This is an attractive and highly desirable c. 1752 map of Edo or Tokyo, Japan. Issued by Bellin and Schley for Prevost's Histoire Generale des Voyages, this map is cartographically based on a 1702 map of the same issued by Scheuchzer and Kaempfer, which itself is most likely based on Japanese maps. Centered on Edo Castle, this map depicts the whole of Edo as it existed, with numerous street shown but not named. Edo Castle itself is fancifully depicted as a French style formal garden. Possibly due to the cartographers inability to translate Japanese, the only three named locations on the map are Edo Castle, Japan Bridge, and the 'Faubourg de Sinagawa.' Here, in Sinagawa, the Tokugawa Shogunate maintained the Suzugamori Execution grounds where traitors to the state, criminals, and Christians were executed in an effort to contain 'spiritual pollution.' Drawn by N. Bellin and Schley for Abbe Prevost's Histoire Generale des Voyages.
Jacob Van der Schley (1715 - 1779) was a prominent Amsterdam engraver and draftsman based out of Amsterdam. Schley apprenticed under portrait engraver Bernard Picart, whose style he imitated. He is said to have completed several of Picart's portraits following his master's death. While Schley is primarily known for his work as a portraitist and illustrator, he also has a considerable cartographic corpus. He is known to have worked with Bellin, Hondt, and Provost, among others.
Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703 - March 21, 1772) was one of the most important cartographers of the 18th century. With a career spanning some 50 years, Bellin is best understood as geographe de cabinet and transitional mapmaker spanning the gap between 18th and early-19th century cartographic styles. His long career as Hydrographer and Ingénieur Hydrographe at the French Dépôt des cartes et plans de la Marine resulted in hundreds of high quality nautical charts of practically everywhere in the world. A true child of the Enlightenment Era, Bellin's work focuses on function and accuracy tending in the process to be less decorative than the earlier 17th and 18th century cartographic work. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Bellin was always careful to cite his references and his scholarly corpus consists of over 1400 articles on geography prepared for Diderot's Encyclopedie. Bellin, despite his extraordinary success, may not have enjoyed his work, which is described as "long, unpleasant, and hard." In addition to numerous maps and charts published during his lifetime, many of Bellin's maps were updated (or not) and published posthumously. He was succeeded as Ingénieur Hydrographe by his student, also a prolific and influential cartographer, Rigobert Bonne.
Provost, A. A., Prevost's Histoire Generale des Voyages, c. 1752.
Very good condition. Orignal fold lines visible but faint. Blank on verso.