This is a 1706 Pieter Schenk map of the world in a double hemisphere projection, with the western hemisphere on the left and the eastern hemisphere on the right. Based on Carel Allard's map of 1696, this map, along with the Allard map, represent a noteworthy shift away from the traditional decorative margins populated by mythological figures and references toward a much more scientific appearance. Here we find only two small groups of cherubs placed in between the two largest hemispheres, with the decorative border replaced by eight smaller projections depicting the world from different angles and four even smaller diagrams.
Several intriguing aspects of cartography are present here, including California as an island and Terra Esonis, a vestige from the previous century believed to be a continuous land bridge from the semi-mythical Strait of Anian to Asia. It is also important to note the presence of the mythical Laguna de Xarayes and the fact that Australia, depicted in the lower right portion of the Eastern Hemisphere, is not complete. This incomplete depiction of Australia also appears in the smaller map in the upper left corner, and the map in the middle of series of five maps along the bottom border. In the latter two, New Zealand is illustrated and labeled, though only partially. It is also of note that no Great Southern Continent is included, as it was believed that the existence of a large southern continent was necessitated by Asia to balance the globe.
The idea of an insular California first appeared as a work of fiction in Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo's c. 1510 romance Las Sergas de Esplandian
, where he writes
Know, that on the right hand of the Indies there is an island called California very close to the side of the Terrestrial Paradise; and it is peopled by black women, without any man among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons.
Baja California was subsequently discovered in 1533 by Fortun Ximenez, who had been sent to the area by Hernan Cortez. When Cortez himself traveled to Baja, he must have had Montalvo's novel in mind, for he immediately claimed the 'Island of California' for the Spanish King. By the late 16th and early 17th century ample evidence had been amassed, through explorations of the region by Francisco de Ulloa, Hernando de Alarcon and others, that California was in fact a peninsula. However, by this time other factors were in play. Francis Drake had sailed north and claimed Nova Albion (identified here on the northwest coast of California Island) near modern day Washington or Vancouver for England. The Spanish thus needed to promote Cortez's claim on the 'Island of California' to preempt English claims on the western coast of North America. The significant influence of the Spanish crown on European cartographers, especially the important French house of Sanson, in the form of the presently offered map, caused a major resurgence of the Insular California theory.
The Laguna de Xarayes
The mythical Laguna de Xarayes is illustrated here as the northern terminus, or source, of the Paraguay River. The Xarayes, a corruption of 'Xaraies' meaning 'Masters of the River', were an indigenous people occupying what are today parts of Brazil's Matte Grosso and the Pantanal. When Spanish and Portuguese explorers first navigated up the Paraguay River, as always in search of El Dorado, they encountered the vast Pantanal flood plain at the height of its annual inundation. Understandably misinterpreting the flood plain as a gigantic inland sea, they named it after the local inhabitants, the Xaraies. The Laguna de los Xarayes almost immediately began to appear on early maps of the region and, at the same time, to take on a legendary quality. Later missionaries and chroniclers, particularly Díaz de Guzman, imagined an island in this lake and curiously identified it as an 'Island of Paradise,'
...an island [of the Paraguay River] more than ten leagues [56 km] long, two or three [11-16 km] wide. A very mild land rich in a thousand types of wild fruit, among them grapes, pears and olives: the Indians created plantations throughout, and throughout the year sow and reap with no difference in winter or summer, ... the Indians of that island are of good will and are friends to the Spaniards; Orejón they call them, and they have their ears pierced with wheels of wood ... which occupy the entire hole. They live in round houses, not as a village, but each apart though keep up with each other in much peace and friendship. They called of old this island Land of Paradise for its abundance and wonderful qualities.
This map was created by Pieter Schenk and published in 1706.
Petrus Schenk (Pieter Schenck) the Elder (December 26 1660 - 1711) was a Dutch engraver, globe maker, and map publisher active in Amsterdam and Leipzig in the latter half of the 17th century. Schenk, was born in Elberfield, Germany. He moved in Amsterdam in 1675, becoming the apprentice to Gerard Valk (Valck). In 1687, Schenk married Agatha Valk, Gerard Valk's sister and went into partnership with his brother-in-law under the imprint of 'Valk and Schenk'. Initially they focused on maps and atlases, acquiring the map plates of Jan Jansson and Jodocus Hondius in 1694. Later, in 1701 they moved into the former Hondius offices where they began producing globes. Valk and Schenk quickly became known for producing the best globes in the Netherlands, a business on which they held a near monopoly for nearly 50 years. Schenk's three sons, Pieter Schenk the Younger, Jan Schenk, and Leonard Schenk, all became engravers in their own right. Pieter Schenk the Younger inherited the business and ran his father's shop in Leipzig. His daughter, Maria Schenk, married Leonard Valk, the son of Gerard Valk, and continued to run the Valk and Schenk map engraving workshop in Amsterdam.
Very good. Even overall toning. Blank on verso.
OCLC 868300871. Shirley, Rodney W., The Mapping of the World: Early Printed World Maps 1472-1700, 578. Van der Krogt, P. C. J., Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, (3 Vols), vol III, p. 119 no. 6.