1682 Cantelli-Rossi Map of China, Japan and Korea

Il Regno Della China detto presentemente Catay e Mangin diviso sopra le Carte piú esatte sue Principali Provincie. - Main View

1682 Cantelli-Rossi Map of China, Japan and Korea


Scarce and Elegantly-Engraved Map of the Far East.


Il Regno Della China detto presentemente Catay e Mangin diviso sopra le Carte piú esatte sue Principali Provincie.
  1682 (dated)     17 x 21.25 in (43.18 x 53.975 cm)     1 : 9200000


This is a rare 1682 Cantelli da Vignola map of China, Japan and Korea, presenting a striking and up-to-date view of the Far East benefitting from Jesuit and Dutch reports. Its framework and outline are derived from the 1552 Martino Martini map produced by Blaeu, but this map is significantly updated, at least in part, from the reports of the Jesuits Bento de Góis and Johann Grueber.
The Land Route from Agra to China
Bento de Góis (1562-1607) was the first known European to travel from India to China, having done so via Afghanistan - his goal being to determine whether Marco Polo's 'Cathay' and 'China' were the same place. (They were.) His journey - incognito, in the guise of an Armenian trader - took him from Agra (1602) to Kabul. From there, he crossed the Hindu Kush and the Pamirs, reaching Yarkand, the capital of Kashgaria in 1603. Kashgaria appears in the upper left part of this map as 'Cascar;' Yarkand here is spelled 'Hiarcan.' From there, de Góis joined a jade caravan heading to Beijing: the stops along that route, including the fortified city of Cialis, appear on this map. His caravan crossed the great wall at Jiayuguan (Chiaicuon) moving on to Suzhou (Sucieu) near the end of 1605. Unfortunately, Ming authorities prevented de Góis from approaching any closer to Beijing. His efforts to contact his fellow Jesuit Matteo Ricci, then in Beijing, failed until 1606. Ricci sent Giovanni Fernandes to rescue their brother, but 1607 found de Góis dying 11 days after Fernandes's arrival.

It is puzzling that this data does not appear on the Martini map: some of the place names relating to de Góis' journey appear as early as 1626 on Speed's map of China (which otherwise owes more to Ortelius and Hondius than any other source.) Its inclusion here may be due to the success of a later overland journey going the other direction - perhaps Bento de Góis' 1602 voyage provided the germ for a later journey recorded on this map.
The Land Route from China to Agra
In 1661, well after the publication of Martino Martini's maps, another Jesuit - Johann Grueber, a professor of mathematics active at the court of Beijing - was tasked to travel to Rome. The journey could not be done by sea, due to the Dutch blockade of Macau. Consequently, Grueber decided to attempt traveling first to Goa overland via Tibet and Nepal. It is hard to imagine that Grueber, a Jesuit active in China, would have been unaware of the efforts of de Góis, filling as they did all the requirements of a good martyrdom tale. The journey passed through Sinning-fu (Sining); thence through the Kokonor region to Lhasa (Lassa). They crossed the difficult mountain passes of the Himalayas, arrived at Kathmandu, Nepal, and thence descended into the basin of the Ganges, and to Agra. Grueber carried on overland through Persia and Turkey, reaching Rome in 1664. While de Góis's journey met largely with disaster, Grueber's successful trek provided the first detailed report of a practicable land route between Europe and China.
Among the details deriving from Grueber' travels is the massive lake named 'Kokonor ó Mar grande.' This 'Great Sea' is the Qinghai Lake, which is the largest lake in China. This endoheric lake is fed by about twenty-three rivers, and empties into none. On the map, Kokonor is fed by a 'Toktokay' river, and feeds into the Hoang, that is to say the Yellow River. (in reality, Qinghai did once empty into the Huang He: about 150,000 years ago, well before the publication of the present map.)
The Blaeu/Martini map's treatment of Japan is very different from what Cantelli offers here. The basic outline of Honshu and the southwestern islands is similar, but the present map is much better as regards city names and placement than Martini. Also, where Martini displays the proto-Hokkaido land of 'Ieso' and a largely featureless mainland beyond it, the Cantelli/Rossi reveals a peninsular Tartari di Yupi at least in part informed by a 1643 journey by the Dutch.
No Cities of Gold
16th century Spanish legend hinted at islands east of Japan so saturated in gold and silver that the inhabitants even built their homes out of it. Naturally, the idea inspired at least two expeditions to the region. Anthony Van Diemen sent Abel Tasman and Matthijs Hendricksz Quast in 1639 to find it (he made it to Taiwan and Nagasaki's Dejima Island, but found no gold houses.) A 1643 expedition led by Maerten de Vries and Cornelis Jansz Coen also failed to find cities of silver: It did, nonetheless have a profound and long-lasting cartographic influence. The Japanese coast from Yokohama Bay all the way north along Honshu has been improved substantially over the Martini; beyond the Strait of Zungar (Tsuagaru Kaikyo), De Vries's cartography reveals part of the coast of Hokkaido, a Cape of Aniva, Cape of Patience, as well as one of the Kuril Islands (Isola di Stati corresponds with Kunashir) and beyond it the Strait of de Vries. After passing through the strait, De Vries sailed westward, charting the fork-like peninsulas of southern Sakhalin, but missing the strait that separated them from Hokkaido - leading to the peninsular form shown here. From here they again sailed south into more known waters. De Vries and Coen were the first Europeans to enter these waters, which were in fact little known even to the Japanese. They made early contact with the indigenous Ainu people of Hokkaido, whose silver-hilted daggers must have been tantalizing.

