Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Antique map of China by de Bry

Stock number: 19419

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Theodore de Bry (biography)


Descriptio Chorographica Regni Chinae

First Published

Frankfurt, 1628

This Edition

1628 first and only edition


30.4 x 34.9 cms


very good


Theodor de Bry's unobtainable map of China, posthumously published by his heirs in 1628 in the Petits Voyages.

The map is based on Samuel Purchas' 1625 map of China, but an order of magnitudes rarer than the Purchas, and lacking in nearly all collections.

From Part XII of de Bry's Petits Voyasges: Orientalische Indien. Das ist, Auszführliche, und volkommene Historische, und Geographische Beschreibung Aller, und jeden Schifffahrten, und Reysen ... in underschiedtIiche Königreich, Insuln, und Provintzien der Orientalischen Indien vorgenommen und verrichtet worden. [Little Voyages. India, parts I-XIII, in German]. Frankfurt: Frankfurt: Caspar Rötel for Wilhelm Fitzer, 1628.

The Little Voyages are an extremely rare description in German of 16th-century European exploration of Africa, the Middle East and South and East Asia, generally referred to as the Petits Voyages. The first portion is an abridgement of parts I-XI that were published separately, with the second and third portions of the text, comprising parts XII and XIII respectively, added to complete the volume. It contains several important points of interest, such as the rarely found map of China, entitled Descriptio Chorographica Regni Chinae [Huang Ming yi tong fang yu bei lan]. This was based on a map published in Samuel Purchas' Purchas his Pilgrimes (London, 1625) and published in part XII of the Petits Voyages.

The Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci is portrayed in the western margin, while the lower corners contain vignettes of male and female Chinese costume.

Very rare at auction. According to ABPC/RBH, only one copy of the Little Voyagees has sold at auction; Christie's sold part XII only in 2008, lacking the map of China.



Horizontal split through title carefully restor3ed, with no loss. Strong and even imprint of the copperplate. Margins all around. A good copy of a seminal map that lacks in all collections.

Theodore de Bry (c.1527-1598)

De Bry was an engraver, bookseller and publisher, active in Frankfurt-am-Main, who is known to have engraved a number of charts in Waghenaer’s The Mariners Mirrour published in London in 1588. In that same year, also in London, an account was published by Thomas Hariot, illustrated by the artist John White, describing Raleigh's abortive attempt to found a colony in Virginia, and this was to be the inspiration for de Bry's major work, the series of Grands Voyages and Petits Voyages. In all, 54 parts of these two works were issued containing very fine illustrations and beautiful, and now very rare, maps, much sought after by collectors.

(Moreland and Bannister)