Loading Spinner

Maps of Asia

When the New World was an empty outline of vague promise and Australia was still an unknown continent to the south, detailed maps of Asia were already prominent in the works of European master cartographers. Asia was well known to mapmakers due to Europe’s vested interest in its commodities. Beginning with the Roman empire, European powers leaped over each other to gather the wealth of the East. By the 1700s, Portugal, Holland, France, and England had set up trading posts along the silk and spice routes in the Far East. Holland dominated India, Ceylon, and Indonesia by 1750.

Abraham Ortelius created the first Western map of China, published in his "Theatrum" of 1584. Based on the accounts of Portuguese mapmaker Luis de Barbuda, the map is a typically romanticized Ortelius map featuring encampments to the east of the mountains and Chinese sailing junks. "Indiae Orientalis," published a decade earlier, extends from Portuguese India to the northwest coasts of the Americas. This map features a galleon caught in a maelstrom caused by a sea monster while two mermaids preen in the eastern sea. Other sought-after antique maps include John Speed’s 1627 engraving of China from "A Prospect of the Most Famous Parts of the World" and Blaeu’s 1618 "Asia Noviter Delineata" with detailed plans of European trading ports and settlements.

Maps of the Pacific theater dating from World War II are a welcome addition to a collection of Asian maps. One example is "Target Tokyo" by "Chicago Sun" journalist F.E. Manning. "Target Tokyo" was one of many news maps published weekly by the Army during the war which featured a bold typeset and dramatic imagery used to relay propagandist war news.


Quick Facts

  • A hand-drawn map of the Yuanmingyuan, or summer palace, dating to the Republic period of China sold for $2,750 at Bonham’s in 2015
  • "The True Description of All the Coasts of China" copper-engraved 1598 map by Jan Linschoten sold for $13,750 at Bonham’s in 2015
  • "Doolittle Raid: Map of the Northern Pacific Theater," a 1942 American lithographic map showing Japan, China, and the Northern Chinese Coastline signed by 60 flight crew members sold for $15,000 at a Bonhams auction in 2015

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

Asien - China - Hangzhou - "Xuntien alias Quinzay". Planansicht aus der
Dec 02, 10:00 AM CET
Asien - China - Hangzhou - "Xuntien alias Quinzay". Planansicht aus der
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €0- €160
€1102 Bids
(ASIA.) Willem Blaeu. Asia Noviter Delineata.
Dec 09, 10:30 AM EST
(ASIA.) Willem Blaeu. Asia Noviter Delineata.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$7501 Bid
(ASIA.) Matthaeus Seutter. Asia cum Omnibus Imperiis Provinciis Statibus et Insulis.
Dec 09, 10:30 AM EST
(ASIA.) Matthaeus Seutter. Asia cum Omnibus Imperiis Provinciis Statibus et Insulis.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $150- $250
$1101 Bid
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
Dec 12, 11:45 AM EST
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
by Broward Auction Gallery
Est: $700- $900
$4000 Bids
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
Dec 12, 11:45 AM EST
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
by Broward Auction Gallery
Est: $700- $900
$4000 Bids
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
Dec 12, 11:45 AM EST
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
by Broward Auction Gallery
Est: $700- $900
$4000 Bids
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
Dec 12, 11:45 AM EST
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
by Broward Auction Gallery
Est: $600- $750
$3400 Bids
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) oil painting
Dec 12, 11:45 AM EST
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery
Est: $1,300- $1,600
$7500 Bids
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
Dec 12, 11:45 AM EST
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
by Broward Auction Gallery
Est: $700- $900
$4000 Bids
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
Dec 12, 11:45 AM EST
Josephine Mahaffey (TX,1903-1982) watercolor painting
by Broward Auction Gallery
Est: $700- $900
$4000 Bids
Asien - Japan - Fuji "Der Berg Fuji am Neujahrstag"
Dec 02, 10:00 AM CET
Asien - Japan - Fuji "Der Berg Fuji am Neujahrstag"
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €0- €260
€1300 Bids
Asien - Indien - "Carte des Côtes de Malabar et de Coromandel".
Dec 02, 10:00 AM CET
Asien - Indien - "Carte des Côtes de Malabar et de Coromandel".
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €0- €300
€1800 Bids
Asien - Japan - "Carte de l'Empire du Japon".
Dec 02, 10:00 AM CET
Asien - Japan - "Carte de l'Empire du Japon".
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €0- €240
€1500 Bids
Asien - Japan - Kyoto - "Atago-San". Blick auf den Berg Atago, im
Dec 02, 10:00 AM CET
Asien - Japan - Kyoto - "Atago-San". Blick auf den Berg Atago, im
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €0- €100
€500 Bids
Asien - Japan - Kyoto - "Plan de la Ville de Meaco". Grundrißplan.
Dec 02, 10:00 AM CET
Asien - Japan - Kyoto - "Plan de la Ville de Meaco". Grundrißplan.
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €0- €140
€800 Bids
Asien - Japan - Tokyo - "Plan de Jedo". Grundrißplan.
Dec 02, 10:00 AM CET
Asien - Japan - Tokyo - "Plan de Jedo". Grundrißplan.
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €0- €160
€800 Bids
- Asien - "Karte von Asien. Nach d'Anville neu
Dec 02, 10:00 AM CET
- Asien - "Karte von Asien. Nach d'Anville neu
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €0- €300
€1500 Bids
- Asien - "Asien. Gezeichnet von J. M. F. Schmidt, zu C.
Dec 02, 10:00 AM CET
- Asien - "Asien. Gezeichnet von J. M. F. Schmidt, zu C.
by Zisska & Lacher
Est: €0- €220
€1500 Bids
(TRAVEL -- BURMA / MYANMAR.) Michael Symes. An Account of an Embassy to the Kingdom of Ava,
Dec 09, 10:30 AM EST
(TRAVEL -- BURMA / MYANMAR.) Michael Symes. An Account of an Embassy to the Kingdom of Ava,
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $300- $500
$2250 Bids
(JAPAN.) Ino Tadataka (after). Kokugun Zenzu (Complete Atlas of Japan.)
Dec 09, 10:30 AM EST
(JAPAN.) Ino Tadataka (after). Kokugun Zenzu (Complete Atlas of Japan.)
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$1,1000 Bids
(ASIA.) Edward Stanford. Stanford's Commercial Map of Asia.
Dec 09, 10:30 AM EST
(ASIA.) Edward Stanford. Stanford's Commercial Map of Asia.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $150- $200
$1100 Bids
(JAPAN.) Dai Nihon Seizu.
Dec 09, 10:30 AM EST
(JAPAN.) Dai Nihon Seizu.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $700- $1,000
$5000 Bids
(JAPAN -- ITSUKUSHIMA.) Kageshige Mori. Nihon Sankei no Hitotsu Itsukushima Ryokaku Benran Chizu.
Dec 09, 10:30 AM EST
(JAPAN -- ITSUKUSHIMA.) Kageshige Mori. Nihon Sankei no Hitotsu Itsukushima Ryokaku Benran Chizu.
by Swann Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $250
$1500 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Maps of Asia


Swann Auction Galleries

Swann Auction Galleries

Zisska & Lacher

Zisska & Lacher

Broward Auction Gallery

Broward Auction Gallery

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd

Leski Auctions Pty Ltd