientific observation over historical cartographic conventions. Sanson is most admired for his construction of the magnificent atlas Cartes Generales de Toutes les Parties du Monde. Sanson's maps of North America, Amerique Septentrionale (1650) and La Canada ou Nouvelle France (1656) are exceptionally notable for their important contributions to the cartographic perceptions of the New World. Both maps utilize the discoveries of important French missionaries and are among the first published maps to show the Great Lakes in recognizable form. Sanson was also an active proponent of the insular California theory, wherein it was speculated that California was an island rather than a peninsula. After his death, Sanson's maps were frequently republished, without updates, by his sons, Guillaume (? - 1703) and Adrien Sanson (? - 1708). However, Sanson's true cartographic legacy as a "positive geographer" was carried on by others, including A. H. Jaillot, Guillaume De L'Isle, Gilles Robert de Vaugondy, and Pierre Duval. Click here for a list of rare maps from Nicholas Sanson.
Size: Printed area measures 10 x 8 inches (25.4 x 20.32 centimeters)
Condition: Very good condition. Overall toning. Wide clean margins. Crisp dark impression.
Printable Info Sheet
Code: India-sanson-1652 (to order by phone call: 646-320-8650)