The Kingdome of China...- #2226


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Click HERE to view the map in its frame.

DATE: c1727

MAP MAKER: John Speed.

SIZE: 20 1/16" X 15 7/16".

PRICE: $6000.00

 

John Speed; 1552 - 1629.

Speed followed in the footsteps of his father and took over his tailor practice in London.
Married, with eighteen children, he was always fascinated by history and geography and was an amateur map maker.
He turned his attention to professional cartography in the early 1600's. On the basis of the works of Sexton and Norden, he produced in 1610 the "Theater of the empire of great Britaine".
In 1627 he attained fame when publishing the first atlas ever made by an Englishman: "A prospect of the most famous parts of the world". The maps were engraved in Amsterdam by Jodocus Hondius (or by Pieter van den Keere for the miniature version), and printed in London by George Humble. Further issues were published by successive printers till 1695 (some maps being recycled in other composite atlases till 1770!)

 

The Kingdome of China..

This large (20 1/16' X 15 7/16") was originally designed in 1626 as shown in the cartouche, and was first issued in 1627.
The present item was printed for the 1631 issue of "Prospect".
This magnificent "carte figures" has three decorated borders:
- top: two vignettes showing chinese sail carts and the crucifixion of a condemned man, two bird eye views showing the trading towns of Macao and Qingdao in Shandong province (strongly inspired by the engravings of Theodore de Bry in his 1598 "Petits voyages").
- sides: eight natives counting four chinese civilians, two japanese samurais, and a couple from the Siam area.
Notice that Japan has only three main islands instead of four, Korea is an island, Taiwan is a group of three islands, .and the poor rendition of mountain ranges, fantasy lakes and interconnecting rivers demonstrating the great ignorance of the European for the inland geography.
Notice also the flood lake where only one child survived sitting on a floating tree trunk.
But the most fascinating details are in the write ups, one alluding to mirages (affecting Belgians?) in the Gobi desert, and another describing an asbestos mine (.ye clothe thereof being cast into ye fire is not burned).
English text on verso.

 

 

 

 

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