Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Antique map of China by Blaeu/Martini

Antique map of China by Blaeu/Martini
Cartographer

Blaeu/Martini

Title

Imperii SINARVM nova descriptio

Published

Amsterdam, 1655

Size

46 x 60 cms

Technique

Copper engraving

Stock number

18669

Condition

mint

Price

$ 3250

Description

Blaeu's handsome and accurate map of China and Japan after the Jesuit Martino Martini who travelled in inland China for seven years.

Joan Blaeu 1596-1673

Willem Janszoon Blaeu died in October 1638, leaving his prospering business to his sons, Joan and Cornelis, who continued and expanded their father's ambitious plans.

After the premature death of his brother Cornelis in 1642, Joan directed the work alone and the whole atlas series of 6 volumes was eventually completed about 1655. As soon as it was finished he began the preparation of the even larger work, the Atlas Maior, which reached publication in 1662 in 11 volumes (later editions in 9-12 volumes) and contained nearly 600 double-page maps and 3,000 pages of text. This was, and indeed remains, the most magnificent work of its kind ever produced; perhaps its geographical content was not as up-to-date or as accurate as its author could have wished, but any deficiencies in that direction were more than compensated for by the fine engraving and colouring, the elaborate cartouches and pictorial and heraldic detail and especially the splendid calligraphy.

In 1672 a disastrous fire destroyed Blaeu's printing house in the Gravenstraat and a year afterwards Joan Blaeu died. The firm's surviving stocks of plates and maps were gradually dispersed, some of the plates being bought by F. de Wit and Schenk and Valck, before final closure in about 1695.

(Moreland and Bannister)