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1628 Jodocus Hondius Map of Asia

Asiae Nova Descriptio Auctore Jodoco Hondio. - Main View

1628 Jodocus Hondius Map of Asia


Beautiful, Original Color Example of an Early Dutch Map of Asia


Asiae Nova Descriptio Auctore Jodoco Hondio.
  1628 (undated)     14.75 x 19.75 in (37.465 x 50.165 cm)     1 : 28571400


This is a 1628 Hondius map of Asia in lovely original color. The map extends across the Pacific to include New Guinea, the Philippines, and part of North America. While the interior still contains place names and geographical features that would have been familiar to Strabo, Ptolemy and Marco Polo, the coastline of Asia is filled with contemporary detail. The coastline of the subcontinent shows access to the best Dutch cartography of the late 16th century. Japan and Korea appear as they do on Ortelius' 1584 map of Japan, with Korea shown as a large island. The map shows part of North America across the mythical 'Strait of Anian*'The southeast portion of the map includes Sumatra, a recognizable Malay Peninsula, and a reasonably well-informed treatment of the Philippines and the Spice Islands. New Guinea appears with a Latin note stating 'whether it is an island or part of a southern continent is not yet evident.' In the north, the Barentz's discoveries for the Dutch in and around Nova Zemla are noted and dated.
Taking up Mercator's Labor
In 1604, Hondius acquired the plates from Gerard Mercator's Atlas, and set about reviewing and revising them for publication in new editions of the work. While some of the maps were changed but little, this was among the maps that Hondius completely replaced in 1606. There was good reason to replace the map. Mercator's map was out of date when it hit the press: his treatment of China and Japan had been rendered obsolete by Ortelius' maps of those areas printed in the 1580s. Moreover, since the completion of Mercator's work, Jan Van Linschoten's Itinerario had been published with its new, vastly improved charts of the subcontinent and of Southeast Asia. Hondius' map incorporates the China/Japan cartography of Ortelius as well as the state-of-the-art geographical information derived from Linschoten to produce a map which would not be substantially improved upon until the end of the 17th century. Aesthetically, is a superb example of Hondius' work, characterized by an elegant strapwork cartouche, delicate hachure for water areas, four ships and five sea monsters.

*That there would eventually be found, by Bering, an actual strait in that rough location does not make the Strait of Anian any less mythical. In spite of it showing up on maps for more than a century, Europeans really had no actual idea what was going on up there.
Publication History and Census
This map appeared first in 1606, and was included in subsequent editions of the Hondius atlas until it was replaced by Henry Hondius' map in around 1630. There were four French text editions of the atlas, in the fourth of which this map was included. The separate map appears in 10 institutional collections.


Gerard Mercator (March 5, 1512 - December 2, 1594) is a seminal figure in the history of cartography. Mercator was born near Antwerp as Gerard de Cremere in Rupelmonde. He studied Latin, mathematics, and religion in Rupelmonde before his Uncle, Gisbert, a priest, arranged for him to be sent to Hertogenbosch to study under the Brothers of the Common Life. There he was taught by the celebrated Dutch humanist Georgius Macropedius (Joris van Lanckvelt; April 1487 - July 1558). It was there that he changed him name, adapting the Latin term for 'Merchant', that is 'Mercator'. He went on to study at the University of Louvain. After some time, he left Louvain to travel extensively, but returned in 1534 to study mathematics under Gemma Frisius (1508 - 1555). He produced his first world map in 1538 - notable as being the first to represent North America stretching from the Arctic to the southern polar regions. This impressive work earned him the patronage of the Emperor Charles V, for whom along with Van der Heyden and Gemma Frisius, he constructed a terrestrial globe. He then produced an important 1541 globe - the first to offer rhumb lines. Despite growing fame and imperial patronage, Mercator was accused of heresy and in 1552. His accusations were partially due to his Protestant faith, and partly due to his travels, which aroused suspicion. After being released from prison with the support of the University of Louvain, he resumed his cartographic work. It was during this period that he became a close fried to English polymath John Dee (1527 - 1609), who arrived in Louvain in 1548, and with whom Mercator maintained a lifelong correspondence. In 1552, Mercator set himself up as a cartographer in Duisburg and began work on his revised edition of Ptolemy's Geographia. He also taught mathematics in Duisburg from 1559 to 1562. In 1564, he became the Court Cosmographer to Duke Wilhelm of Cleve. During this period, he began to perfect the novel projection for which he is best remembered. The 'Mercator Projection' was first used in 1569 for a massive world map on 18 sheets. On May 5, 1590 Mercator had a stroke which left him paralyzed on his left side. He slowly recovered but suffered frustration at his inability to continue making maps. By 1592, he recovered enough that he was able to work again but by that time he was losing his vision. He had a second stroke near the end of 1593, after which he briefly lost speech. He recovered some power of speech before a third stroke marked his end. Following Mercator's death his descendants, particularly his youngest son Rumold (1541 - December 31, 1599) completed many of his maps and in 1595, published his Atlas. Nonetheless, lacking their father's drive and genius, the firm but languished under heavy competition from Abraham Ortelius. It was not until Mercator's plates were purchased and republished (Mercator / Hondius) by Henricus Hondius II (1597 - 1651) and Jan Jansson (1588 - 1664) that his position as the preeminent cartographer of the age was re-established. More by this mapmaker...

