First atlas of China made in Europe
By BLAEU, Johannes, 1662
Novus Atlas Sinensis. A Martino Martinio Soc. Iesu Descriptus Et Serenessimo Archidvci Leopoldo Gvilielmo Avstriaco Dedicatvs. Cum privilegio S.C. Maj.
- Author: BLAEU, Johannes
- Publication place: Amsterdam
- Publisher: Joannes and Willem Blaeu
- Publication date: 1662.
- Physical description: Latin text edition, folio (570 by 350mm), engraved hand-coloured and gold illuminated frontispiece showing putti around a globe and a map of China, with the title printed on an open door, dedication, 17 double-page maps, 16 of China and one of Japan, rebound in the original vellum gilt.
- Dimensions: 570 by 350mm. (22.5 by 13.75 inches).
- Inventory reference: 15245
The seventeen maps are noteworthy for their accuracy, remarkable for the time, but also for their highly decorative cartouches featuring vignettes depicting regional dress, activities and animals Martini’s Novus Atlas Sinensis marked the beginning of a flood of illustrated works and translations on China in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many of which cite Martini’s atlas as a source. In addition, it is one of the first true Sino-European publications, based on Chinese land surveys, but presenting geographic data in a highly visual European cartographic format” (Reed and Demattè, China on Paper, No. 28). At the end of the volume is a “Catalogus Longitudinum ac Latitudinem,” plus a list of towns with the geographical coordinates, an 18 page “De Regno Catayo Additamentum” (An Addition on the Chinese Reign) by Jacobus Golius, and the “Historie van den Tartarischen Oorlog” (De Bello Tartarico Historia) by Father Martino Martini, describing the horrors of the war culminating in the overthrow of the ancient Ming dynasty emperors by the new ruling Manchus. Blaeu has always been celebrated primarily for his extremely high production standards. The quality of the engraving, the paper, and the colouring are of the highest order, and place Blaeu Atlases in the first rank among seventeenth century illustrated books. The volume was published as a separate volume by Blaeu in 1655, however, the maps were also included in volume VI of Blaeu’s Nieuwe Atlas 1649–58 in Dutch.
The atlas was printed in Latin, French, Dutch, German and Spanish.
- Koeman BL 29C [2:223.1LU] and Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
- Koeman, C. (1967). Atlantes Neerlandici. Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. 6 vols.
- sive, Novus Atlas 1655 in Latin (Koeman BL 52 [2: 22521A]).