Stock number: 18828
A fascinating and confused woodcut map of the South East Asia islands, by Laurent Fries after Germanus 1492, Behaim 1493, and Waldseemüller's 1507 wall map of the world.
It is the earliest modern map of South East Asia, first published almost 500 years ago.
The cartographic image is deduced entirely from the 13th century travel account of the Venetian Marco Polo, and many quotations from his book are placed all over the map.
A cannibal barbecue scene is shown at the lower right, the natives are wearing Medieval European clothes.
Laurent Fries (Laurentius Frisius), born in Mulhouse in Burgundy, travelled widely, studying as a physician and mathematician in Vienne, Padua, Montpellier and Colmar before settling in Strassburg. There he is first heard of working as a draughtsman on Peter Apian's highly decorative cordiform World Map, published in 1520. Apian’s map was based on Waldseemüller's map of 1507 which no doubt inspired Fries's interest in the Waldseemüller Ptolemy atlases of 1513 and 1520 and brought him into contact with the publisher, Johannes Grüninger. It is thought that Grüninger had acquired the woodcuts of the 1520 edition with the intention of producing a new version to be edited by Fries. Under his direction the maps were redrawn and although many of them were unchanged, except for size, others were embellished with historical notes and figures, legends and the occasional sea monster. Three new maps were added.
There were four editions of Fries' reduced sized re-issue of Waldseemüller's Ptolemy atlas:
1522 Strassburg: 50 woodcut maps, reduced in size, revised by Laurent Fries (Laurentius Frisius) and included the earliest map showing the name ‘America' which is likely to be available to collectors
1525 Strassburg: re-issue of 1522 maps
1535 Lyon: re-issue of 1522 maps, edited by Michael Servetus who was subsequently tried for heresy and burned at the stake in 1553, ostensibly because of derogatory comments in the atlas about the Holy Land – the fact that the notes in question had not even been written by Servetus, but were copied from earlier editions, left his Calvinist persecutors unmoved
1541 Vienne (Dauphiné): re-issue of the Lyon edition - the offensive comments about the Holy Land have been deleted
(Moreland and Bannister)