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1719 Homann and Weigel Map of Asia

Nova Asiae Tabula e majori in minorem hanc formam reducta a Ioh. Bapt. Homann excudente Christophero Weigelio Noribergae. - Main View

1719 Homann and Weigel Map of Asia


Scarce early map of Asia offering a speculative Hokkaido.


Nova Asiae Tabula e majori in minorem hanc formam reducta a Ioh. Bapt. Homann excudente Christophero Weigelio Noribergae.
  1719 (undated)     11 x 14 in (27.94 x 35.56 cm)     1 : 27500000


A scarce 1719 Christopher Weigel and J. B. Homann map of Asia. Based upon an earlier map of J. B. Homan, this Weigel reduction covers all of Asia from the Black Sea to Japan and from Nova Zembla to New Guinea. There is an elaborate allegorical title cartouche in the lower left quadrant illustrating several men bowing to an Asiatic monarch. A leopard surmounts the title area.

Cartographically there is much of interest, particularly in East Asia, which at the time was largely unknown to European cartographers. Japan is attached to Hokkaido, here labeled Yedso, which is itself much larger than a malformed but somewhat recognizable Honshu. Just to the east of Yedso (Hokkaido), Homann maps the apocryphal Compagnie Landt. Often called de Gamma Land or Gama, these islands were supposedly discovered in the 17th century by a mysterious Spanish navigator known as Jean de Gama. Various subsequent navigators claim to have seen this land, including Maerten de Vries and Cornelis Jansz Coen, but it was left to Bering to finally debunk the myth. In 1729, he sailed for three days looking for Juan de Gama land but never found it. Thought it may be little more than a mis-mapping of Hokkaido or the Japanese Kuriles, Gama or Compagnie remained on maps for about 50 years following Bering's voyages until the explorations of Cook confirmed the Bering findings.

Korea is labeled and appears in a vaguely identifiable peninsular form. New Guinea is only tentatively rendered suggesting its laregley unexplored shores. In the far north, beyond Japan, Asia is truncated indicating that Siberia remained at this point fully unknown. Near the center of the map the Capsian Sea (Mare Caspium) appears in circular form according to the 13th century Kurdish geographer Abu'l Fida.

This map was reduced and revised from Homann's original by Christopher Weigel for inclusion in Johann David Kohler's 1719 Schuul und Reisen Atlas.


Christoph Weigel (November 9, 1654 - February 5, 1725) was a German goldsmith, printer, and engraver based in Nuremburg. Weigel apprenticed in engraving in the publishing center of Augsburg after which he held various positions in Vienna and Frankfurt. Eventually Weigel worked his way to 18th century printing Mecca of Nuremburg where, in 1698, he became a citizen of the city and established his own firm. Weigel is known to have worked closely with the most prominent of the Nuremburg map publishers J. B. Homann as well as with with his brother Johann Christoph Weigel (1654 - 1726) and the printer, Kohler. Following Weigel's passing in 1725, control of the firm passed to his widow, who published a number of Weigel's maps and atlases posthumously. The widow Weigel eventually ceded control of the firm to her son, Johann Christoph Weigel the younger (?? - 1746) who partnered with Schneider to publish as Schneider-Weigel. The Schneider-Weigel firm continued to publish until the early 19th century. More by this mapmaker...

Johann Baptist Homann (March 20, 1664 - July 1, 1724) was the most prominent and prolific map publisher of the 18th century. Homann was born in Oberkammlach, a small town near Kammlach, Bavaria, Germany. As a young man, Homann studied in a Jesuit school and nursed ambitions of becoming a Dominican priest. Nonetheless, he converted to Protestantism in 1687, when he was 23. It is not clear where he mastered engraving, but we believe it may have been in Amsterdam. Homann's earliest work we have identified is about 1689, and already exhibits a high degree of mastery. Around 1691, Homann moved to Nuremberg and registered as a notary. By this time, he was already making maps, and very good ones at that. He produced a map of the environs of Nürnberg in 1691/92, which suggests he was already a master engraver. Around 1693, Homann briefly relocated to Vienna, where he lived and studied printing and copper plate engraving until 1695. Until 1702, he worked in Nuremberg in the map trade under Jacob von Sandrart (1630 - 1708) and then David Funck (1642 - 1709). Afterward, he returned to Nuremberg, where, in 1702, he founded the commercial publishing firm that would bear his name. In the next five years, Homann produced hundreds of maps and developed a distinctive style characterized by heavy, detailed engraving, elaborate allegorical cartouche work, and vivid hand color. Due to the lower cost of printing in Germany, the Homann firm could undercut the dominant French and Dutch publishing houses while matching their diversity and quality. By 1715, Homann's rising star caught the attention of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, who appointed him Imperial Cartographer. In the same year, he was also appointed a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Berlin. Homann's prestigious title came with several significant advantages, including access to the most up-to-date cartographic information as well as the 'Privilege'. The Privilege was a type of early copyright offered to very few by the Holy Roman Emperor. Though less sophisticated than modern copyright legislation, the Privilege offered limited protection for several years. Most all J. B. Homann maps printed between 1715 and 1730 bear the inscription 'Cum Priviligio' or some variation. Following Homann's death in 1724, the firm's management passed to his son, Johann Christoph Homann (1703 - 1730). J. C. Homann, perhaps realizing that he would not long survive his father, stipulated in his will that the company would be inherited by his two head managers, Johann Georg Ebersberger (1695 - 1760) and Johann Michael Franz (1700 - 1761), and that it would publish only under the name 'Homann Heirs'. This designation, in various forms (Homannsche Heirs, Heritiers de Homann, Lat Homannianos Herod, Homannschen Erben, etc.) appears on maps from about 1731 onwards. The firm continued to publish maps in ever-diminishing quantities until the death of its last owner, Christoph Franz Fembo (1781 - 1848). Learn More...


Kohler, J. D., Schul und Reisen Atlas aller zu Erlenung der alten…, 1719.    


Very good. A view minor reinforcements to margin on verso. Original centerfold exhibits some wear. Plate mark visible.