De Vries and Coen were the first to discover the Kuril Islands, and were also the first European navigators to discover Sakhalin and map its southern coastline.
Though far too narrow - an error shared by Martini - Korea is shown as a peninsula. It appears significantly longer than on the Martini, despite its place names deriving exclusively from that map. The Yalu River is named (Yalo) and its mouth is correctly positioned. Its course here runs sharply northwards to its source in an imaginary lake, situated amidst the land of the (Tartari del Kin ó dell' Oro). A further note in Italian marks these Tatars as 'those that occupied, and now reign in China.' Thus we can understand that 'Kin' should read 'Qing.' The word also translates to 'gold,' leading to the map's translation of the word to 'Oro.'
A Beautiful and Distinctive Engraving
Cantelli’s maps, notably their cartouches, were some of the most attractively engraved of the later 17th century. Coronelli’s more celebrated though later maps were clearly influenced in their engraving style by Cantelli, or properly speaking by Cantelli and Rossi's engraver, Giorgio Widman. The map's superb baroque cartouche is flanked by plump mer-men and overflowing cornucopiae, while surmounted by a silk-robed and mustachioed eastern potentate.
Publication History and Census
This map is rare. It was engraved by Giorgio Widman in Rome for inclusion in the Cantelli-Rossi Mercurio Geografico of 1682, which was produced in one edition. It has appeared on the market only a handful of times in the past twenty years. We see no separate, physical examples of this map in OCLC. The Mercurio Geografico is catalogued only at Oxford, Yale, and the Clements.


Giacomo Cantelli da Vignola (February 22, 1643 - November 30, 1695) was an important Italian cartographer and engraver active in 17th century Italy. Cantelli was born in Montorsello, near Vignola Italy to a prominent local family. After studying literature at the University of Bologna, Cantelli took a position as secretary to the Marquis Obizzi de Ferrara. Eventually Cantelli relocated to Venice where developed an interest in cartography. He later traveled to Paris in the company of the French ambassador where became acquainted with the French cartographer Guillaume Sanson, as well as his contemporaries Jacques-Andre Duval and Michel-Antoin Baudrand. It was most likely the influence of these innovative French cartographers that inspired Cantelli's careful and meticulous approach, in which he based his cartography not just on earlier maps, but also very much in the French style upon accounts written by travelers and merchants regarding actual travel to foreign lands. Back in Italy, Cantelli took service Count Rinieri Marescotti, with whom he traveled extensively throughout Italy, becoming in the process acquainted with the Italian publisher Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi. It is with Rossi that Cantelli began officially publishing his maps. The earliest maps to bear the Cantelli-Rossi imprint date to 1672 and detail the Holy Land, Persia, and the Ottoman Empire. Around 1680 the duo also began to publish the Mercurio Geografico, a large format atlas illustrating all parts of the world in a splendid Italian baroque detail defined by elaborate finely engraved cartouche work, high quality paper, and bold Roman lettering, and dark rich inks. Some have compared his style go that of Giovanni Antonio Magini, another Italian cartographer of the previous generation. Cantelli da Vignola in fact pioneered the Italian style of fine bold engraving that would eventually be embraced and expanded upon by Vincenzo Coronelli. His work drew the attention of Pope Innocent XI and Reggio Francesco II d'Este, the Duke of Modena, both of whom offered him a position as court geographer. Cantelli chose to work with the Due of Modena, in the service of whom he produced numerous maps and well as two large globes. He died in Modena in November of 1695. More by this mapmaker...

Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi (1627 - 1691) was an Italian engraver and printer, active in Rome during the second half of the 17th century. His father, Giuseppe de Rossi (1570 - 1639), was the founder of the most important and active printing press of the 17th century in Rome. The printing press was begun in 1633, by Giuseppe de Rossi, and it passed firstly to Giovanni Giacomo and to his brother Giandomenico (1619 - 1653), and then later to Lorenzo Filippo (1682-?), then Domenico de Rossi (1659 - 1730). Giovanni Giacomo de Rossi was most active between 1638 and 1691 and was to take the company to the height of its success. The artists that he printed the etchings for included Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione (1609 - 1665), Pietro Testa (1612-1650), and Giovan Francesco Grimaldi (1606 – 1680). Cartographically he is best known for producing the maps of Giacomo Cantelli da Vignola and publishing them in his c. 1683 Mercurio Geografico. In 1738 the firm became the Calcografia Camerale, from 1870 until 1945 the Regia Calcografica, and today it is known as the Calcografia Nazionale. The Calcografia Nazionale holds is one of the finest collections of early printing plates and prints in the world. Learn More...

Martino Martini (September 20, 1614 - June 6, 1661) was an Italian Jesuit missionary, historian, and cartographer, working mainly on ancient Imperial China. He is acclaimed as the father of Chinese geographical science, as he was ‘the first to study the history and geography of China with rigorous scientific objectivity.' Born in Trento, in the Bishopric of Trent, he finished school in 1631. After, he entered the Society of Jesus and was sent to study classical letters and philosophy at the Roman College, Rome, from 1634 until 1637. He completed his theological studies in Portugal from 1637 until 1639 and was ordained as a priest in Lisbon in 1639. He left for China in 1640, arriving in 1642 in Portuguese Macau. He studied Chinese before, in 1642, moving to Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. He spent much of his time traveling and gathering scientific information, particularly concerning the geography. In April 1644, soon after his arrival in China, the Ming capital Beijing fell to Li Zicheng’s rebels and then to the Manchus. Martini had been allied with the short-lived regime of Zhu Yujian, Prince of Tang, who declared himself the (Southern) Ming Longwu Emperor after the fall of the last legitimate Ming, the Chongzhen Emperor. When Wenzhou, where Martini was on a mission for Zhu Yujian, was about to fall to the Manchus, Martini convinced them to allow him to change sides. Before the Manchu troops entered the city, Martini created a large red poster stating, 'Here lives a doctor of the divine Law who has come from the Great West.' Below the poster he arranged tables with European books, astronomical instruments, and other objects surrounding an altar with an image of Jesus. The commander of the Manchu troops was so impressed by the display that he politely asked Martini to change sides. In 1651, Martini left China as the Delegate of the Chinese Mission Superior. Among the works he brought with him was Lo Hongxian's (羅洪先; 1504 - 1564) 1555 revision of Zhu Siben's (朱思本;1273 - 1333) 1312 manuscript atlas of the Chinese Provinces, Guang Yu Tu (廣與圖; 'Enlarged Territorial Atlas'). En route, his ship was captured by the Dutch, who apparently also saw Martini's value: they took him first to Java, and then to Amsterdam, where he arrived in 1654. During this intervening period, Martini translated the Zhu Siben atlas into Latin, and added his own description of China. The Blaeu mapmaking firm swiftly published Martini's map as Novus Atlas Sinensis, and later published Martini's description of China both on its own and within the Blaeu Atlas. After his circuitous journey, he reached Rome in the spring of 1655. He carried with him a long and detailed communication from the Jesuit missionaries in China, defending the so-called Chinese Rights (veneration of ancestors and other practices allowed to new Christians). After five months of discussions and debates, the Propaganda Fide issued a degree in favor of the Jesuits, although the controversy did not abate. Learn More...


Cantielli da Vignola, G. Mercurio Geografico Rome, 1682.    


Very good. Upper margin extended and reinforced, not affecting printed image. original outline color.


Rumsey 11438.156.