Carte des Indes et de la Chine.
1705 (dated) 25 x 26 in (63.5 x 66.04 cm)
1 : 10700000
An exceptional 1705 map of the East India Islands by Guillaume Delisle. Centered on China, Delisle’s map depicts from the Caspian Sea to the semi-mythical Terre de la Compagnie and India to New Guinea. Extraordinary detail is provided throughout, with topography rendered in profile and numerous geographical and political elements identified. The modern day nations of Japan, China, Korea, India, Indonesia, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines are included, among others.
The sea between Japan and Korea, whose name, either the 'Sea of Korea,' 'East Sea,' or the 'Sea of Japan,' is here identified as both 'Mer de Coree' (Sea of Korea) and 'Mer Orientale' (East Sea), Korea has used the term 'East Sea' since 59 B.C., and many books published before the Japanese annexed Korea make references to the 'East Sea' or 'Sea of Korea.' Over time, neighboring and western countries have identified Korea's East Sea using various different terms. The St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences referred to the East Sea as 'Koreiskoe Mope' or 'Sea of Korea' in their 1745 map of Asia. Other seventeenth and 18th century Russian maps alternate between 'Sea of Korea' and 'Eastern Ocean.' The late 18th century Russian and French explorers Adam Johan von Krusenstern and La Perouse called it the 'Sea of Japan,' a term that became popular worldwide. Nonetheless, the last official map published by the Russians name the East Sea the 'Sea of Korea.' The name is remains a matter of historical and political dispute between the two countries.
Hokkaido, or as it is mapped here, Yeco, is connected to the mainland of Asia, reflecting a common misunderstanding about this region that persisted until the late 18th century. Just to the northeast of Japan, separated from the mainland by the Detroit d'Uries, we find Terre de La Compagnie. Terre de la Compagnie, sometimes also called Gamma Land, is essentially an embryonic mapping of the Kuril Islands. These islands were discovered by Maerten de Vries and Cornelis Jansz Coen's 1643 VOC expedition to the region in search of Juan de Gama's land of gold and silver. Various subsequent navigators claim to have seen these lands, but it was left to Vitus Bering to finally debunk the myth. In 1729, Bering spent three days in the region looking Compagnie Island but never found it. These curious islands remained on maps for about 50 years following Bering's voyages until the explorations of Cook confirmed the his findings.
Delisle also notes the apocryphal Lake of Chiamay roughly in what is today Assam, India. Early cartographers postulated that such a lake must exist to source the four important Southeast Asian river systems: the Irrawaddy, the Dharla, the Chao Phraya, and the Brahmaputra. This lake began to appear in maps of Asia 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 also heavily discussed in the journals of Sven Hedin, who believed it to be associated with Indian legend that a sacred lake linked several of the holy subcontinent river systems. 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.
This map was issued by Guillaume Delisle in the 1705 edition of his Atlas de Geographie.
The De L'Isle family (fl. c. 1700 - c. 1760) (also written Delisle) were, in composite, a mapmaking tour de force who redefined early 18th century European cartography. Claude De L'Isle (1644 -1720), the family patriarch, was Paris based a historian and geographer under Nicholas Sanson. De L'Isle and his sons were proponents of the school of "positive geography" and were definitive figures, defining the heights of the Golden Age of French Cartography. Of his twelve sons, four, Guillaume (1675- 1726), Simon Claude (1675 - 1726), Joseph Nicholas (1688 - 1768) and Louis (1720 - 1745), made a significant contributions to cartography. Without a doubt Guillaume was the most remarkable member of the family. It is said that Guillaume's skill as a cartographer was so prodigious that he drew his first map at just nine years of age. He was tutored by J. D. Cassini in astronomy, science, mathematics and cartography. By applying these diverse disciplines to the vast stores of information provided by 18th century navigators, Guillaume created the technique that came to be known as "scientific cartography", essentially an extension of Sanson's "positive geography". This revolutionary approach transformed the field of cartography and created a more accurate picture of the world. Among Guillaume's many firsts are the first naming of Texas, the first correct map of the Mississippi, the final rejection of the insular California fallacy, and the first identification of the correct longitudes of America. Stylistically De L'Isle also initiated important changes to the medium, eschewing the flamboyant Dutch style of the previous century in favor of a highly detailed yet still decorative approach that yielded map both beautiful and informative. Guillaume was elected to the French Academie Royale des Sciences at 27. Later, in 1718, he was also appointed "Premier Geographe du Roi", an office created especially for him. De L'Isle personally financed the publication of most of his maps, hoping to make heavy royalties on their sales. Unfortunately he met an untimely death in 1728, leaving considerable debt and an impoverished child and widow. De L'Isle's publishing firm was taken over by his assistant, Phillipe Buache who became, posthumously, his son in law. The other De L'Isle brothers, Joseph Nicholas and Louis De L'Isle, were employed in the Service of Peter the Great of Russia as astronomers and surveyors. They are responsible for cataloguing and compiling the data obtained from Russian expeditions in the Pacific and along the northwest coast of America, including the seminal explorations of Vitus Bering and Aleksei Chirikov. The De L'Isles, like their rivals the Vaugondys , must be considered speculative geographers. Speculative geography was a genre of mapmaking that evolved in Europe, particularly Paris, in the middle to late 18th century. Cartographers in this genre would fill in unknown areas on their maps with speculations based upon their vast knowledge of cartography, personal geographical theories, and often dubious primary source material gathered by explorers and navigators. This approach, which attempted to use the known to validate the unknown, naturally engendered many rivalries. The era of speculatively cartography effectively ended with the late 18th century explorations of Captain Cook, Jean Francois de Galaup de La Perouse, and George Vancouver.
Delisle, G., Atlas de Geographie, (Paris), 1705.
Good. Minor wear along fold lines with verso repair at places. Top fold line exhibits toning and wear. Blank on verso.