Nova Et Exacta Asiae Geographica Descriptio


    This spectacular wall map is one of only a handful in existence by Willem Janzoon Blaeu, the foremost Dutch cartographer of the 17th century.  Born in Alkmaar, Blaeu studied under Tycho Brahe and settled in Amsterdam, where he became a famous globemaker and publisher. He founded the Blaeu firm in 1596, and with the collaboration of his sons, Cornelius (1616-1648) and Joan (1596-1673), the firm was the most productive cartographic establishment in the Netherlands until it was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1672.  Blaeu published his first world atlas, the Atlantis Appendix, with 60 maps in 1630, and continued to produce new maps at such a rate that by 1634, he abandoned the single volume format and announced his intention to publish a new world atlas, entitled the Theatrum.  Appointed mapmaker to the Dutch East India Company in 1633-1634, Blaeu had access to fresh geographical information that was not available to any of his contemporaries, allowing for the unprecedented degree of accuracy of his maps.  The appeal of his maps, however, was hardly confined to their sophisticated geographical information, for they were also among the most beautiful cartographic works of the Golden Age of Dutch Mapping.  

    The most striking and rare examples of Blaeu’s work are his wall maps.  Most maps produced during this period were printed on one or two sheets, and bound into atlases or other books.  A very limited number of large wall maps, involving numerous plates to print a certain area, were produced by major cartographic houses for ostentatious public display.  The surviving number of these maps is exceedingly scarce.  As opposed to their bound, smaller brethren, these maps were mounted on canvas and exposed to light, dirt, and other environmental factors.  Considering these factors, this map of Asia is in remarkably good condition, and it is one of fewer than ten of Blaeu’s wall maps that remain in private hands.  It boasts one of Blaeu’s most recognizable decorative flourishes, with sixteen figurative side panels containing portraits of indigenous peoples, including the natives of China, Japan, and Sumatra, and twelve city views frame the bottom margin showing cities such as Macao and Jerusalem.  Blaeu’s distinctive decorative devices are in evidence throughout the map; in addition to the city views and portraits, the face of the map itself includes numerous renderings of sea monsters, sailing ships, and such fanciful details as Neptune accompanied by a mermaid.  The acclaim that Blaeu's maps receive is also based largely upon their extremely high production standards.  The quality of the engraving, the paper, and the printing are of the highest order, even more so in ambitious projects such as this.  This is a cartographic masterpiece by one of the most celebrated cartographers of the 17th century.


这件精美的地图出自17世纪最重要的荷兰制图师威廉·扬松·布劳(Willem Janzoon Blaeu),是目前极少数存世的威廉·布劳作品之一。威廉·布劳出生于荷兰阿尔克马尔(Alkmaar)市,曾跟随丹麦天文学家第谷·布拉赫(Tycho Brahe)进行学习和研究工作。后定居阿姆斯特丹,并成为著名的地理学家和出版家。1596年,威廉·布劳与他的两个儿子科尼利厄斯Cornelius (1616-1648) 和琼Joan (1596-1673) 合作成立了Blaeu公司。该公司曾是当时荷兰最多产的制图公司,直到1672年被一场大火所摧毁。

1630年,威廉·布劳出版了他的第一本世界地图集《亚特兰蒂斯附录》和60张地图,并持续以这种效率出版新地图。1634年,他决定不再以单卷形式出版地图,并宣布将出版一本名为the Theatrum 的全新世界地图集。1633年至1634年期间,威廉·布劳在荷兰东印度公司担任绘图师。这份工作让威廉·布劳得以接触许多同时代的人所无法获得的新地理信息,从而使其制作的地图达到了前所未有的精确度。