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CA.1550 – S. Munster – Die länder Asie

Title:                     “Die länder Asie nach irer gelegenheit biss in Indiam werden in diser tafel verzeichnet”​


One of the first European maps of Asia. This map is based on the recent geographical discoveries by Portuguese navigators. The coast of China begins to emerge in recognizable form, although Japan is not shown yet. The outlines of the Indian subcontinent, between the Indus and the Ganges rivers begins to take a recognizable form, with “Zaylon” (Sri Lanka) correctly appearing as its own island. The Portuguese outpost of Goa and Calicut, the first place where Vasco da Gama landed in 1497, are depicted. Further to the east “Taprobana” (the name Ptolemy gave to Sri Lanka) is also designated as “Sumatra.”. On the adjacent Malay Peninsula is the important trading port of “Malaqua” (Malacca). Java is also portrayed, but is depicted as two separate islands. “Moloca” (The Moluccas), the Spice Islands that were a major point of contention between Spain and Portugal are shown. The resolution of the dispute was the official purpose of Magellan’s epic circumnavigation. The depiction of “Cathay” (China) is shown to be largely predicated on Venetian lore.

Map comes from the German edition of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmography, titled “Cosmographey oder beschreibung aller Länder”, published ca. 1550 by Heinrich Petri in Basel.

Cartographer:      Sebastian Munster​ (1488 – 1552)
Sheet size:         39,5 x 28,0 cm
Year:                    ca. 1550
Technique:           woodblock

Poor condition, but still looks very decorative. Professionally cleaned and restored, small part is missing. Recto and verso with contemporary handwritten annotations.

This is a genuine antique map published in ca. 1550 and not a modern copy or reprint!

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