Leen Helmink Antique Maps & Atlases


Ramusio / Gastaldi - Sumatra

Certificate of Authentication

This is to certify that the item illustrated and described below is a genuine and
original antique map or print that was published on or near the given date.

Dr Leendert Helmink, Ph.D.

Antique map of Sumatra by Ramusio / Gastaldi

Giovanni Ramusio

First Published

Venice, 1556

This edition

1556 first edition


27.0 x 36.5 cms



Stock number





Very early and rare woodcut map of Sumatra by Giacomo Gastaldi, published by Giovanni Battista Ramusio in Volume III of his 'delle Navigationi et Viaggi', the best early compilation on the history of exploration. South ('ostro') is situated at the top of the map. The map is based on French and Portuguese sources.

The map is embellished with pictures of animals, natives, sailing ships, etc. According to Ramusio in his foreword, the maps were made by his friend Giacomo Gastaldi, one of the greatest cartographers of all times.

Giovanni Baptista Ramusio (1485-1557)

Ramusio is the first overview work of voyages of discovery. It was first published in 1550 (Volume 1, but not with maps until 1554), 1559 (Volume 2) and 1557 (Volume 3). All were published in Venice.

"Though he himself traveled little, Ramusio published Navigationi et Viaggi ("Navigations and Travels"); a collection of explorers' first-hand accounts of their travels. This was the first work of its kind. "Delle navigationi et viaggi" (Navigations and Travels) is a collection of explorer's first-hand accounts of their travels. It was the first work of its kind. It included the accounts of Marco Polo, Niccolò Da Conti, Magellan, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca and Giosafat Barbaro, as well as the Descrittione dell’ Africa. The description of China contains the first reference in European literature to tea. He also published an excerpt of Tomé Pires' work on the Indies, which had come into his hands, though he did not know the name of its author. The first volume was published in 1550, quickly followed by the third volume in 1556. Publication of the second volume was delayed because the manuscript had been destroyed in a fire before being sent to the printer, and was finally published in 1559, two years after its compiler's death. Navigationi et Viaggi was translated into several languages and reprinted a number of times, indicating how popular such books were becoming on the Continent. It paved the way for a slew of other such works, including those of Richard Hakluyt."