Printed from Catalogue on Sunday, Oct 17 2021

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1570 - Indiae Orientalis Insularum Que Adiacientium Typus

Map makerSizeMap IDCondition
Abraham Ortelius 520 x 370 mmD15 / M15 / I14Please contact us for a condition report

One of the earliest maps of Southeast Asia and published in the first 'modern' atlas. Part of 'Terra Australis Incognita' is shown emerging from the south and is named 'Beach'.

It was published at a time when the Portuguese had a stronghold on the spice trade in Southeast Asia and before the Dutch had made their advancement on that stronghold. Australia had yet to be discovered and there was some degree of uncertainty regarding the island status of New Guinea . A note written across the New Guinea landmass does question whether it is an island or part of the Southern Continent. 'Beach' is shown emerging just below Java, in effect the tip of Terra Australis Incognita . It is one of three names usually associated with this area south of Java, their location more than likely misinterpreted from texts associated with the travels of Marco Polo.

This map is one of Ortelius' better known maps. Apart from being highly decorative with its complement of mermaids, sea monsters, cartouches and galleons, Indiae Orientalis is as well geographically important.

The Dutch did not start serious exploration in the Indies until 1595 and the accuracy of this map is testimony to Ortelius' access to secret Portuguese and Spanish information, usually impossible to extract for outsiders. It wasn't until the 1590s when Linschoten published the results of his espionage activities in the Portuguese archives, that the Dutch gained wide access to accurate mapping in the region. New Guinea is shown at the bottom right as an enormous landmass the size of India , however the physical limitations of the map prevent it from being shown in its entirety. Ortelius does chart New Guinea as an island on his world map.

This and Ortelius' map of Asia, were the first published maps to definitely chart and name Formosa ( Taiwan ). Several authors have suggested that the references to 'Beach', 'Maleteur' and 'Lucach' refer to locations further north rather than on the Australian continent. The close proximity of 'Beach' to the Java landmass would have undoubtedly encouraged the belief that land existed nearby in the region.

This information is adopted from the Printed World catalogue series, one of the most enjoyable and informative Australian Antique map catalogues available, created and compiled by Simon Dewez.

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