Leen Helmink Antique Maps

Antique map of Japan, Korea by Acosta/Metellus

Stock number: 18675

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Iaponia Regnum

First Published

Cologne, 1598




Copper engraving




$ 4,500.00


From Acosta
"Geographische Und Historische Beschreibung Der Uberauss Grosser Landshafft America ... Cologne, 1598"
Republished in: Metellus Speculum Orbis Terrae ..., Cologne, 1600
Republished in: Metellus America, Sive Novvs Orbis ..., Cologne, 1600

Extremely rare and early map of Japan and Korea, published by Johannes Metellus.

"From Jos├® de Acosta's 'De Natura Nova Orbis' very rare map by Johannes Metellus, unlike the rest of the maps in the book, does not appear in a similar version in Cornelis Wytfliet's atlas of 1597.

It is, in fact, derived from the Abraham Ortelius 'Iaponia' of 1595 and is only the third printed map of Japan. Because it is a reduced version it loses some of the detail. The cartouches are placed in similar positions and like the other Metellus maps we find no latitude or longitude marks. The depictions of both Japan and New Guinea are also unchanged."


"The Wytfliet is known to have been produced in 1597, the Metellus, which is much rare and seldom available on the market, is usually dated 1598 but some scholars have argued the possibility that it may precede the Wytfliet. The Metellus is acknowledged as, by far, the finer engraving of the two, which, along with its rarity and importance, makes it a focal point of any collection of early American maps."

(After Casten).

"As with the Cornelis Wytfliet a year earlier this publication contained a set of maps relating to the Americas only.
All but one are derived from the Wytfliet. These were used
to illustrate the German edition of Jos├® de Acosta's 'De Natura Nova Orbis', first published in Salamanca, 1598. Acosta was a Spanish Jesuit missionary, historian and cosmographer.
The maps, however, are attributed to Johannes Matalius
Metellus (Jean Matal in his native French), a very well respected geographer of his day. In the 'America sive Novus Orbis' of 1600,
he is named as the cartographer of the maps but, most probably,
did not see their completion as he died in 1597. The work was finished by a friend, Meurer identifies him as Conrad Loew,
a pseudonym for Matthias Quad. Born in Burgundy, 1520,
Metellus spent much of his working life in Louvain where,
of course, the Wytfliet atlas was published. However, he spent
his last years in Cologne, dying in 1597. This leads us to the possibility thet the Metellus actually pre-dates the Wytfliet as
the first atlas concentrating on America. A number of questions
are posed. Is there an earlier edition still unknown, as all issues are extremely rare ? Is Metellus the true author of the Wytfliet maps ?

All issues have text on the back, and are extremely rare."

(Burden on the Conibas map)

Only a handful examples of the Metellus books are known,
see Burden 115 for a list of locations.

"Metellus is an obscure figure about whom little is known
except that he was born in Louvain, later being heard of in
Cologne where he was probably a publisher as well as a
cartographer. He compiled a set of maps of America
(with a World Map) very similar to those of Cornelis van
Wytfliet with which they are often confused. The maps by
Metellus are much rarer than those of Wytfliet."

(Moreland & Bannister).

"The second printed map devoted to the Pacific. Published in the German edition of Jos├® de Acosta's De Natura Nova Orbis. All other maps in the book are reduced versions of the Cornelis Wytfliet maps, this map however does not appear in a similair version.

Acosta was a Spanish Jesuit missionary, historian and cosmographer. The included maps, however, are attributed to Metellus. In the America sive Novis Orbis of 1600, he is named as the cartographer of the maps but, most probably, did not see their completation as he died in 1597.

This extremely rare map is a reduced version of the map by Ortelius. It has been suggested that the Metellus maps in fact precede the Wytfliet.
A map of great interest for the serious collector!"