1645 Blaeu Map of Northeast Asia: Siberia, Mongolia, Tartary, China, Central Asia

Tartaria sive Magni Chami Imperium.

1645 Blaeu Map of Northeast Asia: Siberia, Mongolia, Tartary, China, Central Asia


Speculative early map of Siberia based upon the journals of Marco Polo.

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Tartaria sive Magni Chami Imperium.
  1645 (undated)    15.5 x 20 in (39.37 x 50.8 cm)     1 : 19232000


A fine c. 1645 map of northeast Asia (Siberia or Tartary) by J. Blaeu. The map covers from the Caspian Sea and the Volga River east as far as the China Sea and the city of Xanadu. It extends north to Nova Zembla and south to the Upper Ganges River. When Blaeu drew this map this part of the world was almost entirely unknown. Blaeu relied on the journals of Marco Polo to compile most of the map. Devils and dragons frolic in the Lop Nor and far to the north the summer seat of Kublai Khan's Yuan Empire Xanadu (Shangdu) is noted. The Great Wall of China appears prominently. Further west, the Geography becomes more stable with recognizable Silk Route centers such as Samarkand clearly identified. The title is set into a saddle blanket on the back of a dromedary. Mountains and forests are rendered pictorially. This map is distinguished from Jansson's very similar map by Blaeu's inclusion of degrees of longitude along the borders and meridians crossing the map. Issued in the 1645 German language edition of Blaeu's Atlas Major.


The Blaeu Family (fl. 1596 - 1672). The Amsterdam based Blaeu clan represents the single most important family in the history of cartography. The firm was founded in 1596 by Willem Janzoon Blaeu (1571-1638). It was in this initial period, from 1596 to 1672, under the leadership of the Willem Blaeu and with this assistance of his two talented sons Cornelius (1616-1648) and Johannis (1596-1673), that the firm was most active. Their greatest cartographic achievement was the publication of the magnificent multi-volume Atlas Major. To this day, the Atlas Major represents one of the finest moments in cartography. The vast scope, staggering attention to detail, historical importance, and unparalleled beauty of this great work redefined the field of cartography in ways that have endured well into to the modern era. The cartographic works of the Blaeu firm are the crowning glory of the Dutch Golden Age of Cartography. The firm shut down in 1672 when their offices were destroyed during the Great Amsterdam Fire. The fire also destroyed nearly all of Blaeu's original printing plates and records, an incomparable loss to the history of cartography.


Blaeu, W., Atlas Major, (Amsterdam) Germany Edition, 1645.    


Very good. Back with fine japanese tissue. German text on verso. Minor discoloration upper left quadrant.


Koeman/V.d.Krogt, Atlantes Neerlandici, Vol.2, 112.2. OCLC: 224308027.