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Lot 70: PLANCIUS, PETRUS. [The Spice Map.] Insulae Moluccae Celeberrimae Sunt ob Maximam Aromatum Copiam Quam Totum terrarum...

MAPS & ATLASES; NATURAL HISTORY; PLATE BOOKS

by Swann Auction Galleries

December 8, 2016

New York, NY, USA

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Description: PLANCIUS, PETRUS. [The Spice Map.] Insulae Moluccae Celeberrimae sunt ob Maximam aromatum copiam quam totum terrarum... Double-page engraved map of the islands of Southeast Asia. 16x21 1/2 inches sheet size; hand-colored; originally issued folding, now flat, right margin replaced, three small repaired tears right edge, left margin with some loss not affecting printed surface, narrow area of loss upper center reinstated with facsimile to part of a sea monster and ship mast. London: John Wolfe, 1598

Notes: The very rare English edition of Petrus Plancius''s map of the East Indies, engraved by Richard Beckit for Jan Huygen van Linschoten''s ''Discours of Voyages into ye Easte & West Indies''. Plancius was able to obtain secret Portuguese manuscript charts of the area upon which he based this map. The cartography improves upon earlier maps, offering much better delineation of the mainland and Moluccas, more accurate placement of islands and mostly correct nomenclature throughout. The publication of this map and the work of Linschoten led to the dissolving of Portuguese control of the spice trade in the Indies, opening the way for the Dutch to gain access to the lucrative commerce extending from the East. Images of the coveted exports of nutmeg, cloves and sandalwood appear conspicuously along the bottom of the map, lending a palpable air of excitement and promise to any contemporary merchant thirsting for potential wealth.

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