Jodocus Hondius (October, 14 1563 - February 12, 1612) was an important Dutch cartographer active in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His common name, Jodocus Hondius is actually a Latinized version of his Dutch name, Joost de Hondt. He is also sometimes referred to as Jodocus Hondius the Elder to distinguish him from his sons. Hondius was a Flemish artist, engraver, and cartographer. He is best known for his early maps of the New World and Europe, for re-establishing the reputation of the work of Gerard Mercator, and for his portraits of Francis Drake. Hondius was born and raised in Ghent. In his early years he established himself as an engraver, instrument maker and globe maker. In 1584 he moved to London to escape religious difficulties in Flanders. During his stay in England, Hondius was instrumental in publicizing the work of Francis Drake, who had made a circumnavigation of the world in the late 1570s. In particular, in 1589 Hondius produced a now famous map of the cove of New Albion, where Drake briefly established a settlement on the west coast of North America. Hondius' map was based on journal and eyewitness accounts of the trip and has long fueled speculation about the precise location of Drake's landing, which has not yet been firmly established by historians. Hondius is also thought to be the artist of several well-known portraits of Drake that are now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. In 1593, Hondius returned to Amsterdam, where he remained until the end of his life. In 1604, he purchased the plates of Gerard Mercator's Atlas from Mercator's grandson. Mercator's work had languished in comparison to the rival atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum by Ortelius. Hondius republished Mercator's work with 36 additional maps, including several which he himself produced. Despite the addition of his own contributions, Hondius recognizing the prestige of Mercator's name, gave Mercator full credit as the author of the work, listing himself as the publisher. Hondius' new edition of Mercator revived the great cartographer's reputation and was a great success, selling out after a year. Hondius later published a second edition, as well as a pocket version called the Atlas Minor. The maps have since become known as the "Mercator/Hondius series". Between 1605 and 1610 Hondius was employed by John Speed to engrave the plates for Speed's The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine. Following Hondius' death in 1612, his publishing work in Amsterdam was continued by his widow and two sons, Jodocus II and Henricus. Later his family formed a partnership with Jan Jansson, whose name appears on the Atlasas co-publisher after 1633. Eventually, starting with the first 1606 edition in Latin, about 50 editions of the Atlas were released in the main European languages. In the Islamic world, the atlas was partially translated by the Turkish scholar Katip Çelebi. The series is sometimes called the 'Mercator/Hondius/Jansson' series because of Jansson's later contributions. Hondius' is also credited with a number of important cartographic innovations including the introduction of decorative map borders and contributions to the evolution of 17th century Dutch wall maps. The work of Hondius was essential to the establishment Amsterdam as the center of cartography in Europe in the 17th century. Learn More...


Hondius, J. Gerardi Mercatoris Atlas sive cosmographicæ meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura. (Amsterdam, Hondius) 1628    


Good. Toned overall. Marginal mends. Mend at juncture of folds with slight loss.


OCLC: 159849992